Thursday, July 28, 2011


If you share a city with millions of other people, I imagine it'd be easy to live a life unnoticed. It might be frustrating to feel so small, so insignificant, so one-of-many. I got a small bite of the anonymity of big city obscurity this past go-round in New York. Passing someone on the street or making prolonged eye contact on the subway can mean very little when you do it all day, every day, in silence. Faces buzz past. Coats brush each other. Feet tread the same paths, possibly never to cross again. In a sea of people, sometimes meaningfully interacting isn't easy at all.

So, that's why these Craiglist listings "New York City Missed Connections" are so intriguing. They are all about people grasping for straws to kindle something more from their daily sparks with strangers. Like this one, posted today just before lunchtime:

Busy busy busy red head on L train last night - m4w (Chelsea)

It looked like you might be experiencing your vin-dit. You had beautiful hair, dress and shoes. Me in the purple shoes and yellow socks. Do you like to dance?

or this one, from yesterday:

We passed each other. Briefly. - m4w - 26 (Upper West Side)

So it was transient. But I felt as if you were carrying the world's troubles on your shoulders and wanted to just speak with someone about it. Don't know why, but when we locked eyes, we both realized (?) how empty our lives were. You were beautiful beyond description. Me, probably looked like an ape staring at you with wonder. I think you were wearing something green. Went really well with the color of your iris.

I could get lost clicking around through these moments of captured mystery. I'm not alone. Sophie Blackall, a New York based illustrator and hopeful romantic, has turned the Craigslist entries into lovely pictures, bound up in a beautiful book, due out next month. Missed Connections, Lost, Love, Lost & Found is a pictorial depiction of those fleeting instants. She says, "for all the hopelessness in writing and posting a Missed Connection, for all the 'you probably won't read this,' and the 'this is a shot in the dark,' there's a 15-watt bulb of hope dimly glowing in each message."

I, too, feel what she does when she says that "the enormous amount of tenderness in these messages makes me feel all swoony about my fellow human beings."

Take a look at the listings, her site, and the book. I think you just may feel something, too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Deliver the Letter

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the hand-written note. I have an endless appreciation for the lost art of tangible thoughtfulness. So, as soon as I get my press up and ready, I plan on continuing to deliver sweet somethings in letterpress. Until then, here's a guide to great letter-writing.

1. Secure some sweet stationery. The paper-licious options on etsy abound. I love the typography and deep impression on these. And I can never say no to what comes out of Rifle Paper Company.

2. Brush up on your technique. While you want your notes to be heartfelt and not at all formulaic sounding, there are some sweet tips on getting your message across, care of the one and only, Emily Post. Read her tips here. I also love Ready Made magazine's diagram of a good love letter (as written by Mark Twain to his wife, Livy). See the cute treatment they gave it below.

3. Sign, seal, and deliver. I simply can't stand how much I love the idea of this collage o stamps. If you order a set, it comes with a variety of squares that add up to the correct postage value of sending a letter. And it's just so darn pretty.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Insert Comments Here

click to enlarge

Because I get in editor-mode at work, and wrestle around with words (as Phillip Yancey says, toying with them, listening for their overtones, and cracking them open), I've taken the above screen shot to document just how I'm processing Isaiah 30. I realize that not every passage referring to the Israelites can be turned around and related directly to my life today. But, I often reside in the way that they handled their freedom. This week especially has had me looking to many other things and people for the leadership that only the Lord can bring over my life. The text says that He LONGS to be gracious to me, even still.

*Irrelevant side note: If you want some free Cath Kidston desktop wallpapers like the one you see here, click this.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Slow and Steady

Thanks to the help of a master machinist, I've been making steady progress on the repair of Andy the Vandy (the name I think I've settled upon for my 320 Vandercook Proof Press). It's been great to have the help of someone more mechanically minded for repairs to the grippers, to get the carriage on in the right place, to get it scrubbed clean, and to get it all leveled up. This fella is just another one in a long list of people who have been generous with their time and knowledge to help me along on the way. My meager thanks are not enough.

I'm quite perplexed by a couple remaining issues with rollers and with packing the cylinder, but with the help of the worldwideweb and the printerly experience of others, I hope to be up and cranking in no time at all.

It's all been happening so slowly, I haven't been reporting much about how exciting this all been. This dream that began over two years ago is making serious progress, and let it be known that I am overjoyed, overwhelmed with thanksgiving to a God who knew, who knows.

Andy, I'm thrilled to have you in my life. Oh, the places we'll go!