Friday, April 29, 2011


“Still the heart resists, something in her yearning for what was. It is hard to replace history with a future yet unnamed.”*

In truthfulness, we’ve taken a sabbatical the last few months—well, in part because we’ve been busy—but mostly because we knew all posts were leading to this one. Goodbyes are tricky. Part of us wants to scream—“We made it!”—and soak in the warm beams of relief, excitement, and satisfaction. Another part, the one tugging at us now, insists that in the complete abandon of celebration we risk practicing ingratitude for each piece of our experience’s success—something in us longing for the familiar and comfortable. The future’s a pretty scary place.

Jerry walked across upper campus today; it was one of those perfect spring days which occur more frequently in memory than in real life. We do not remember days; we remember moments—and memory was heavy as it recalled his first walk across this lawn. He saw a collage of rushing to class, sitting under the pines with Prudence taking lunch, classes conducted under a canopy of vaulted space with room enough for all the ideas to fit. The grass was just cut; the scar from running pipe finally bandaged with sod; the light suggesting April, youth and that anticipation born on the same day as spring.

He sat on the embankment in the shade of Old Main, watching the last minutes of the last day pass through the tower of the clock with the sun. Five o’clock struck—the usual chime followed by the usual count: one…two…three……four………five— the space between each ring expanded, a gentle ritardando signaling the close of two years. Time to leave.

Pithy gathered their books, and with an almost imperceptible glance over their shoulder, they walked towards the parking lot.

Nostalgia can cripple—nostalgia, not only for the beautiful that we had, but also for the unturned: footfalls sound in the memory down the passages we didn’t take, echoing towards the doors we never opened. But those doors remain shut—and we’re happy to leave because we know that the best memories are of the moments that ended when they should have. Still—the future belongs only to those who’ve purchased it with their past, and so we rest for a small moment in the in-between, connecting the effort, the love, and the good from our past two years to our next step.

"There are many of us here, alert, scanning the ether for direction, for evidence, for a word to coax us forward, some gesture we will recognize as ours alone to take us from what was to what is, and that small but necessary glimmer of what will be."*

*Borrowed from our friend, Maya:

Sunday, October 31, 2010


It's the thirty first of October. Nuf said.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Zone

It's the thirtieth. September kind of just happened--like the colors on the mountain. We looked up and there they were. It's autumn. Forgive our negligance...we traded writing time yesterday for a few minutes spent with bread pudding and cider. We don't really have any time now either--just enough to nod to September as it passes. Miss you Prudence! We didn't forget eggs benedict on your special day--even if it was just a hazy memory between us at six AM. For the rest of our readers--a nod to you as well. We haven't forgotten our supporters...we're just really in the zone right now. ;-)

Friday, September 10, 2010


Remember when stretching was the first act of the day—even before the opening of eyes? The day held off, waiting for approbation from the gentle, lazy unfolding—extending—of bones, muscle, and sinew to their furthest point. It would start in the core—a body’s center. Outward, outward, ripples triggering the morning’s call to each cell; a shock of oxygen yawns energy to each particle. Stretched and limber, the exercises of day strengthened, a comfortable burn signaling growth.

Headline: stretching is killed by alarm clock sometime early Friday morning. The particular culprit responsible is not being charged; society instead ruling on the side efficiency, speed, and the shortest distance from point A to B. Stretching is a luxury. Condolences are not offered to the family—coffee and morning paper, afternoon cat nap, sporadic trips to the park—beware, you’re next.

We’re sore. This is not natural. It should start slow—walking, jogging before running. Always stretching. Instead, our zealous pursuit into the fray, the melee of pre-class traffic, unfinished assignments, stairs, reminds us only to forget. Our mind seizes, protesting the onslaught. Each step gets harder, each motion testament of the disrepair we allow ourselves. We can do better. We should do better. The journey from A to B tastes better with cookies and milk, smells better with freshly mown grass, looks better with a hint of autumn. What’s the excuse?

Pithy considers alternate methods of exercise, ways to accomplish both the hot chocolate and the algebra. Perhaps it should involve an invention of some sort—we could use newspaper, rubber bands, tape, and glue. It would look cool when we were done. We would test it on you, internets. It would be awesome. So awesome, in fact, that we would patent it and retire to our days of stretching and bare feet. Mission accomplished!

