Interviews come in many ways.
Some regard it as a battle, a delightful minuet; others call it theater piece. That is why I am reluctant to write about fashion, showbiz and celebrities, which tend to elicit more entertainment, not information—a contempt shown, however, only by those who clearly would be considered as “newspeople.”
People reportage is nothing you can plan, polish or perfect beyond the Fil-Am community stage or gossip about the world of charity, music, fashion, cuisine and other many splendored things without forgetting it is as low in the totem pole of coverages as you can possibly get.
It is polite and soft news of men and women who speak eloquently about themselves. With some luck you can be in good company, if not simply a part of those who nod or smile at one another. Otherwise you’re standing alone in a swarm of gorgeous people who are dressed to kill, reveling from pockets of ostentatious merriment into another.
It is writing casually, forsaking the beloved metaphors for party or society journalism and the off-hand charm, low key, casual pitch, one that doesn’t sing, but whispers. It bears the exquisite sense of nuances, the keen eye for sham or pretense; of memorable people, pleasures and events. Call it a gentle salute, if not audacious profile, of the almost exemplary men and women of the changing times we’ve been accustomed to seeing at the glittering and glamorous gatherings that have been so much part of Southern California’s familiar mode of life. We see philanthropic leaders, whether they are saving lives, building schools, elevating the arts, easing pain and suffering or feeding and helping the downtrodden.
There are individuals out there making a difference in this world while celebrating their lives with inexhaustible achievements. In this eclectic mix of wondrous people who are doing good and great work, some are heavyweights, some lightweight; yet they are united in their drive to the best they can, whatever their circumstances.
With good reporting and panache, we try to capture in print “respectful” pieces that are centered around some sort of style.
Covering people—whose daily peregrinations grace the Southern Californian scene with their fantasies, vanities, and even peccadilloes with portraits that almost created news—remind us of who we are and who we have been, inherent in their complexities and capabilities to captivate.
The license to ask virtually anybody in this world is so vast and clamorous that can exasperate and suffocate us even while offering a magnet for great discussions. There is so much to ask about the whole universe of a person’s life: their pains and sufferings; joys you can learn from and take with you; doings and love; poems and music; goals and meetings; their celebrity and millions; their misfortunes and failures.
I like dramatic questions and responses, eloquently and colorfully anchored in the written profile.
Some of the characters I’ve interviewed are my friends, or almost friends, if not possible friends. Possible are those who condemn us for not having the good sense to censure the remarks they did not have the good sense to refrain from making– the loud protest of betrayal could be deafening, but it is cleansing, if you’re brave enough to write it!
Now in my twilight years, I’ve realized that all along it was not what I’ve written, but those that I did not write, that count. Now, I will, for I’ve decided to be fearless with a conscience as clear as the conscience of a babe. I will no longer be keeping anything back now (while obeying the laws of libel).
I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my heart. I feel fresh and clean, and ready to fly up to paradise in the event that I am challenged to a duel and my opponent is quicker on the draw than I am!
E-mail Mylah at email@example.com