Shhh! It's a secret…

In October, a new book by Frank Warren - non-writer, non-psychologist and non-art historian. Having looked through these "Confessions of life, death and God," I was convinced: in terms of psychology, Frank is not only an expert, but also a great original ...

If I had to describe Frank Warren in a few sentences, I would start like this: “The author of the famous PostSecret project receives more correspondence every day than the Lord God and Santa Claus combined. Today, for many people in the world, Frankie is a confessor, web archangel and psychotherapist in one person. The secret of his wild popularity is that he collects other people's secrets. ” In reality, a few phrases are clearly few. Therefore, I will tell all that I know about Frank, for one simple reason - it's worth it.

Some call Warren a network psychologist, others - a talented businessman, and others - a bright representative of the mail-art movement. Who he is more difficult to say. Frank provokes people to send him postcards with unflattering confessions, secrets and secrets that he scans and puts on his website.

Like you, for example, such: “When my boyfriend slaps me on the bottom, the feminist in me weeps, but on the other hand, it's so sweet”; “I died that day when I offered her to marry me”; “I loved you, but you came back to him again, and he again turned your face into a steak. It would be better if he killed you right away "; “When I see the food go bad, I give it to my husband for breakfast”; "Nothing in my life is as fun as my own penis." On a postcard with a painted bird covering its nest, parental confession: “Every time I wash my children’s clothes, I take the money I found in their pockets.” And the most popular revelation, according to Warren, is: "I always write when I wash in the shower."

He collects the best of the messages into albums (“PostSecret: Confessions on Life Death and God” is already the fifth). For four years of such activities, Frank has achieved incredible recognition: today his site is among the ten most visited in the world, the albums are bought up like lemonade in July midday, and Warren himself does not get out of the lecture tours. The whole world is crazy about Frank. And only employees of post offices stick on the target of his photo, when they are going to pass the time while playing darts.

It all began with a midlife crisis. “I was a little confused about life. It would seem that family, work, home, household, annual picnics on the coast. Everything is good, but a heavy feeling appeared in my heart, and I absolutely did not understand how to live further, ”Frank wrote to me in an e-mail. As a result, he came up with a non-trivial way out: instead of making an appointment with a psychotherapist (as every sensible American would have done), Frank bought an impressive pile of penny postcards, wrote his home address on them and a couple of touching lines proposing to share with him spiritual alarms. “It’s possible that someone’s soul at that moment was scratching the same cats as mine,” Frank reasoned. “If at least a few people share their secret experiences with me, I’ll probably feel not so hopeless.”

Frank distributed postcards with the maniacal nature of Jehovah's Witness: he threw it on the shelves in supermarkets, put it in library books, and left it at bus stops. Gradually, his "doves of the world" began to return. Frank Warren remembers the first answer received so far: “A list of products was written on a piece of paper (apparently, a person went with her to the supermarket), partially crossed out, and in the corner, with other ink, was attributed:“ What I turned into, - a nightmare. But I still resist. ” The paper was pasted on a card with my address. I imagined how difficult it was for this woman to tell the truth about herself and send a confession to a complete stranger. And suddenly I felt that I myself became much easier. ” Then postcards began to come in dozens, and a few months later the bill went up hundreds.

Four years have passed since that moment, Warren has safely survived his midlife crisis. Now 150-200-200 new secrets are ripped open in his mailbox, the authors of which would admit the lion’s share only on his deathbed. To give everyone the opportunity to experience the psychotherapeutic effect of reading other people's secrets, Frank started, where every Sunday he scans and hangs out the top twenty "best" cards in a week. Many of them are real masterpieces of mail art; they are "decorated" with illustrations and phrases that have been torn from magazines, drawings and collages.

Some believe that the postcards that Frank reads in tons today may have something to do with art, but psychology is far-fetched. I declare that it is not so! Postcards from the PostSecret project are practical psychology, and on such a scale that Freud never dared to dream of. Having told the world their most unsightly secret, people get rid of the stones in their hearts. On the other hand, humanity has not yet invented a sweeter entertainment than putting its nose into other people's secrets. And this is also pure psychotherapy. When you see what is happening in other people's heads, your thoughts cease to seem so paranoid. Sometimes I sit for hours on Frank's site, looking at the dark side of the soul of strangers to me ...

One of Frank's latest hobbies is a public discussion of the PostSecret phenomenon in thousands of campuses. His visits to universities, institutes and colleges of America gather huge audiences (among young Americans, the PostSecret web project ranks third in popularity after Facebook and MySpace). On the stage, as in life, Frankie is a charming, soft and open interlocutor who can talk about secret postcards for hours, elegantly blurting out other people's secrets. To my questions, as well as to the remarks of the students, he always answers directly and in detail. And only one question always leaves unanswered: “Are you afraid, Frank?”

Despite the fact that I really love Frank, especially as a person who replenishes my home library with amazing editions, I cannot say with absolute certainty that the PostSecret project is a story that will last for years. For longevity, the project is too explosive, spontaneous and provocative. But at the same time, I readily believe that while you were reading this post, someone you know had already worked on the postcard. He tweeted on it, stuck letters cut from newspapers and magazines, attributed something by hand ... Maybe even wrapped it with several layers of craft paper, wrapped it with tape of kilometers. And then I clicked the pen and carefully printed the address:

PostSecret, Frank Worren, 13345, Copper Ridge Rd., Germantown, Maryland, 20874, USA.

And at the same second, the Maryland postmen, having cursed at the next pile of frivolous postcards piled in the corner of the office, might have decided to fight darts again.