WHO IS WILL DARBYSHIRE?
Will is an up and coming filmmaker who regularly creates thought-provoking films and vlogs on YouTube. He has become a source of inspiration for many fans openly discussing real issues young people face including mental health and depression. He's not afraid to get personal, often sharing his career plans and love experiences with his 1 million community through YouTube, Instagram and Twitter channels.
WHAT IS THIS MODERN LOVE?
This Modern Love might be a book written by a YouTuber, but it’s not just any other YouTuber book.
Published by Penguin Random House, This Modern Love is a crowdsourced book of letters, emails, Instagram photos and Tweets that encouraged anyone to express their desires, fears, resentments and thank you's into one collection, and the response was overwhelming.
We received 15,000 stories throughout the entire process. Material was submitted from 98 different countries, and if you think it was only a young generation, you couldn’t be more wrong with our oldest contributor being 81 years old!
WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION?
The inspiration came from his public break-up in 2014. And although people face heartbreak everyday, it’s not often someone allows himself to open up to a sometimes cruel Internet. However by honestly expressing his thoughts and feelings, the process not only helped him, but led to many responses from others also dealing with heartbreak through to unspoken confessions.
Thus This Modern Love was born. This was no longer Will's story, but an opportunity to allow others to share their feelings.
HOW WAS IT CREATED?
Over a period of 6 months a series of questions were released publicly across Will's social media pages. Shorter and simpler questions utilised the hashtag #thismodernlove over Instagram and Twitter, whilst more expansive questions were collected via email and Tumblr. Even good old fashioned postboxes were used in both the UK and US!
This Modern Love was designed to mirror the path of a relationship over 6 questions:
The Beginning - Every relationship starts with a crush, the back and forth dance with our emotions. Sometimes it's hard to build up the courage to communicate our feelings; do we risk rejection or wait in hope that the object of our desire will make the first move? This Modern love gave people the opportunity to express these feelings here by asking: What would you say to a crush?
The Middle – In reality real relationships are not as dramatic as we see on our screens. It's not the big things, but the small gestures often overlooked that help maintain a healthy relationship. This Modern Love provided an opportunity to write a thank you note to a partner, to describe or share (in a photo) the big and little things that make us happy, helping share with those we care for just how much they mean to us. With busy lives it can be hard for us to sit down and appreciate what we have. This Modern love also explored how has technology affected your relationship, either positively or negatively?
The End - Sadly not every relationship will have a happy ending; not everyone we meet will be 'the one'. The idea of this book stemmed from this stage; some of us will feel hurt and broken, and though we may feel bitter towards the past we eventually heal, using lessons learnt to guide us to the next person. This Modern Love helps that process by asking: What would you say to your ex, without judgement?
With a page limit of just over 300, narrowing down the 15,570 emails, Tumblr messages, tweets, Instagram comments and piles of envelopes received was not an easy process for Will and the This Modern Love Team. Each submission in their own right was deeply personal and powerful, making the decision very difficult. Whilst not every letter could make it, each one has started the journey of this book and the beginning of the world's love stories, from the many beginnings to the unfortunate ends.
Finally a big thank you from Will and the This Modern Love Team, also from us here at The Narrative for everyone's support. It was an honour to help with this project and we couldn't be happier for it making The Sunday Times Number One Bestseller!
It's been a long journey and we are so happy to see so many of you enjoying This Modern Love. If you are looking to purchase you can find it in most local bookstores and online, check out some links below!