My dearest friend and I had the enormous pleasure of being able to attend the PostSecret Picnic earlier this month. PostSecret, which I have written about before, is an art project begun by Frank Warren in 2005, wherein people are invited to anonymously send never-before-shared secrets, written on decorated postcards. Frank maintains a blog that is updated weekly, and several books filled with hundreds of secrets have been published (check them out here). Frank donates most of the income from these and his speaking engagements to Hopeline, a suicide prevention hotline.
The PostSecret Picnic was established just three or four years ago and has become an annual tradition for the PostSecret community. Strangers, united in their humanity (namely their complex and beautiful inner lives), share a few hours together, talking, eating, and sharing secrets. This year, Frank came and brought a tub full of never-before-seen postcards, some of which I have posted here. It is incredible to think that each and every one of these was written by an individual who lives and breathes and has an entire story of their own. The unknown context of the cards adds to their hilarity, their tragedy, their beauty, and their mystery.
A few random tidbits about this project:
- Over half a million secrets have been sent over the past eight years.
- The heart of PostSecret is love, acceptance, and support: we all have secrets. We all have fears and dreams and heartbreak and hope. We all love. We are all human.
- There are only two rules when it comes to making your postcard: no blood and no glitter.
- Next time you are in a bookstore, open one of the PostSecret books and flip through the pages. You may find a heart-felt note from a stranger. If you decide to take it with you, leave a secret message of your own.
- The most shared secret is I pee in the shower.
- Frank reads and keeps every single secret he ever receives.
- An online forum, called the PostSecret Community, was created a few years ago, where members can connect, share, and discuss anything and everything.
- The PostSecret website is updated every Sunday morning.
- Send your own secret to: 13345 Copper Ridge Road / Germantown, MD 20874 / USA
- Find PostSecret all over the web: Twitter // Facebook // PostSecret Community
Frank, you are one of the most sincere individuals I know, and your love for and faith in humanity are an inspiration. In the few times I have spoken to you, I have sensed your depth of compassion, and I have glimpsed in you the rare quality of earnest listening and genuine interest in a stranger's story. Thank you a thousand times over for all you do.
Sweet readers, I encourage you, if you feel so called, to send a postcard to the address I listed above. The experience of releasing a long-kept secret into a mailbox and facing your fears, your vulnerability, your dreams, and your Self – and knowing that there is a network of strangers to catch and hold you – is an indescribable feeling. And visit the website: the love is palpable there, too.