A Piece of My Mind : Must Love Dogs
Bennet Pomerantz

There is an old expression you get your ideas from everywhere. A friend once told me to read the personal ads in the city paper, there are some of the most funny and intriguing pieces of text you will ever read. I DID NOT BELIEVE HIM! I was wrong!

So I was cruising web sites and looking for ideas for my columns. (And everyone says they need to go to Cleveland for ideas!) I recently heard the audio book Must Love Dogs from Blackstone audio (if you haven't got it, it's wonderful and charming audio. Get it - it's a winner!). The book was just also made into a romantic comedy with Diane Lane. In this book, a woman takes out an ad for her friend who is a divorced teacher with mixed results.

In thinking about the book, I found a few diverse styles of introductions in the personals sections of the internet. And my friend Davis was right, they are the most intriguing pieces to read and observe. Darn him, he was so right!

Hard to believe, but when you are trying to meet someone, the first and best foot forward is an introduction, the same as you would do with a character in a story. These short intros get their point across and have impact. You need to hear these types of voices when you are creating characters.

Here are examples with my comments:

(Note these short works are from the original authors-their copyrights still belong to them and not to me. These works are used for example and showcase in a learning situation only.)

Within the door that you have opened Lies depth - can you handle it Gentle whispers that play along your skin Lies feelings - can you handle it Laughter wrapped in steel laced with silk Lies brevity - can you handle it Edges that cut, corners that buffer Lies truth - can you handle it You opened the door, what were you seeking me can you handle it

Dare you tempt yourself with: Laughter, honesty, passionate, feisty, playful, outgoing, loyalty, devotion, strength, intriguing

When I read those words from this writer, I was impressed and overwhelmed. If you look at them, the simple word structure gives voice to many emotional triggers. In a way, tempting the reader. Dare you to find this person. Dare you to seek this person out. And with the refrain of CAN YOU HANDLE IT, like a clarion call to action.

In another way, the CAN YOU HANDLE IT, is like a running gag in a comedy piece or an action or verbal cue (like The Mr. T's immortal "What you say, Hannibal?" followed by his face scrunching up in almost every A-Team episode).

life is weird, wonderful, fun, painful, happy, amazing, sad, funny, amusing, confusing, and just out right one heck of a ride

The second piece shows the reader what their life is about. This laundry list of emotions showcases what she feels. Her coda "One Heck of a Ride" makes you think life is a roller coaster and not a merry go round. In a way, she is asking you to join her ride.

Please don't message me unless you have a profile picture posted or send one with your message. Also, please don't contact me if you are married, attached, or are not AT LEAST 5'10" tall. There's no point in wasting my time or yours. Please DO NOT contact me if you are looking for a mere "play-mate." I seek a soul-mate. Finally, do NOT contact me if you are not serious about meeting in person - if you are just here for "on-line" fun. I cannot travel or relocate at this time, so you will HAVE to come to me

This is a woman who knows what she wants all of the men who message her to do. She has given you a list of DO's and DON'T's. If you do not do anything she requests of her instructions on the list, you fail. I think of a boss with her set rules when I read this profile. There must be a person in your life who must have bound set of rules. This type of person would be a great character to develop into a sitcom. I perceive her character like Louie from the TV show Taxi. I could be wrong, but this is where an author comes in and works their magic with these ideas.

By the way, I wish her luck in her search for a soul mate they are also the basis of many a romance movie. Writers are you taking notes?!?

It feels like entering the twilight zone or something when I come on this site.

I'd really just love a normal chat with someone, talk about every day things as well . A little warmth and humour wouldn't go amiss either

Ever had one of those days? This person/character has! We can assume from this small piece that all she wants is a simple conversation. However there may be an underlining meaning in her words. This is also where you can build character.

So when you have a hard time finding a voice for a character you are writing in your short story, seek other sources for inspiration and development  - like the personals column.

Of course, you can take out an ad saying "Must Love Dogs" and see what replies you get.

On another note, I am on a quest. I am seeking answers to the immortal question for the Second Annual " When did you consider yourself a writer?" from writers from all avenues of writing (if you are reading this column, this DOES means you!). For those who need a word count, think 50-150 words. If you need a few more words to express yourself, its okay! Then e-mail your piece to [email protected] with the word WRITER in the subject line of your e-mail (NO ATTACHMENTS PLEASE!). The WRITER column will appear either November or December in this space .Note. You will need to list your full name and not an email ID. And those with books coming up or web sites, you may list them after your name. Those who've already submitted, I have your pieces and thank you.

So til next time, Reach for the stars!

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About the Writer:

Bennet Pomerantz is a media review columnist in 175 newspapers with his weekly column AUDIOWORLD. His fiction and reviews have appeared in the pages of Affaire De Coeur, Gateways, Mystery Scene, Power Star, The Hot Corner, Washington Entertainment Magazine, and many others. He is also known for his review appearances on the MCN Forum. View his web site at Audioworld.