A podcast I listen to did a segment about organ donation. They talked to women in charge of getting people to become donors over the phone. As part of their job these women were trained to tell stories that would persuade people to become donors.
There was the inspiring story of a woman who had succeeded in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro on a donated heart. Nil points. Mystified, the women kept relaying true stories in the hope of finding the perfect bait. They peppered the phone calls with words like ‘awesome’, ‘cool’, and ‘really neat’. And eventually they discovered that one of the stories that worked best was about freckles. A woman who had lost her sight could now see again thanks to an organ donation, and for the first time she could see that her son had freckles.
‘Normal’ was what hit people’s empathy and interest spot most. Where there were stories of the private normality of people’s lives, intimate details, the people on the other end of the phone could insert themselves more easily into the narrative and relate to the predicament.
As misleading a name as Guts might be, we’re actually not looking for any organ donations. And that podcast was called ‘How To Bore Someone Into Donating An Organ’, so perhaps it wasn’t really the best analogy for me to draw on.
But we are interested in the art of telling a personal story - revealing enough so that you bite, withholding enough so that you keep wondering, perhaps persuading you that there is a value to our shared ‘normal’.
And it could only be print. Impractical and commercially unsound, its prophesied doom has released it into a realm of play that we are happy to inhabit. We vow to treat writing and illustration equally to create a little object that acts a tiny cornerstone to people’s experiences in Dublin now.
Carson McCullers’ cult classic The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter lends its title to our first issue, bringing you all that nine of us have to say about bust-ups, hook-ups and heartbreak. Here’s to a sappy virgin voyage. R.