While we purchase supplies and submit our building project to review and revision, we hope that readers maybe find a little moment to stretch their own muscles—maybe with a good book, an old friend over garden salad, wine and cheese, a quiet moment in the sun—maybe even here. If it doesn’t afford you a full yoga stretch, maybe at least a brief minute to catch your breath. We hope so. We won’t look, take your time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Getting There

Pithy takes pause, amid sporadic bouts of breathless panic where we wonder how we will balance the next fifteen weeks of too many classes, way too much reading and too little sleep--fifteen weeks of staring at a page, at a screen, at a professor--our eyes move but should not be mistaken as signs of life--fifteen weeks of calls, skipped meals, and the imminent pressing in of the snow...we take pause to remind ourselves that it's been a year. Overwhelming is just part of the package, as is the sense of satisfaction for completion and the knowledge that the fifteen weeks will end, and when they do we will be able to say that we made it, that it was worth it, and that we're one step closer to obtaining our super-hero suit and moving on to our mission impossible. We'll get out.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Show Me

You could plant me like a tree beside a river. You could tangle me in soil and let my roots run wild—and I would blossom like a flower in the desert…But for now just let me cry.

You could raise me like a banner in a battle—put victory like fire behind my shining eyes, and I would drift like falling snow over the embers…But for now just let me lie. Bind up these broken bones; mercy bend and breathe me back to life, but not before you show me how to die.

Set me like a star before the morning, like a song that steals the darkness from a world asleep--and I’ll illuminate the path you’ve laid before..But for now just let me be. Bind up these broken bones; mercy bend and breathe me back to life, but not before you show me how to die. No, not before you show me how to die.

So let me go like a leaf upon the water. Let me brave the wild currents flowing to the sea—and I will disappear into a deeper beauty…But for now just stay with me. God, for now just stay with me.

-Audrey Assad-

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Best Part of Going Back to School: or the intersection of August, money, and depression

August is a big month for Pithy—involving preparations, taking stock, saying goodbye, saying hello—we’re quite confident that we won’t be ready but that it will happen anyways. Much of the first two weeks of the month is largely devoted to denial, that August comes after July—what the hell happened to June? No one—not even Hermione—is so psyched for school that they forget the mournful afternoon spent accomplishing the studied motions of nothing. We live the summer days down to the last weekend of the last week, down to the dusk of summer.

Although summer is only goodness, moving forward is not without its excitements, which brings Pithy to the third best part of school (after, of course, the summer and Christmas breaks): back to school shopping. It’s exhilarating—the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, the ecstasy of purchase—the truly competitive American spirit of the check out lane when a cashier opens another register. Pithy is tempted to buy things that history tells them they probably won’t use: pencils (they prefer pens or eversharps when they actually have to resort to physically writing something without the computer), lunch boxes, glue sticks—the odds of going into a store for “a loaf of bread” and only coming out with a loaf are about three million to one. The season inspires the imagination—we can write if off as a tax deduction…now where were those jeans? Do they come in extra-medium?

Pithy is learning the difference of college summers and high school summers—that a high school summer was time set apart to earn tuition and as much school shopping money as we wanted to work for—our return to the halls of education could be as glorious or shabby as we wanted it to be. College summer affords no such time, barely having the time to make rent, car, grocery, and gas payments, while trying to prepare for the bill due on the first day of class. Textbooks stack up. Keeping positive, Pithy refuses to let growing up steal the shine from the sacred renewal of backtoschool. However, and however hard we protest, it’s less shiny this year. The budget word reminds us of the mathematical confirmation of our suspicions each month. The experience, we are told, is supposed to educate from all angles—that lessons come from many avenues—most of the important ones having little to do with a classroom. I guess we will see if this lesson is mastered or not when Pithy comes to themselves outside a shopping mall, disoriented, thinking, "what have I done?"

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


It gets hot in July, and August is little better (and by little we mean not at all). Just as we begin to surrender to the exhaustion—the mirage of autumn where waits respite—the clouds gather, the air expects—and humidity suffocates us into holding our breath…waiting. It starts slow; a single drop falls to gravity, its weight too much to balance on the insubstantial precipice of sky. Another follows signaling the final surrender of cloud to earth. The heat breaks; we release our pent up breath, echoed by the thunderous sigh of creation.

