The Secret Keeper: Frank Warren discusses the history of PostSecret and his latest book

Photo by Flickr user Ed Yourdon
Frank Warren | Photo by Flickr user Ed Yourdon

For most people, the traditional way to spill secrets is by scribbling in a diary or journal. Now, the most popular medium of sharing has evolved into a postcard.

Author and secret keeper Frank Warren spoke about PostSecret, the enormously successful project and website in which people send in their secrets anonymously on a usually well-designed postcard, and its success in a sold-out event in the Boston University Law Auditorium Thursday evening.

The night began with a presentation of the All-American Rejects’ music video for “Dirty Little Secret,” which incorporates postcards from PostSecret. Then, on a large projection screen, Warren displayed postcards he was unable to include in the books.

“Every postcard you saw up there shows that every person has a story,” he said, looking out into the large crowd. “Each one of us has a secret that could break your heart if you knew what it was.”

Warren supplied his audience with a blank postcard people could use to mail in their own secrets. “I challenge you to identify your secrets and share it with a new friend, an old friend,” he said.

Warren said he has received secrets written on several items, including seashells, vegetables and a bag of coffee. He said people can connect with the secrets. “If you’re truly open to these secrets, at the core of some of them is this knowledge you can benefit from.”

Since he began PostSecret five years ago, Warren has received almost half a million secrets on postcards (not bad for a scheme his mother initially called “diabolical”) – enough to fill not only one, but five books. His latest book, “PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death, and God,” will be named number one on The New York Times best-seller list on Oct. 25.

The project began in Washington D.C., when Warren decided to give out self-addressed blank postcards to strangers. These postcards challenged them to “reveal anything – as long as it is true and you have never shared it with anyone before.”

Afterwards, more postcards started coming in and what started as a small project escalated into a phenomenon that has turned Warren into “the most trusted stranger in America” and someone who has supposedly seen the most secrets. “I don’t know if either of those claims is true,” he said to his audience.

Following his pattern, Warren provided people with the opportunity to tell their own stories and secrets. Several stood up, went to the two microphones and shared sad and humorous secrets of life, love and family.

Jade Terry, a sophomore in the College of Communication said hearing the audience’s secrets was her favorite part.

“I thought it was amazing that all these people were courageous enough to share their secrets,” she said.

Maggie Abbate, a junior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she liked how people came together. “I have never felt like so many were fighting for the same cause,” she said.

Warren has provided people with a cathartic and thrilling way to reveal their darkest secrets and biggest dreams to the world. He also provided another gift when he gave an audience member a free copy of his book.

Inside he wrote, “The world needs to hear your voice.”

So, in the spirit of sharing, tell the Quad some of your favorite PostSecrets (or if you’re brave enough, some of your own…).

About Borana Greku

Borana Greku is a campus writer for the Quad.

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