Thursday, June 29, 2017

Desperately Seeking

Back in 1996, when I spent late-summer through mid-Autumn in the Twin Cities, I worked at MicroVoice, a company that provided the personal ad creation and management for dozens of newspapers around the country. I know, I know: In this day and age it's difficult to imagine that if you were desperately seeking someone, you had to put an ad in the paper and hope someone saw it and liked it well enough to respond. It took time. It took money. It took planning. It took words. It took patience.

Folks didn't really have any more of that then than they do now, but now we have the internet, and we can frequently skip over that other-person factor altogether and go straight to porn or escort services. It's efficient even if it's lacking in other ways. MicroVoice isn't around any more, and that's sad, and even Fortune saw it coming.

I wrote about the experience of writing personal ads at one point, more as a reminder to myself of the dangers of wanderlust, especially when combined with rapidly approaching unemployment, and it turned into a celebration of the family that I had collected along the way. The piece isn't really a piece as much as it is broad brush strokes of personality, trying to capture the impressions of the members of my Accidentally-On-Purpose-Family portrait as they came to me, before they slipped away.

I read the piece in a workshop, and the part that has stuck with me are the ads themselves. For good or for ill, I'm writing a personal ad a day now and it's pretty hilarious, at least to me. I'm looking forward to sharing them with the Writing Group on Saturday. I have no idea if they will come to anything, ever, but that's not important right now.