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Frank Warren (2007)
Frank Warren had an idea one day, to leave blank post cards in public places, with instructions to send them back decorated and anonymous, with a secret that no one else knew. He only got back 100 post cards for the first book. But then the post cards started pouring in. Now Frank receives “about a thousand a week and even more emails than that”, and what’s more is he reads every one! Christina and Tara, both mindyourmind.ca volunteers, happened to stumble upon us only by seeing Frank’s first Post Secret book in our lounge area. They came in for hours at a time just to read all the wonderful secrets in it and then decided they wanted to get involved. Christina was thrilled to ask Frank some questions…
Along with the images in this post, here are secrets that mindyourmind visitors sent it to us for this feature:
"I bullied a girl in middle school so that it wouldn't be me getting bullied this time."
"She doesn't treat you with the respect you deserve. I wouldn't dream of hurting you."
"I Hate my Vagina. After two abortions,
I feel like IT should have died instead of my babies."
"Secretly, I think Maroon 5 is AWESOME!"
"I like to put on my headphones, turn the music up loud, and just watch people go about their lives."
"I love him and it's the most beautiful thing I've ever felt.
He doesn't love me and it's the heaviest thing I have to live with."
"My aunt told me my parents were waiting until after i graduated to get divorced.
i would rather stay in school forever than my parents divorce."
"I like big big butts and i can not lie"
"When i was 12 my brother made me steal a coconut from one of the street venders"
"I have over 100 scars--and he sees them all and loves me still.
I must be the luckiest girl in the world..."
"i still try and convince my self that you never hurt me mabynot physicaly but you DID you HURT ME"
"I secretly want to be Chris Crockers best friend."
"i wrote the first draft of my will at 16."
"ok so im have no friends and yet im happy with my life"
"my first kiss was with a 16 year old boy... when I was eleven."
What made you want to start this worldwide phenomenon that has affected so many lives?
I think I always felt that with myself I had this rich internal life that I didn’t always get a chance to share and I imagined that other people did too and I thought this would be a way to shine a light on the parts of ourselves that don’t normally get expressed.
Is there a certain message that you’re trying to send to people that send in their secrets to you?
No, I don’t think there’s a particular message but I think it’s very helpful and useful to find a way to allow voices that aren’t normally heard to be heard as a platform, no matter what area you’re in. I think pretty much only good can come from that.
What does it feel like to be the keeper of all these secrets?
Usually it feels like a great privilege, but sometimes it can feel a little burdensome just because I receive so many emails and postcards and secrets, I get about a thousand a week and even more emails than that. And they all come to my home and I read every one. So, normally I feel very fortunate, but sometimes they do start to pile up and that can be a little more difficult at times.
Are you shocked at the large response you receive from the world everyday that simply started with this one book that you compiled?
I have been shocked, yeah, I knew it would always be something special and beautiful for me but I’ve been shocked by how it’s resonated with so many people from around the world, I mean the website has had over 100 million visitors in just 3 years.
Wow! Is there a message you try to send to your website visitors?
No, there’s no real message. I just try and reflect back the thoughtful, soulful, funny, shocking, sexual secrets that people share with me.
Are you surprised at the level of honesty and trust that people share with you to reveal to the world?
I do, I feel the relationship I’ve been able to develop with strangers has been very special and I think that’s what makes the project so poignant and powerful.
How do you feel when a complete stranger thanks you for making a difference in their life?
It’s very gratifying, but I think really it’s the secrets that make a difference in people’s lives, how courageous the people that mail them in are.
Is there anything you haven’t published? Are there any secrets you can’t share or have chosen not to for any reason?
I really don’t think it’s my job to censor what people mail me, so I reflect back all types of secrets in the books and on the websites. I really think that rawness is one of the things that creates the authenticity of the website that people respond to.
How has this increasingly popular project helped you personally?
Well, I think my wife is more impressed with me now (laughs). I just think that it makes me feel more connected to people, it gives me a greater sense of empathy with, especially strangers, and it makes me realize that so many of us have these extraordinary internal, interior lives just below the surface that go unseen.
Have you submitted a secret in any one of your books? Of course no one would know which it is…
There’s one of my secrets in every one of my books.
Any upcoming Post Secret books or events we should look forward to?
Well, I do a lot of traveling to college campuses, speaking about Post Secret. I talk about how I got started, I share secrets that were kept out of the books because of copyright or privacy issues, I talk about one of my secrets, I share funny and inspiring stories about the project and sometimes students will stand and reveal their secrets. I was speaking at a University 2 nights ago and over 40 students came up and waited in line to share these extraordinary secrets and I just found that so moving. Normally my talk is about an hour, but that night it went for 2 hours, and in the room there were about 500 students and everyone was just so emotional at the end that it was very powerful. I really get a lot of gratification from that.
It really is a movement that you’ve started, it’s not just a book.
Yeah, it’s turning into something like that, I think you’re right.
Would you like to share one of your secrets with us?
Ahh, put me on the spot…I watch too much mixed martial arts on television. It’s my guilty pleasure.