We’re the plants. We’re the wilted. We’re the dry dust ground to fine powder. We open, slowly at first, scared by the violent torrent—the foreign, almost forgotten miracle of monsoon; but we open, the water distilling on our parched perspectives, restoring our stature, adjusting each step with bare feet and mud puddles.

The world always looks better after a rainstorm. Golden sepia enriches—enhances—a new lens curbing the harsh, direct gaze of the sun into a promise…a promise of color, spectrum, and each piece together. People look better too. Less burnt. Less burdened. Quiet. Conscious of the sacred moment after cleansing.

We would like to take a walk, visiting each plant, each person, knowing they’ve all been touched—that the rain comes for everybody. We would like to call hello to people we don’t know—the rain likes them, maybe we would too. We would like to cup the dew-scent in our shaped palms and store it away for December. But we don’t. We inhale it all now, greedy. And we stay inside with the door open…

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Jerry sometimes writes things--just for fun. Like an exercise. This is one he worked on this week...maybe you, internets, would like to read and let him know what you think?

Much less notice is drawn to arrivals than departures. Arriving at this house—287th Wally Place—while not common, marked nothing more than another boy counting the days to leaving. The arrival of this particular boy met with the unspoken expectancies of tradition accrued from years beyond the memory of even the oldest occupant. He stood in the entry—small. The vaulted ceiling lent no stature to his scarce four and a half feet, rather only serving to daunt him into an impression of apologetic notice, as if he were somehow sorry for his very presence and would be more comfortable elsewhere, anywhere else. Blond hair under the dingy twilight and greasy glow of the gas lamps, lacking the sun of home, adopted a sandy tarnish, and the nervous perspiration on his forehead matted his hair down in his eyes, making it easy for him to shift his gaze to the floor and pretend he was not standing before the severely stern man threatening above him, or the all too eager woman behind him. He clutched his bag tight in hand.

“What’s your name then?” asked the man.

“It’s Simon—” interrupted the woman before the boy could speak. “He’s a shy thing, but you won’t have any trouble with him. I can promise you that. Never a cross word or a complaint—you wouldn’t even know he just lost both his parents. He’s adjusting very well. I’m sure he’ll fit right in with the rest of the boys here, and you won’t have any trouble with him, any trouble at all,” she rattled on, her speech accelerating as she progressed as if to lend her credence.

“Yes, thank you Ms. Price. You’ve made it quite clear he won’t be any trouble—I did read your letter after all, it was most informative on this point,” said the man. “But if I am expected to take in the boy, I would like to speak with him myself if you don’t mind.”

“Yes of course, begging your pardon Mr. Bander.” Her face flushed with embarrassment, assuming a red characteristic of too much heat, perhaps even fever, at extreme odds with her already red hair. “I meant no disrespect, I only just want to make sure you are will take him off my—I mean, take him in. I can’t be expected to provide for him. I only knew his parents at a—” again she rattled on, but was cut short by Mr. Bander.

“Please Ms. Price. Don’t get ahead of yourself; no one is suggesting you keep the boy.” He appraised her pretentious dress verging on the edge of modesty with obvious distaste. “You are clearly not a suitable option.” With finality, he directed his attention to Simon. “How old are you boy?”

“Eleven,” Simon managed, without raising his eyes from the floor.

“Have you ever been to school?”


“Well, if you stay here you will be expected to apply yourself to scholastic studies. We don’t tolerate any measure of lethargy. Do you understand?”


“Yes sir,” whispered in Ms. Price.

“Yes sir,” said Simon.

“Very well.” Turning back to Ms. Price, Mr. Bander continued, “That will be all Ms. Price, our institution will assume responsibility for the boy now. You may rest assured that we will do all in our power to curb the influence of his parents, and your profession, and equip him with knowledge of respectable society.” At this Ms. Price bristled, but was far to invested to let her temper best her judgment.

“Well I thank you Mr. Bander. If that will be all you need, I’ll be leaving then.” She turned on her heel, and with a flourished swing of the door was gone. The echo rang and the air was silent.

Mr. Bander released a pent up sigh, as if to more completely expel the unwanted presence of Ms Price. Without a word, he turned to ascend the nearby stairs. Simon stood awkward, waiting.

“Well come on then boy,” said Mr. Bander, removing a pocket watch from his vest and holding it to the light. “It’s getting late. I’ll show you to your bed. Have you had dinner?”

