Missed connections have always fascinated me. It's the hope, loneliness, and hapless quest for happiness that moves me. The idea that a tiny connection amidst a crowded train or a glance after a cup of coffee can led to a tale of true love and destiny, or, in most cases, a laughable read, is inspiring. I have always thought there was an bit of theatricality within missed connections, a case of seeing and being seen; that is, spectating, attention, and voyeurism. Also,Missed Connections itself has become a hybrid genre of online writing. Many posts are faked and many are more akin to journal entries or public ventings than personal ads. Additionally, I've pondered about the people who respond to these posts, who are they? I believe when we read the posts we subconsciously, or consciously depending on who we are, search for ourselves. We believe that someone had to notice us. These two concepts blur the lines of writer and audience, especially when the writer is just that, a fiction writer. Now, applying this idea to the theatre and one arrives at Boal's Theatre of the Opressed, specifically the concept of spectator, actor, and spect-actor.
Back in 2008 and 2009 I would periodically write fictional missed connections on the New Orleans Craigslist board for fun, for exercise, and for my own artistic experimentation. I was delighted when people replied. I loved the people who simply said things such as, "I never respond to these things but I just wanted to say I really liked what you wrote. Good luck in your search." Beyond the flattery were the replies in which the authors genuinely thought they were the subject of the missed connection. And so, my experiment came and went periodically, resurfacing briefly in Lubbock in 2010 and 2011 and continuously within the depths of my own mind. Fast-forward to Chicago in 2013 and I was searching for an outlet for both writing and theatre. So Missed | Connected Inspiration was born.
Missed | Connected Inspiration is an online theatrical endeavor that invites the reader to become a participate in creating an event centering around the posting of fictional "missed connections" on both a blog and Craigslist.org. Your experience with Missed | Connected Inspiration will be unique and has the possibility to bloom and shape the characters at the center of the original posting.
This is very much an experiment in form and narrative more than anything else. I do not know where it will lead or if I'll get anyone to respond via the blog. I currently have a stock of about 35 missed connections from Chicago and will be posting them slowly over the next month or so, as well as updating the project to center on Seattle. About 70% of my posts on Craigslist do receive replies and many of them are rather good. This project excites me because it is a writing experiment that I cannot complete on my own, much like theatre.
For more information, including a disclaimer and a guide, please check out the Missed | Connected Inspiration blog.