Once a week I make sure I leave my windowless cell in Brooklyn and go into Manhattan, either to see an editor or buy feathers, or to look at the stupendous armor at the Met or at tattoo catalogs on the Lower East Side. One day I squeezed into a subway car with a bushel of peacock feathers and a pound of sea scallops, and a handsome chap stepped in next to me. We apologized in rounds, and when he stepped off he appeared in the window and mouthed two words. I turned to the girl next to me.
“What did he say?” I asked.
“Missed Connections,” she said.
I often refer to New York City as my first and truest lover, and I’m not really kidding. It’s a city that inspires grand passions in its people. And missed connections? Everyone I know has posted one or two—goodness knows I have. (Once for a beautiful person in a great hat at an Italian espresso bar, another for the owner of the most precious Boston Terrier named after a cookie.)
Sophie Blackall has a simple enough premise—she hops on Craigslist, picks an entry that inspires her, and illustrates it. But, oh, does she evoke the beauty and melancholy that is the missed connection, that tiny moment where anything, everything is possible with another. Her watercolor universe is one of stolen glances, rabbit people, fireworks, tiny hats, umbrellas, the tiny bits that bring each story to life, for:
It’s nice to know people are paying attention to one another, noticing tiny details…The enormous amount of tenderness in these messages makes me all swoony about my fellow human beings.
It’s such a delightful book, a peek at a world so much like our own, but with mustaches that grow like wild vines, swan bikes, strange butterflies, and hope, so much hope for possibilities:
We only have one life, and we rush through it. We make choices and follow paths and we don’t linger too long at the crossroads. Moments of intimacy with strangers are minor detours we rarely explore, but those moments make us feel alive, and human, and part of something greater than ourselves.
They connect us to each other.