Monday, December 29, 2008

Mountaineering with Monica

There are certain self-published voices on the internet that feel like odd soulmates, and everyone has their own taste in voices in the same way people have yearnings towards different kinds of music and food.

I stumbled across Monica's voice last April after writing a fiery condemnation of Palm Springs' only downtown bookstore being replaced by a stupid retail outlet devoted to "Life Is Good" merchandise (click here). When I Googled for some information about the company and the Palm Springs opening, I came across Monica's recently launched "Astrology Mundo" blog where she wrote about the very same event except from a laudatory business viewpoint, mixed in with some astrological musings (click here).

Our yin/yang accounts, oddly enough, were complementary rather than contradictory and between the two of us there was a holistic picture of the evening, something not possible with just one narrator.

This is the real future of journalism, where a community of voices and links offer the reader anything from a surface glance to a deep, historical look at any subject.

Monica is a New Yorker who's been a professional journalist most of her life.

Currently she's followed her husband who works in the golf industry in the Coachella Valley, while she works virtually over the computer for her New York employers.

I invited her to a hike in nearby Tahquitz Canyon where she peppered me with questions like the omnivorous, curious character that all great journalists are, and I returned her rapid-fire scan with questions of my own.

Thanks to people like myself who are creating journalism for free out of love and political purpose and a need to clear out the thickets of lies being fed to us by the owners of media conglomerates, Monica's job is fast becoming as extinct as travel agents in the digital world.

Professional story-telling, truth-telling journalists are more important than ever so I think Monica, with her clear-eyed fascination with the world, will be making the transition to the new journalistic order just fine. The real question is how to make a decent living at it.


AlbGlinka said...

Wow, Mike, that "Life Is Good" store is ridiculous even to a Total Optimist like myself! I wonder if life is good in the Third World factories where that junk is manufactured...

(I've been lurking)


sfmike said...

Dear AlbGlinka: So happy to hear that you've been lurking, and since you're the new God of Retail Clothing, your comment about "that junk" carries extra weight. All the cool people missed you backstage at the opera, by the way.

Monica said...

Life IS good because the store opening in Palm Springs brought me together with SFMike, even if it was almost a year later. And it's not the Jacobs brothers' fault that the storefront could no longer support a bookstore. I think both SFMike and I can agree that empty storefronts in downtown Palm Springs are not desirable.

My hat's off to anyone who can start a $100 million business out of their car, as Bert and John Jacobs did.

Blogging for free is fine, but what's going to happen to us when the Man, who employs us in our day jobs, no longer needs our services?

Luckily, SFMike knows PhotoShop. He'll be able to get a job touching up the necklines of aging journalists!

sfwillie said...

Fond memories of Tahquitz. I'd like to do it in the summer. Imagine how holy the waterfall would seem at 112 in the shade.

Happy new year!

arsace said...

Another lurker here. Love your blog. And love the photos of the beautiful country you are living in.

momo said...

some of the best gifts of 2008 for me have been the new friends I've made through blogging, people whose voices I have found, and whom I've then met in person.
I so appreciate the connection I feel to my former home through your stories and pictures, and all the new things I've learned as well. Happy new year!

namastenancy said...

I agree with momo-one of the best gifts of 2008 has been the new friends - including you- the amazing variety of voices and views via the Internet and the opportunity to share my love of art with a much wider audience. May 2009 bring you and Tony peace, prosperity and time to write lots more fascinating posts. Because it's all about memememe. Well, and you you you, mon cher.

sfmike said...

Dear Nancy and Momo: Happy New Year to both of you and happy you're getting pleasure out of the fototales.

Dear Willie: Come on back down to Palm Springs sometime after April. It's sort of fun when it gets outrageously hot.

Dear arsace: There's no such think as lurkers on this blog. I just consider you readers. Thanks for leaving the nice note.