I first met Postsecret lying in a Mexican hammock hung approximately a hundred metres away from a smelly dank dodgy hallway. ‘I wish I had lung cancer so my mom would quit smoking’, it told me. I was surprised. You don’t ever really expect to hear (or read) such a deep dark and tabooed secret, even from your nearest and dearest. But I guess if your nearest and dearest is the one who is the cause of that pain, you aren’t exactly going to share that with them. Right?
That is the problem of secrets and the beauty of Postsecret – we all (and don’t tell me that you don’t) like to tell strangers secrets deeper and darker than what we would tell those who know us best; it’s simply about who we are willing to hurt by our information. There is a certain anonymity in telling your deep dark to a stranger; there is no incriminating evidence.
Which is probably why, in late 2004, Frank Warren started receiving a steady stream of dank secrets in the form of postcards. You see, he had welcomed the country of the United States of America to anonymously paint their stories of pain, type their happiness in courier sans, collage their anger onto a six-by-four-and-a-quarter inch piece of cardboard and, basically, send all their confusion and mess away. At least for a little while.
Warren had given perfect strangers a perfect reprieve, however momentary, from the secret pain that they dragged around with them, and then put it all in a book. It’s dark and somewhat depressing, but I found it quite addictive. Like reading someone’s diary …what? You’ve never done that before?
Of course, it could just be me and I could be talking crap, but just remember what the smart (hatin’) Postsecret correspondent said: ‘When most people talk to me, I am thinking ‘what an idiot!’