“I’m not hungry,” said Simon.

“Why? What’s the matter then?”

“I want to go home,” said Simon.

“Home? You’ve only just arrived. You don’t have a home.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Thank you for being the best part...*cough*"

Pithy has found the crux with customer relation jobs and why they can be so frustrating. Agents are trained to consider themselves customer “care” representatives. However, customers are told to call in to customer “service” if they have any issues. This presents a quandary. Care-givers or servants? And is there a difference? We have all been told by our mom—or at least Pithy has…repeatedly: “Clean up your room, I’m not your maid.” The first time we heard this revelatory statement, we were appropriately shocked—didn’t she care?—weren’t we her responsibility?—what did she hope to accomplish by making us clean up our own mess? But now time has worn us down, and we catch ourselves joining the ranks of those who refuse to be maids. Service?—fine, but let’s get some things straight…

DON’T BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS YOU. Jerry had a moment at work today where he felt so sorry for a customer whose phone had been lost by the post office that he personally spoke with every supervisor in the chain of screaming until he finally got the site leader to override the system and send the customer a new phone free of charge. When the order was processed and the only charge remaining the $17 state taxes, Jerry almost used his own credit card when the customer could not afford to pay, and would have if he had not found a way to bend the system. Jerry would not have done this had the customer been the Neanderthal that Jerry later spoke with whose vocabulary was so lacking in adjectives that they all seemed to be related in some way to a certain four letter word. Reason suggests that when we want someone to give us something, or to provide a service beyond the agreed expectations, we should probably treat them nice. There stands a very good chance that if you yell obscenities and hardly allow the rep to speak, their giveashit meter will drop—significantly—as the task of “caring” for you at this point transcends the realm of reason…not even your mom puts up with that.

YOU ARE DISPENSIBLE. Sales agents are the ones that tell you whatever you want to hear—their paycheck depends on it. Once hooked under contract, a care rep is your best friend—they are the only people paid to care about you. Care reps tell you what you need to know to survive—sorry, it might hurt that you went over your price plan and have overages and don’t want to go to a higher plan…but you live in the real world, and when you buy something it usually requires paying for it. If you mess it up—you clean it up. Threatening to cancel your account (and get charged a $320 ETF—probably not the next best action for someone sick of spending money) is not going to change the fact that paying only for 450 minutes, but using 830 minutes, is stealing. The company gave you what they said they would—what’s your problem? Go ahead, cancel—it’s a multi-billion dollar corporation—I’m sure you’re Dallas Texas ego will be sorely missed.

IT’S NOT ME IT’S YOU—but I’m so nice, I’m going to let you think it’s me cuz that’s what I’m paid to do. However, I didn’t use your phone, I didn’t call Spain, I’m not being charged $348—I didn’t drop my iPhone in the toilet and am now wondering why it’s having a hard time getting service—I didn’t put my sim card in a smart phone and then lie about it so I wouldn’t be charged for a data feature…even though I used so much data that the package would be like a birthday present—I didn’t mistake the dollar sign next to the 0.00 as a five and call in to rage about a fifty dollar charge on my bill…I wore my glasses today. However, as this call will be monitored for quality purposes, I will apologize for the misunderstanding, tell you not to worry about the way you treated me when you realized what a total jerk you look like, and ask you if there is anything else I can help with.

After the Latino and Asian accents so distorted they hardly resemble any variation of English, the obscenities, the tears, the passive-aggressive, the just aggressive, the so old that the highlight of their day is calling 611, the confused, the stupid, the belligerent, and the oh so few pleasant—Pithy truly does feel like a parent required to love whatever comes their way (except in our case love is a huge exaggeration—not like with our own mother who lives to love us). As a parent, we strive to equip those we care for with skills that will serve them throughout their lives, and hope they will go on to be decent, productive humans. The ethicality of tantrums as a manipulation tactic was questionable even at the age of two—Mr. Customer, it’s time to grow up and solve your problems like a big kid. It involves a smile, mutual understanding, a willingness to reach a compromise, and a parting handshake. Look—all grown up.

Pithy debated publishing this—it does lack a certain amount of our characteristic panache; these words have a sense of unbridled angst more fitting a rant on craigslist than this venue. But, we did promise the days of our lives as it were—hoping you find the profundity. If you don’t, we will help: Jesus is watching, even calls to customer care—don’t be a jerk.