As promised yesterday, I'm delighted to present one dozen questions with Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret.com and author of PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives, freshly released and currently #24 on Amazon.com's list of most popular books.
In NPR's "All Things Considered" feature about PostSecret, you mentioned that some of your own secrets have become part of the project. Are there any secrets of Frank Warren in the book? Yes, My secret is in the book. I think if you read the introduction it is not too difficult to figure out which one is mine.
How many postcards are featured in the book? Is it a mix of never before seen images and cards that have been featured on the web and in other forms of your project? Three pounds worth of secrets, I have not counted but I would guess between 300 an 400. There some cards that have never been seen before in the book and some that people have really responded to from the web. It is a mix.
Do you find that there are a handful of prevailing themes in the cards you receive, or are people's secrets really as diverse as the variety you share with us? The details of the secrets tend to change but the emotions and themes of cards are something we can all relate to: loneliness, remorse, humiliation, humor, anxiety about relationships and our relationship to food, secret acts of kindness to name a few.
Do you have an all-time favorite among the secrets you've posted - or one that has affected you more than any other? I do not have favorites but one card does stay with me. One side is a picture of a bedroom mirror with some items tucked in the frame. The other side reads, “I steal small things from my friends to keep reminders of how much I love them.” I don’t know if that is tragic or funny but to me it is poetry.
How many postcards have you received to date? Do you get a steady flow of submissions daily? I get about 350 a week and have over 10,000.
From how many countries have you received cards? I have received secrets from many countries and in different languages.
Some cards clearly arrive damaged in transit, but you still post them, even if the message is lost or indecipherable. It can be very poignant to view these. What do you see in these damaged, transformed items? I think the damage that can affect the meaning of the card can add to the beauty and meaning. I also think that it says something about the nature of secrets. They can never be fully understood.
Do you find when you have an exhibition or go to an event where people know you are Mr. PostSecret that people share secrets with you on the spot? Yes. I tend to attract secrets now.
I'm fascinated with the reader e-mails - good and bad - you share on PostSecret.com. Do you respond to these messages, or do you simply post them as part of the project? I try to respond to most of the positive messages. I do get some negative ones too. I usually take more time to craft a response to the negative message but then I delete them rather then sending them.
You started PostSecret as a project for Artomatic here in DC. Are you still involved in Artomatic? Yes. I fully support Artomatic. For me it was a wonderful gateway. I like to think of it as the equivalent of punk rock for art.
I love the cover of the book - just a plain postcard addressed to you and mailed from Olympia, Washington. Is that graphic design magic, or is it the back of an actual submission? That comes from the art director at Harper Collins.
Will the PostSecret book make a wonderful holiday gift? Should we buy more than one copy and help you continue this project? Thanks for the softball question. I would appreciate it if people would buy multiple copies, it might allow me to convince my wife to let me to keep the site up for another year.
One Dozen Questions is a new feature here at the Church of the Big Sky. Look for dozens more questions put to intriguing bloggers and other folks soon!