heart_is_more_than_a_pump_500There it was again. The look.

I usually get it from traditional marketing professionals, but this time the look emanated from the heart surgeon that I shared an aisle with on a transcontinental flight.

He had just finished describing a heart replacement procedure (don’t you wanna be stuck in an airplane with me?) and I had asked a question.

“How does a transplant patient react emotionally to losing their heart?”

He didn’t understand the question, so I clarified. “Heart plays such an important role in our lives. Do patients suffer any emotional consequences of losing their heart?”

He embellished the look with a wry smile before unleashing a Church of Logos sermon that made me wonder if he’d been a recipient himself.

Storytellers know that the heart is more than a pump. It is a symbol (StoryHow PitchDeck Card # 57) that we use every day to describe not only our affections, (“I heart you”), but our sentiments (“bleeding” or “hardened” hearts), our convictions (“faint of,” “half-hearted,” or “heart into it”), and empathy (“heart goes out to”). 

So how can you use it in your stories? Can a beating heart represent the fragility of time? Can it be used to make audience connections to love, affection, sentiment, conviction, or empathy?

Give it a whirl. Because unlike my cold-hearted aisle mate, the heart is indeed much more than a pump.


Photo Credit: Library of Congress