Newly reunited at Los Angeles Magazine with his former editor Kit Rachlis, Moehringer explains at the end of a long profile of an obscure musician he admires how it was he came to leave the L.A. Times. He was one of the paper's last star feature writers, allowed to live in Colorado while being carried as a staff writer for West. The piece ran in 5280 magazine.
Driving back to Denver, hitting the scan button on the radio in search of something good, I reviewed my history with Finlin and shook my head. I'd tried to write about him—and failed. I'd tried to help him—failed again. I'd raised his hopes—and dashed them. Now, even as I planned, consciously this time, to help the guy, I saw that once again he'd helped me first. He'd prompted me to do a badly needed overhaul of my views on failure and success, criticism and creativity, writing and rejection, commerce and art, and in so doing he'd inspired me, steeled my nerves and lifted my spirits—on the eve of a major decision.
The Los Angeles Times, to save money, to stay afloat in a culture that reads less, was offering buyouts, and days after my dinner with Finlin I took one. I filed the form asking for "voluntary separation," fancy words for my walking papers. I would have done it anyway, Finlin or no Finlin. But he made me breathe a little easier, stand a little straighter. He made me feel braver about striking out on my own, going solo.
This probably helped too: Resurrecting the Champ, a film based on one of Moehringer's stories, is due to be released in late summer.