I knew it had been a few years since I had seen a PostSecret book, and then in the introduction to The World of PostSecret, Frank Warren said it had been five years since the last one. It's been ten years and one million postcards since Warren started an experimental project. It's a project, books, and secrets that have spread throughout the world. And, Warren says it may be the last one for a project that generated museum exhibits, an app, a play, and raised over one million dollars for suicide prevention programs.
When I reviewed earlier PostSecret books, I commented that the books are enthralling versions of voyeurism. That's true, as readers get glimpses into the secrets that people have kept to themselves. Warren originally asked people to send in a postcard revealing a secret they had never told anyone else. While people did that, some were embarrassing secrets, some liberating, some painful, but many of the secrets brought people together. People answered each other, left secrets in books, and, when the app was active, reached out to help each other. All of those postcards meant people were reaching out to each other.
As Warren contemplates turning PostSecret over to someone else, he commented about his own secrets. He also introduced the mail carrier who brought so many of those postcards to his mailbox over the years. And, the man who has revealed so much of his own pain over the years, pain that led him to work suicide prevention hotlines, reveals what he discovered as he worked on this project. "I was building a safe community where anyone could reveal private truths because I needed to join and unburden myself."
Somewhere in all of these postcards you may find yourself, or someone you love. These are beautiful messages, postcards that reach out in trust. I'll leave you with one of the messages on a postcard. "Nature and the library are the only two places in America where I don't feel judged as 'less than' because I am...quiet."
Frank Warren shares PostSecrets every Sunday at www.PostSecret.com
The World of PostSecret by Frank Warren. William Morrow. 2014. ISBN 9780062339010 (hardcover), 288p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.