You were so into your book, I don’t think you noticed me falling in love with you.
Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found by Sophie Blackall
128 pages, Workman Publishing, August 2011
I honestly have to say I don’t know how to categorize this book. It’s not just illustrations. There’s text, too. It doesn’t fit in any category I know of.
Sophie Blackall is a children’s book illustrator who became enamored with the mystery and romance in the missed connections in the paper (or on Craig’s List, or wherever else you might get your missed connections…well, if you do, indeed, get your missed connections anywhere, I suppose.)
I’m going to assume you’ve all read these, at least once or twice. I’m not saying you’ve read them hoping to find yourself there, and someone longing to have missed you…but I’m not NOT saying that, either. They’re also just kind of fun to read, aren’t they? And there is a little poetry in them. Here’s a random one from our local Craig’s List today: We locked eyes exchanged smiles and man you were beautiful. I doubt you’ll check this but if you do please respond with what store we first saw each other at and what I was doing. I don’t know. I find these kind of wistful and throwing hope out into the void, or something. And I’m glad Blackall did, too…because this is a lovely little book.
Her illustrations are beautiful and hopeful and sweet without being cloying, kind of quirky in a twisted whimsical way. And she picks the best of the missed connections…the ones with the most poetry in them, the most love and loss and mystery and wonder. There are people who have locked eyes on the train, there are people who have met once over a glorious sandy summer and lost touch, there are people who spent the night dancing and lost phone numbers from their hands on the walk home. All of them hoping to connect. All of them hoping that the person they had that one, magical moment with was the one they wanted to spend a million more moments with…to spend Harry and Sally’s “for as long as we both shall live” with.
We’re eternally hopeful creatures, aren’t we? It’s one of our more endearing qualities. We see someone across a crowded room and we think, “maybe” and we think “forever” and we infer, from the toss of her hair or the slow way he smiles, that they were there just for us, that night. That there’s magic in the air. That, if only we can find them again, we can be happy.
It’s all we really want, right? That happiness. That forever. That one-enchanted-evening person.
Don’t worry. I won’t judge you for thinking it. I still think it’s out there, too. That magic. I like that Blackall understood that. It was like reading a book from a friend. A friend who illustrated the beautiful, half-wild, fairy-tale people in my mind – and those are the people I fall in love with every day.