The 2012 Advent Calender: For the 25 days of Christmas, I will be blogging each day about a miscellaneous thing I love. Not necessarily a big thing, not necessarily a small thing and not in any order.
Whilst wandering the streets of London on a spare day several years ago, basking in September sun, I took a nosey through Foyles, and I came across a wonderful book entitled ‘My Secret; A Collection of Postsecrets.’ Which was how I came to discover www.postsecret.com.
The website works like this: people mail a secret about themselves to Frank Warren, the creator of the website. Every Sunday, he posts a selection of these. They are entirely anonymous and they are, quite frankly, inspiring. And funny. And heartbreaking. And strange. And beautiful.
Reading PostSecret reminds you that the entire world has as many strange things, weird problems, unlikely fears, fiery passions and hidden secrets as you or anyone else. There have been four books, three full of general secrets, and a fourth themed around God and thoughts on religion. PostSecret tours the country, going to universities, in which scores of people stand up and share their secrets and are, by all accounts, emotional and inspiring affairs. PostSecret has recently come to England for events, but the tickets sold out, sadly. Tales abound of people buying PostSecret books only to find someone has left their own secret in there too.
There was briefly an iPhone app allowing you to post your secret from your phone. Unfortunately that had to be closed after the amount of people abusing the system, but, on top of the secrets themselves, the compassion shown by the readers of PostSecret in the forums is a nice reminder that the world is far more full of good people than we are led to believe. Plus the website supports a variety of good causes, most notably having set up its own suicide hotline.
I’ve never missed a Sunday, and I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially if you’re a writer. For the kind of person who likes to create fictional characters, its a useful reminder that real people can be just as strange as fictional ones.
To get an idea of PostSecret, you can watch this video for All-American Rejects’ Dirty Little Secret which features secrets from the website, as well as the band members’ own.