Berens got up from his chair and began pacing back and forth like a caged animal.
“Besides the why of what goes on here, I want to show the diversity of this place. This is not a close-knit community, it’s only close for the insiders, those who own and control Sedona. In truth, it’s about as fractured as any community I’ve ever seen. It’s a city of refugees. You know it and I know it because we’re refugees here too, looking for our own slice of heaven.”
Kathleen interrupted his speech. “Do you think your readers want those kinds of stories?”
Berens was quick to answer. “I don’t give a goddamn what my readers want! It’s what I want. I want stories about those who come just for the spirituality of this place because of some hokey energy propaganda New Agers pass around. I want stories about the scam artists who make money off of those poor souls trying to find their spirituality. I want stories about the real estate agents intent on selling every goddamn piece of open land, God save their greedy souls, and I want stories about the U.S. Forest Service bureaucracy and the gung-ho environmentalists, particularly an old geezer by the name of John Perkins who is a real pain in everybody’s ass.
“You’ve got one hell of a community to write about Kathleen—each faction fighting for what they desire.”
He took a deep breath and continued. “I want the good, the bad and the superb meaninglessness about this place that knocks over everyone with its red rock beauty. I want you to dig into it, smell it, taste it, go climb on Bell Rock and see for yourself if you can touch God.”
He stopped pacing, sat back down in his chair and smiled for the first time.
“I want to shake this place up, and I know you have the talent to help me do it. But I want to warn you, I can be a nasty son of a bitch when there are production problems.”
Kathleen found herself intrigued by this passionate man. “And you, Jack, where do you fit into the life here?”
“Me? Why I’m a rabid environmentalist who insists on riding a destructive mountain bike everywhere in these red rocks when I have time to leave this goddamn computer. That’s how I let off the tension that will probably kill me someday.”
Kathleen was silent. She fiddled with her purse handle, thinking. She loved writing articles like Jack described, the in-depth profile story that gives the reader a small, but tell-tale glimpse into the character of the person or place being profiled. She was tired of covering the Phoenix City Council’s political dreariness.
“I don’t know, Jack.” Her voice was uncertain.
“What’s there not to know?”
“I like what you would want me to do, although I know you can’t pay me the kind of salary I’m already getting at the Republic. But more important, I don’t really see any advantage to working in this town. I think you know that I have some bad memories attached to this place.”
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish