Life - Wacker
members of the Moravian community recently published
their first books: one a scholarly monograph, the other
a novella. Neither they nor their authors could be more
Not in the same genre but an achievement
in itself is B.A.S.E., a novella by George Wacker ’03,
Hill, New Jersey.
The initialed title of George’s book
stands for the four pillars of base-jumping, an extreme
sport that takes its devotees to high spots
spans, and earth) from which they jump with parachutes. George’s protagonist,
Christian, a young man of 21, jumps from one of the sport’s most popular
sites, Angel Falls in Venezuela. But his chute fails to open, and his life
flashes before his eyes.
As are most first books, it is autobiographical,
up to a point. The search
of a young man for his identity, written by someone of the same age, always
be seen as a metaphor of the writer’s own search for identity. But
their circumstances are very different.
George Robert Emerson Wacker grew up in the
Poconos and came to Moravian after getting to know the
through his brother, who worked at KidsPeace. The name on
the title page of B.A.S.E. is Geo Re Wacker because of his
two middle names: “My mom couldn’t decide on
one, so she gave me two,” he says comically.
had begun writing at 16, as a reporter for the Wayne
Independent in Honesdale. He now has a job with the
Easton Express-Times, working in the Allentown bureau and
covering the city schools.
George credits his advisor,
Joel Wingard, with polishing his professional skills: “I
trained to do journalism at Moravian,” he says.
The intensive writing practice he learned from Joyce
gave him the impetus to start
on the novella last summer.
Christian’s life is
more traumatic. In high school, his sister was murdered,
which fractured his family and pushed
his mother over the edge of psychosis. “This isn’t
me,” George says. “I like my family too much.
And my sister is alive and well and living in New Jersey.”
George made Christian a base-jumper because of what
it said about his on-the-edge existence: “I wanted
to know what is the psychology of people who do this.”
own athletic activities are a little more tame. “I’ve
always been a traditionalist,” he says, “and
I’ve always been a track guy, myself.”
The book has been published by Xlibris, a Philadelphia
house specializing in an up-and-coming format called “print
“You know about vanity publishing,” George says. “You
used to have to pay between $2,000 and $3,500 to
publish your own book. Mine had an upfront cost of a couple
dollars, which I’ve already almost made back.
And I don’t have a deluge of a thousand books
never be able to sell.” Xlibris has direct
links to retailers such as Barnes & Noble and
amazon.com, as well as sales through its own website.
While he waits to hit the New York Times best-seller list, George will graduate, after which he
to keep working
at the Express-Times. Unlike a lot of first novelists,
he has no plans to quit his day job.
B.A.S.E. by Geo Re Wacker. Xlibris, 2003. 113 pages. $17.84 paperback,
$8 e-book. www.xlibris.com/base.html.
Life - Skalnik:
Two Moravians publish their first books. James Skalnik,
assistant dean for academic advising, a scholarly
monograph on a 16th-century French educational reformer.
Life - Wacker:
Moravians publish their first books. George Wacker
'03, a novella about a young man's search
Winners of 'Campus Idol' entertainment talent show
and broadcast coverage of the college