If 2014 was the year of anything – the horse, feminism, clean eating, Serial, jihadists on Twitter – it was the confessional essay.
While some may say we’re living through the death of privacy, we like to call this the era of the empowered reveal. Yes, sometimes that girl next to you in the bathroom queue shouting things would move quicker if people shared the cubicle, while spilling her Tinder tale of woe, is a bit TMI, but there are instances where putting yourself out there, in emotionally honest writing, can maybe change someone else’s life, if not the world…
Earlier this month the Irish internet was abuzz with praise for Megan Nolan, a young Irish writer who has written for us on occasion, after she published her essay ‘Aborted’, the story of her late-teen relationship and the necessary decision she made. While newspapers, letters pages and dreaded comment sections are fraught with political fire fights over the right of women to choose, a honest story about a real-life woman tackling her own destiny brings the abstract and what-ifs into the real world.
A few years ago we found ourselves astounded, and challenged, by Mac McClelland’s confession that violent sex with a close friend helped her tackle the post-traumatic stress that plagued her life after a stint reporting in Haiti. In recent weeks Lena Dunham’s memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, has been steadily climbing the charts and attracting a lot of attention over its unflinching portrayal of the actres/writer/director’s young life so far. Nothing is out of bounds – the loss of virginity, self-esteem, even a moment where a seven-year-old Dunham examines her little sister’s vagina.
And now the realm of personal writing in Dublin has found a new indie outlet – Guts. This new bimonthly magazine is dedicated to the act of confession and comes from the brain of Roisin Agnew, formerly of this street. Contributors include Elske Rahill, Megan Nolan, Eithne Shortall, illustrator Mick Minogue and Maeve Higgins. Issue 1 is dedicated to the theme of heartbreak, with the dreamy sounding title of The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.
However, Guts need YOU! Specifically it needs your dollar to make those dreams of “Oh my god did he just say that?!” come true. Have a look see at the Kickstarter video that will convince you to get the debit card out. With only a few hundred euro left to get the project started – Go Roisin! – you’ll be in on the ground floor of a pretty exciting endeavour.
Follow Jeanne Sutton on Twitter @jeannedesutun