What lie are you holding?

In front of a packed theater, Frank Warren stood alone last night and told his deepest, darkest secret. And also the secrets of nearly 50 strangers, too.

Warren founded PostSecret for a five week community art project when he handed out 3,000 blank postcards in Washington DC with his home address on them and asked people to tell him their secrets.

“The project ended, and the cards kept coming,” Warren said. “So many of these postcards have voices that speak independently.”

Since starting the project, Warren has published several books, started http://www.postsecret.com and had his cards featured in an All American Rejects music video.

Some of Warren’s fans are less dependent upon postcards to convey their message though. Warren told of friendly visits to his home in Maryland by complete strangers.

“The first time we had someone come to the house I was in the basement,” Warren said, starting to chuckle. “My daughter, who was 13, came running down the stairs and said, ‘Daddy! We have our first stalker! We have our first stalker!”

Warren showed the work of those voices speaks very loudly without him ever seeing the author’s face. On simple cards powerful messages can come across, such as one card that read, “Everyone who knew me before 9/11 believes I’m dead,” over a sketched image of a flaming World Trade Center.

As Warren went through a collection of never-before published cards, he talked about what he has come to see as the big picture, suicide.

“I truly believe in this country, suicide is America’s secret,” Warren said. In the time of the speech, statistically one murder and two suicides happened, Warren said.

Warren, often called the most trusted stranger in America, reads thousands of postcards each week said he was devoted to helping those who trust him with their secrets.

But Warren believes it’s not that he is keeping people’s secrets, but possibly that all of the secrets are setting not only the authors but the readers free.

“(It seems like) we’re keeping a secret,” Warren said. “But sometimes that secret is keeping us.”

Often, Warren will put a postcard on his blog, http://www.postsecret.com, and will get a response from readers who identify with that particular card.

“(PostSecret) helps us to recognize this hidden landscape that everyone recognizes but no one talks about,” Warren said.

Warren made the speech personal by closing with one of his own secrets. He explained that sometimes, at a level beneath his own awareness, he would reconcile through strangers’ secrets.

After reading a card he received some time ago, he explained identifying with something that happened to him 38 years ago. He made his own card, put his own address on it, and mailed it. The card came back to his house the next day.

“The whole process was therapeutic,” Warren said. “It gave me a new sense of ownership over that part of my life.”

As for his secret, that’s between Warren, and the 500 listening to him last night.

Share your secret with Frank Warren and the millions who have read his blog by mailing your postcard to 13345 Copper Ridge Rd, Germantown, Md 20874.

Click here to see Frank’s blog and the ongoing art project he continues every Sunday.

 

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