Shocking, Silly, Soulful and Secretive

“Secrets can be shocking or silly or soulful”.  These simple but striking words were spoken by Frank Warren, founder of PostSecret, at a recent talk he gave about the organisation and the wonderful things that have been achieved since it began.  In essence, PostSecret is an ongoing community art project which has been running for seven years now. It grew from a very humble beginning and a stack of blank postcards which Frank handed out in Washington DC, not knowing what would become of them and has grown from there spreading across the world.  The idea is simple, people from all over the world send in handmade postcards with a secret written on them to PostSecret and then they get posted online every Sunday morning for the world to see.  Some are light-hearted and funny, others are heartbreaking and courageously honest. 


I first became aware of PostSecret years ago when my mum bought me one of the books they have complied of the thousands of postcards they have been sent over the years.  I have made it a habit and a ritual ever since then to check in with the blog every Sunday to scroll through the new postcards sharing their secrets with the world that week.  I have included some of my favourite postcards alongside the article to give you a better idea of what it’s all about.  Writing this piece about PostSecret got me to thinking about the meaning of secrets and the role they play in our daily lives.  Frank describes how “they can connect us with our deepest humanity” and with other people in the relationship of trust which is created when you choose to share a secret with somebody.  To be told something secret by another individual is a privilege and an honour, something special to be cherished and guarded.


In the spirit of sharing secrets, the University Charities Campaign are hosting an event called Secret St Andrews at The Vic tonight (Thursday 19th April) where they are showcasing a display of all the postcards which have been sent in anonymously to them by individuals wishing to share a secret.  Whether you are intrigued, amused or inspired by the idea, it promises to be a fun, novel and creative event revealing some of the many skeletons sure to be hiding in the closets of our little old town so pop along and get involved! 


All images sourced from PostSecret. Compiled by Nicole Horgan.