To begin with:

Phoenix.

Journalism and Phoenix.

22 is a good age to be and Phoenix (to my surprise) is a good place to be 22 in. It’s an even better to place to be a journalist.

After my family moved here from Oregon when I was about 12, I spent all of middle school and all of high school hating Phoenix. I didn’t want to move and, after we did, my beloved dog, Trixie (yes, I know it’s a stripper name, but my sister and I didn’t know that when we were kids and named her that), died of Valley Fever. I resented Phoenix.

In high school, where I attended Xavier College Preparatory and my 1989 VW Cabriolet didn’t quite match up to the BMWs and Mustang’s in the parking lot, my reasons for hating Phoenix grew more complex. It had no center and it was too sprawling. I remember using the phrase “wannabe L.A.” a few times.

As soon as I could, I left for the Big City — New York City. It took four years before that Baz Luhrmann graduation song phrase became true for me: “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.” And now, there are some things about Phoenix that I find most heavenly — the quiet, the lack of winters, the palm trees, the up-and-comer (who’s so up-and-comer that no one’s discovered us yet) status.

We’re like Brooklyn 20 years ago. (I just hope we don’t turn into Brooklyn today, where a studio costs $2500 a month and every guy you pass on the street is waring tighter pants than me.)

So, maybe it was New York, maybe it was my optimistic post-graduation stupor, but I’ve discovered in the last few months that this is, if you look at in the right way, the best time to be in Phoenix. Kind of like it’s the best time to be going into journalism, if you’re dumb enough (like me and all of my fellow grad students downtown) to think of it as an opportunity and not a pink slip.

In any case, they’re both on the edge of change. And if you stick around through the crappy part, you’ll be the ones to choose where it goes next. I’ll keep you posted.

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2 Responses to “To begin with:”

  1. amy Says:

    Ah, Phoenix. Apologies if I’ve already shoved this one down your throat (it’s painfully long) but if you’re looking to procrastinate….

    http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2005-05-12/news/phoenix-has-an-inferiority-complex/

  2. laurengilger Says:

    I started reading this once way back when but could never find it again! Perfect. Thanks!

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