December 3, 2011

Missed Connections: Connecting the Dots

Sophie Blackall's Missed Connections illustration

As I had previously mentioned over here, for me, reading The Clothes Horse is as much an enjoyable exercise in witnessing her eclectic fashion statements and dreamy photography as enabling me to discover a number of varied, hugely interesting artists and bloggers. It was with great pleasure that I happened to encounter Sophie Blackall's Missed Connections, which is that one blog which invariably brings a smile to my face, come what may.

Rather than risk misparaphrasing the blog's purpose, I will simply quote from Sophie's 'About' section in her blog:

"Messages in bottles, smoke signals, letters written in the sand; the modern equivalents are the funny, sad, beautiful, hopeful, hopeless, poetic posts on Missed Connections websites. Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I'm trying to pin a few of them down."

A great believer of the fundamental idea that there is no such thing as coincidences or arbitrary occurrences in our lives, I would like to dwell a little bit upon the notion of missed connections that we must have all inevitably experienced in our lives - they may seem random and meaningless at the time but I did like to think that the dots eventually join up sooner or later. While the blog captures moments which are usually transient in nature, I would also define missed connections as those brief encounters that can still powerfully empower your life. I remember meeting someone in London few years ago who told me about the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), when I told him that I was a writer and which really helped me to put together (albeit in very raw fashion) the novel that I had been thinking of writing for years; in fact, while it still exists in a raw state, I sourced many short stories from it. I left for Oman the next day and completely lost touch with the said person but I still recall our conversation and the impact it had upon my creative writing. I suppose, travel especially presents you with a plethora of missed connections but even so, in our ordinary lives, I am always surprised by how easily people enter and embrace our lives before swiftly migrating away, leaving us to only being able to contemplate as to what happens next in their stories. Yet, no matter how brief or prolonged our relationship, we shared a connection in a particular coordinate of time and space - and all said and done, it is these connections which vitally form and shape our human existence.

I think one of the reasons why I especially like Missed Connections is the manner in which Sophie accords so much respect to the idea of  these connections. While the messages themselves are so poignant, what I most appreciate about Sophie's water-color illustrations are the reverent way she illustrates and reflects the essence of the messages. Apart from the beauty and skill with which she creates the illustrations, what I most strongly get from the illustrations is how respectful she is of the sentiments underlying the messages. As you read the messages and admire the illustrations, you cannot help but wish that these connections will no longer bear the epithet of 'missed connections'. If serendipity and forces of the universe have anything to do with it, chance will bring them together...after all.

Incidentally, Sophie has also published a book based on Missed Connections - definitely something that I would love to buy. 

Here is a favorite Missed Connection illustration of mine, along with the message:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
-m4w - 29

I saw you for maybe a second or two.
I've read missed-connections before and wondered why people just didn't say something then and there. Now I understand... perhaps it's because the moment is extraordinary; containing a fullness of its own... and the thought that this person across from me is not a part of my everyday life, and at any second will disappear, didn't even occur to me... it seemed that we were in whatever it was together, and that sort of connection rarely, if ever, happens between strangers, so my mind was a little slow on registering that there would be no "some other time" if neither of us asked for the others phone or email.

Now, hours later, the ripples created by those few tender seconds still gently rock something within me...
and I become a missed-connections poster.

Would you be interested in having tea or going on a ride? 

Is there any particular memorable missed connection that happened in your life?

 All text and images courtesy Sophie Blackall and her blog, Missed Connections

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