Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Lifetime of Secrets by Frank Warren - How Many Secrets Can One Lifetime Hold?

Pros: A book you can't put down.
Cons: I've got nothin'.

The Bottom Line: More secrets for the world to share. They can even teach us something if we're willing to open up...

Back in 2004, a man named Frank Warren started the PostSecret project, a community art project that took in postcards from people of all backgrounds. These postcards, sent anonymously, all contained someone’s secret. It is now 2007 and Warren has received thousands and thousands of postcards all carrying secrets. What started as a famous blog and an art exhibit has transformed into four fascinating books, the original PostSecret, My Secret, The Secret Lives of Men and Women, and this book, A Lifetime of Secrets.

The central theme to this particular collection of secrets goes from the cradle to the grave. Secrets people have carried about their childhood, school, moving into parents, marriage, old age, death, and all that can happen in between. The secrets aren’t just notes on everyday postcards. They’re creative, unique, and utilize all sorts of mediums to tell their secret, from paper clippings and watercolors to yarn and staples, from personal photos and study notes to x-rays and crayons. Each secret is a piece of art in itself, and each one is poignant that may strike a chord somewhere inside you or make you giggle with a memory or simply feel for whomever wrote that secret, either in joy or in sorrow.

It’s a truly fascinating read and I read this right after finishing My Secret. I finished both in about an hour, but your time may be faster or slower. It depends on how much you want to examine and admire the postcards themselves or zero in on the secret you’ve just read. Here are a few, though it’s really best to go find the book at a library or bookstore so you can actually see the scribbled or scripted handwriting or pasted letters onto a sheet of paper or designer cardstock. The presentation adds 20 times more punch to the secret. Some I can’t even write because you need the photo or background to understand the rest of the secret, and some secrets are too deep even for someone to write down anonymously.

I wish my dad was still alive…so he could scare away the boys.


My mom had an affair with the first boy I ever kissed and I don’t know who I’m more embarrassed for—me, him or her. ???


I steal spoons from restaurants.


I stopped wearing panties to the office weeks ago. Work has never felt so refreshing!

I’d love to list more, but they’re all just so interesting. I’ll probably read this book a few more times before I have to return it to the library, and by then I hope the other PostSecret books are back so I can get my hands on them. You never know what secret you’ll get from someone, be that person a 10-year-old by admission or someone working to beat cancer or someone ready to let go of the rest of the world. There’s even a secret from someone who heard about and slipped their own secret inside a book at the bookstore. I’d thought of mailing in my own little secret, but I think perhaps I’ll leave mine inside this book instead (or maybe one at the book store) as an extra bonus secret to whomever takes the book home next.


Originally posted on

Notes from the playlist: "Airplanes" by B.o.B (featuring Hayley Williams)

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