Laying it bare

Secrets: everybody has one. Embarrassing moments, habits, hopes, confessions, desires and dreams – keeping secrets is fairly synonymous with being human.

Now imagine your greatest secrets anonymously posted for the whole world to see. Would you feel nervous? Relieved?

Author Frank Warren believes that sharing these secrets in a secure environment connects us as a world community. In his book series Postsecret, Warren does just this.

“I think in my own life, I’ve probably kept too many secrets. So I thought if other people kept them I could create a safe non-judgmental place where I could share these funny and social shocking and hopeful confessions,” said Warren in a phone interview with The Cord from Maryland.

Since 2004, Warren has been receiving anonymous secrets in his mailbox on homemade postcards.

“It started slow, but over five years, I’ve received almost half a million postcards from all over the world … sometimes in languages I can’t even identify,” Warren explained.

Every postcard is unique, containing an anonymous secret and illustration to match.

The most recent book in Warren’s series is entitled Postsecret: Confessions of Life, Death and God and is the fifth in the collection.

Delivering a different theme from other Postsecret books, Warren says, “Just like all the post secret books, this one has secrets that are funny, hopeful, shocking and sexual.

“But more than the others it has soulful or spiritual secrets, secrets that kind of get at our … deepest hopes and fears about the greatest mysteries of life.”

The book conveys humourous messages from “I accidentally saw my boss naked” and “I’m starting Rabbinical School and I love bacon!” to more personal ones like “I masturbate to photos of us when we were happy” and “I lied. I don’t hate the dining room chair because of the ants. It’s because when I was four mom and dad tied me to it and beat me.”

There are only two requirements for the secrets submitted; that they are truthful, and have never been spoken before.

“I think it offers the world a glimpse into our shared, hidden, social landscapes, the parts of ourselves that we sometimes hide from others and ourselves.”

Recently becoming a New York Times bestseller, Maryland resident Warren said, “We’re all really excited” but does not have any specific plans for any more Postsecret books.

As for Warren’s all-time favourite Postsecret: “I like one that I got on a Starbucks cup that says, ‘I serve decaf to customers who are rude to me.’”