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I am Frank Warren of PostSecret. Ask me ANYTHING about a million secrets.

Nov 17th 2014 by FrankWarrenHere • 21 Questions • 684 Points

Over 10 years, more than a million people have mailed me their deepest secrets on postcards.

I gave a TED talk. There are six PostSecret books, and a new PostSecret album.

There are 2 kinds of secrets: those we keep from others, and the ones we hide from ourselves.

AMA.

http://imgur.com/G377ROl

Q:

What does your mail carrier think of all of this? And do you give him/her a big tip over the holidays?

A:

My mail carrier wrote 4 pages in the new PostSecret book about her experiences. She told me once that her favorite secret was one that read, "I used to work at the Post Office and we used to read people's postcards all the time...Are you doing that...?"

I guess she was...


Q:

Is there any secret that you really wish it wasn't anonymous so you could follow up with them?

A:

A lot of people talk about how they are alone. I wish I could tell them that is an illusion. A secret feels like a wall that separates us form others but if we can just find the courage to share it, we discover it was a bridge the whole time.


Q:

Has there ever been a secret that you read and just broke down after? What's one that has always stood out to you?

A:

There are some secrets that come from young people telling a story no young person should ever have to carry.

"My friends complain about how bitchy their moms can be... I would give my right arm just to have my mom alive again for one day." [arrived on a postcard with a picture of an arm and a prosthetic limb]


Q:

How long do you think you will continue with the Post Secret project?

A:

Good question. It has been ten years and I write about how the project may end in the new book, "The World of PostSecret". One idea is to kill it like the PostSecret App to keep its purity. Another idea is to give the secrets back to people in handcrafted boxes.

Or maybe I can be like Willy Wonka and hand over my house keys to a super fan. Any takers?

I talked to my wife today about making a stay here available on ABnB - that would be pretty cool.


Q:

Hi Frank! I've been following PostSecret for years now and I love the community you've brought together. Through ups and downs of my life, I have looked at the website every Sunday and there is always at least one secret that hits close to home.

My question is: Have you ever received a secret that made you so worried, you reported it to someone or you replied yourself? I can only imagine over the years the hundreds or thousands that threatened to endanger themselves and/or others. I always wondered how you handled that.

Thanks for the AMA!

A:

I do worry about some of the secrets I get but they all come anonymously. Over the ten years of PostSecret the PostSecret community has raised over $1,000,000 for suicide prevention (Thank You!!!) and I tour and speak about secrets and mental wellness at colleges and universities.

Two days ago I gave the keynote address at the National Conference of Active Minds. They do great work with student on over 400 campuses - if you have not heard of them check them out - they need leaders like you.


Q:

I figured some would be anonymous, but I didn't know they all come that way. I have lost two friends to suicide, so I appreciate all you do to bring awareness to an issue that has a lot of stigma attached to it.

I will check out the National Conference of Active Minds. Thanks for the reply!!

A:

Another great resource is IMAlive - a text based suicide prevention hotline that you can get training for and volunteer when and where you want.

Members of the PostSecret Community created the most complete and comprehensive database of suicide prevention hotlines and textlines here: http://suicideprevention.wikia.com/wiki/USA


Q:

Is there a secret that, for better or worse, you think about often?

A:

I like to think about this "secret" I received written on a dollar bill, in the mail: "We are all part of something bigger... And we are all part of it together."


Q:

What's something about this project that made you feel better about your fellow humans?

A:

I love these questions, thanks every one.

"When we decided to keep you, your life wasn't the only one saved." [arrived mailed on a deflated 'It's a Boy' balloon]

"I am so grateful to the psychiatrist I saw when I was nineteen, who told me I would be fine again. He saved my life."

"It was the toughest thing I ever had to do, but I was there when they put my dog to sleep. He knew and appreciated it."


Q:

Frank, I love the community that surrounds PostSecret and cannot put words to how much I love Sunday mornings to see the secrets that I might share in common with the sender. My questions are: 1. What is the largest size secret you have ever received? 2. How much space do you estimate all the secrets now take up? You once posted a photo of the stack and I wondered how much it has grown?

