While most of us use Instagram to share Valencia-filtered selfies and food photos, Rachel Hulin has bigger plans.
The writer and photographer is using Instagram to publish her new novel, “Hey Harry Hey Matilda.”
“It’s like livestreaming a novel,” Hulin told Caitlin Dewey at the Washington Post. “It’s like it became performance art.”
Hulin’s novel charts the relationship between 30-something twins Harry and Matilda Goodman. Harry is an English professor and Matilda is an artist who works as a wedding photographer to pay the bills. The story is told using using emails sent between the two siblings as Instagram captions.
Here’s an example:
And here’s part of the caption:
No one makes me do anything Harry. And it’s not so bad, especially when the weather is all end-of-days. I sit on the couch with the cat and stare at the canary-yellow projection of “POLLO” that comes through the window onto the wall from the 24-hour bodega next door. I pretend it’s a personal Barbara Kruger installation telling me to have organic free range chicken fingers for dinner. And then I make some, and I dip them in bbq sauce and they are delicious.
Hulin started posting “Hey Harry Hey Matilda” on Instagram just a few weeks ago. She’s already posted 36 photos, and the story will only continue to grow over the next nine months, the Washington Post reported.
Though the emails might seem disconnected at first glance, if you follow along closely, a story begins to unfold between the pair.
Readers learn about everything from Harry and Matilda’s dissatisfaction with their respective jobs to their love lives — Harry thinks Matilda and her boyfriend will split in the next seven months. While it might sound mundane, readers should prepare to be surprised by Hulin’s story.
There’s also plenty of humour.
“HEY MATILDA,” reads part of a caption on this photograph of a fake Rolex watch. “Pro Tip: Fake it ’til you make it. Is this yours? I found it at mum’s.”
Hulin spent a year writing “Hey Harry Hey Matilda,” the Post reported. It was initially going to be a blog, Hulin told Wired, but she reconsidered, adding in the full manuscript she’s using in her Instagram captions. She’s still looking for a publisher, but told the Washington Post she expects that will happen soon.
As for the photos, Hulin, a professional photographer by trade, uses a combination of images specifically staged for “Hey Harry Hey Matilda,” as well as pictures she’s taken over the years.
Hulin isn’t the first person to use Instagram as a publishing platform. One Direction fan fiction writer Anna Todd started her bestselling “After” series on Instagram and Caroline Calloway has racked up hundreds of thousands of followers for her Instagram memoir.
While “Hey Harry Hey Matilda” currently has just over 2,000 followers on Instagram, Hulin thinks this is just the beginning for her work and the Goodman twins.
“This way I can find my readers first, and show a vision for the work that is difficult to do in just a paper manuscript,” Hulin told Wired. “It’s breathing life into it first; I’m really just reversing the order of things.”
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