Con­fes­sion is good for the soul

A new bi-monthly mag is ask­ing writ­ers to spill their guts. Here, its ed­i­tor ex­plains what they are up to

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - RÓISÍN AGNEW

Guts came about be­cause I was fed up work­ing with what felt like the stalest of all art-forms. Ev­ery new ini­tia­tive that cap­tured peo­ple’s imag­i­na­tion seemed to be­long to a sphere that was un­re­lated to writ­ing or that treated it as a sec­ondary el­e­ment – writ­ing al­ways felt like the wall­flower at the party.

Guts is a col­lec­tion of con­fes­sional writ­ing and per­sonal es­says com­bined with il­lus­tra­tion. It’s a bi-monthly mag­a­zine that ap­plies blog­ging cul­ture to a print for­mat to tell highly per­sonal and self-ex­pos­ing sto­ries – be­cause we reckon peo­ple have de­vel­oped an ap­petite for this kind of voyeuris­tic read­ing.

That’s where the idea of con­fes­sional writ­ing came from, and even where the ti­tle comes from – spilling your guts or hav­ing the guts to do some­thing. It was a joke at first, but it stuck.

A lot of the writ­ers and jour­nal­ists I know have to re­move them­selves from the sub­ject they’re writ­ing about for their work; we wanted to put them back at the cen­tre of the story. We also wanted to give some­thing lit­er­ary the slick­ness it de­serves – we have the best il­lus­tra­tors around to work on it, we’ve de­signed the type and writ­ing so that it’s fun to phys­i­cally read, and we’ve done ev­ery­thing we can to present the sto­ries at­trac­tively. It’s hav­ing fun and not be­ing snob­bish with the lit­er­ary value of the work while also in­volv­ing some ex­cel­lent writ­ers.

In con­fes­sional writ­ing, there’s an art to how much you re­veal about your­self and the character you cre­ate as a writer. It’s a story-telling tool.

What I like about it is that it makes the writer the pro­tag­o­nist of the story. It el­e­vates the writer to be­ing the sub­ject. The first is­sue of Guts, The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter: Heart­break and Bus­tups, is out now. thi­sisguts.com

A card­board cutout sculp­ture by Mick Minogue

from Guts

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