A:

The largest secret was sent on a sign about 4 feet by 5 feet. The smallest was sent on a condom wrapper.

My wife and I had to build a new room on to our house for all the secrets.


Q:

After all the secrets you've read, does anything surprise you anymore? Or do you feel like you have "heard it all before"?

A:

I am not shocked anymore but I am still surprised every day.


Q:

Have you ever received anything horrible in your mailbox as a result of your home address being public knowledge?

And Hello from Germantown, by the way!

A:

No, people are really cool about it. Sometimes they come by and write kind messages on the box or take selfies with it. I will post one of the pictures I took of people around my mailbox now at the bottom of the blog for you to look at. www.postsecret.com


Q:

Hi Frank! What do you do with the secrets where people send jewelry, such as wedding rings, attached?

A:

All the postcards and objects come to my home. I read them all and I keep them all. I have received secrets written and mailed on flip-flops, naked Polaroid pictures and an uncooked Idaho potato.


Q:

What's the most interesting deepest secret you've received (if you can say)?

A:

Sorry to do this to you but it is on the last page of the new book - You can take a peek at Barnes and Noble for free.

In the book I call it the perfect secret, and it has no words.


Q:

Have you posted any of your own secrets? Who would you and any of your secrets to?

A:

I have one of my secrets in every book.

This one is mine from book two, it's what I wish I had known when I was in high school.

"If you feel like you are going insane, and you are trapped in a dysfunctional environment, You Are Not Crazy." [mailed to myself on a 'Cather in the Rye' book cover]


Q:

What is the most common secret you receive?

A:

I get a lot of secrets from people who are someplace on that journey trying to find that one person they can tell all their secrets to. I also get a lot about peeing in the show. :)


Q:

Thank's for stopping by Frank!

What happens to the thousands of postsecrets that don't get posted?

A:

I keep them all - don't worry...

If you want to send one, please address it to my home: 13345 Copper Ridge Rd Germantown, MD 20874


Q:

How has the post secret community changed over the past decade?

A:

They have less secrets...

:)


Q:

Hey, I love your books and have seen you speak a couple of times. I discovered you through Found and have since shared your project with many friends. My questions: Have you ever seen a secret on paper and realized it was your secret too? How have you evolved during this project? What is the best thing you have eaten while on a Post Secret tour?

A:

I am a big fan of Davy Rothbart from FOUND - go see his new musical.

Yes, I have seen my secret written on a postcards I pulled from my mailbox from a friend I will never meet.

What's new with PostSecret is the PostSecret Album. Here is a link. One of the tracks is a compilation of the final voice mail message people have kept on their phones from friends and family who have died. Nothing moves me like that one.

You can listen to a track here: http://onehelloworld.bandcamp.com/album/postsecret-the-album

baklava layered with ice-cream!


Q:

Hi Frank, I love PostSecret and actually I recently become your neighbor. What's your favorite place to eat in Germantown?

A:

Going there right now with my wife before we see Birdman, Paladar.

Thanks for your secrets over the years and thanks for your great questions.

If you ever feel like there is no one to hear your secret, you can always write it on a postcard and mail to my home here in Germantown.

PostSecret 13345 Copper Ridge Rd Germantown, MD 20874


Q:

Has the experience of collecting and publishing all of the secrets over the years had any sort of emotional impact on you? Was it taxing in the beginning and not so anymore? If it really was, how did you manage it?

I can imagine that having such a deep connection with someone's hurt or fears without actual contact could lead to one feeling saddened.

A:

Everyone has at least one secret that could break your heart. If we can just remember that I think there would be more understanding, empathy and maybe peace in the world.


Q:

Do you and your team manage to read every single secret that you get sent? Or does the sheer volume make that impossible now?

A:

There is no team, just my home address and me. I read every secret and keep all the postcards, I think it is a very precious archive.