School portrait of Thurman Ashpaugh



A Belated Sympathy Card for Cliff Ashpaugh

In my mind’s eye, I can see the card in its pink envelope sliding down the clear plastic trash can liner, alongside someone else’s mini doughnut wrapper. The bell had rung, and everyone had already gone to class. It was a sympathy card for Cliff Ashpaugh, a classmate of mine. His younger brother, Thurman, had committed suicide the week before, and although I didn’t know Cliff well—had never hung out with him outside of school—I had known him since sixth grade. He was one of several scrawny, scrappy, long-haired kids in flannel shirts and Vans who hung out in front of the office of our new high school, ironic territory for the stoners to have staked a claim to. I had known Thurman only by sight as an even scrawnier, sweeter-faced version of Cliff, also in a flannel shirt.  When I had heard of Thurman’s suicide, I was heartbroken for Cliff. The year before, the older sister, since graduated, of a popular basketball player named Samantha had died, and during

Architectural photo



Tales from the Intersection: How to Sell Creative Services to a Tech Company

I’m a former freelancer writer and agency copywriter. Now I’m marketing manager at a small tech firm and do freelance work on the side. The beauty of working in technology, science, and medicine is that by supplying your services to firms that need them, you have a hand in contributing to the advances made in these fields. Here are some tips for other marketers that come from my years working on the “client side” in this industry. Tell me, in clear terms and on the home page of your website, what you do. It’s especially important in the tech and science world to be precise and clear, as these are core values in these industries. A few years ago, I was searching for a new agency partner, and my search turned up lots of websites with vague, abstract lingo, infographics about the ideation process, pictures of agency dogs…and only a few that clearly described the services provided. It seems like such a no-brainer, but due to the preponderance of websites that “create