Flash in the Pan

Art All the Time

Month: March, 2012

A Conversation I Remember A Lot

by Samantha Capps

On my last day of college, I happened to throw my final unfinished cafeteria meal into the compost at the same time as one of the college’s deans. He made an eye contact, and he moved as if to walk away, but then he turned around and spoke to me.

“This is the end for you, isn’t it?” he asked.

“Yep, it is,” I replied. I was shocked that he remembered. He and I did not have the best rapport. I’d raised a minor hullabaloo over one of his executive decisions the previous year. I had made my point and gotten his decision reversed, only to embarrass myself a month later after jumping to conclusions and accusing him of reneging on his word. I had been wrong. He maintained a level of respect whenever we talked since then, but I also thought I could hear a subtle resentment in his voice.

“Well, we’ve had our ups and downs here, but it was all a learning experience. Just remember that. It’s all a learning experience,” he said, and then he hugged me, which I hadn’t been expecting at all.

“Best of luck,” he said with a wave before departing from the cafeteria.

The residual shame and distaste I felt for this dean melted away, then. I resolved to take his words as my post-college motto. “It’s all a learning experience… it’s all a learning experience.”

Two months later, I heard that his son died. He was in his twenties and engaged. He had been healthy and active. It was sudden and stupid and pointless. But more than pity or sadness, I felt his father’s words and wondered if he still thought them to be true: “It’s all a learning experience… it’s all a learning experience… it’s all a learning experience.”


by Hilary B. Bisenieks

Cross-posted from the Urban Phantasy blog.

Urban Phantasy

My essay about bicycles, my father, and growing up, in roughly that order, is now live at Philadelphia Stories, where it appears in their Spring 2012 issue.

You can read the essay here.

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How to Write a McSweeney’s List

by Hilary B. Bisenieks

Items 1 – 4 or so: content, as promised by the title of the list.

Last item: witty or biting reversal.

Hello, World

by Hilary B. Bisenieks

In the beginning, of course, there was nothing, or not a whole lot, anyway.  Much later, after the groundwork had been laid, after the rise and fall of different architectures and protocols, there were the Interpreters.  Nobody knew who the programmer was, though many claimed they did.  Some said he (for there aren’t any female programmers, they argued) was alone, while others said it was a group effort.  Likewise, there was no consensus over the language.  How could there be?  It remains a contentious, sectarian subject, to say the least.

Some said that all was laid out long ago, before the Compiling, and all the ills we see today are merely runtime errors.  Some argue for a more dynamic approach.

Whatever the case, across hundreds of languages and thousands of traditions, it begins the same:





“Hello, World.”