Mon. Aug 8th, 2022

Of all your possessions, I am the hardest to guard. If you have me, you will want to share me; if you share me, you no longer have me.The riddle above relates to some of peoples closest possessions: secrets.

This week, WCU will play host to Post Secret founder and creator Frank Warren who is currently amidst a tour of college campuses.

If you’re unfamiliar with PostSecret, it was started about four years ago. The concept bases around people decorating postcards in however manner they choose with a secret they are unable or unwilling to share outside the protection of anonymousness.

Warren stood outside handing out postcards with a return address and asked people to share their secrets in an anonymous space. From there PostSecret has exploded to millions of Americans, four books and multiple foreign versions.

Since its conception, PostSecret has grown to receive one-quarter million postcards and their Web site, was rated the 10th most visited by female college students according to a Youth Trends poll back in February.

Each postcard, mailed to Warren, is read personally by the creator, which admittedly takes a toll on him.

“It’s haunting, but in a good way,” said Warren, via telephone Thursday. “But in a way, it’s turned into something greater.”

Warren admitted weekly he receives 1000 postcards regarding varieties of topics like relationships, lifestyle choices, and public wrongdoing.

Of the PostSecrets Warren claimed he received, he said the most shocking depicted a postcard drawing of the World Trade Center Attack in 2001 and text saying, “Everyone who knew me before 9/11 thinks I’m dead.”

Warren admitted that he believed some postcards are far more outrageous than others, but each has an equal importance.

“The process brings [some people] a sense of healing, letting it all go,” Warren said. “If I can create a safe, non-judgmental place, I know I’ve done good.”

Warren said that his project has no way to ensure whether or not submitters are telling the truth, or making up secrets, but he believed there is importance in coming out with a secret, even if it is not true.

“When you look in a fiction section, [those books] can [affect] a lot more than non-fiction,” Warren said.

Warren added that half the project is art, and each card is a work of art in itself.

With Warren’s popularity among young people, he does many college tours of universities where he can meet people and share his thoughts on secret-sharing.

Warren said many people have approached him about a secret they’ve sent him or seen on an anonymous postcard. Warren recalled meeting a woman named Julie at one of his events and her approaching him. Julie thanked Warren for allowing her to see her abusive relationship on someone else’s postcard, which gave her the strength to leave the troubled relationship.

Warren credits much of the healing qualities and success of his program to the spirituality involved in creating the work of art. Many times secrets are kept to ones self, but when it is expressed, even in anonymity, it can allow the artist to become healed.

Part of the stir the program has had to endured stems from as Warren describes “the wide range of human emotions.”

Warren visits WCU this Thursday. Also, there is a PostSecret wall in the lobby of Sykes where students can bring their own secrets anonymously or read the secrets of fellow students.

Frank Stern is a fourth-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at QuadEIC@wcupa.edu.

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