Post Secret – Minuscule Fragments of Life Narratives

Today I would like to discuss a very interesting form of life narratives brought out from Post Secret, created by a man named Frank Warren. The main idea behind Post Secret, is that people create a post card with a secret about themselves and anonymously mail it to Germantown, Maryland. From there, a couple dozen post cards are picked on a weekly basis to be featured on the post secret website linked at the beginning of this post. There are also several books full of these everyday secrets.

It may be difficult to see these secrets as life narratives as each contain very limited words and often a stirring message that leaves no explanation, but these are indeed little glimpses into identities of unknown people. They range from confessing love (or lack thereof), observations, and a smorgasbord of other themes. These few words paint a story that leaves much of to the imagination of the viewer, and many of these secrets have invoked plenty of commentary.

I want to take a moment to discuss the relevance behind this ongoing project. For the people who write these intimate narratives, a healing process can begin as it is a means to express themselves and this can release the negative energy from holding that secret to themselves. It can also benefit the viewers as there are many who could relate to the topics at hand which allows them to understand that they aren’t alone and feel a bond with the faceless artifacts. Also, many of Frank’s weekly posts are themed to an issue or event going on such as the suicide prevention week, substance abuse awareness, or other themes. This allows a lot of discussion for those who have relative stories and just feel like talking about it and getting support from commenting on the posts.

However, there has also been a lot of controversy on the anonymity of the posts as some have entailed very dark confessions that have blown up into big issues. In these cases though, there is not much that can be done because the messages cannot be traced back to the sender and therefore Frank has been involved with lots of criticism and is forced in some cases to assess these and hold them back from the general public.

So there you have it, a little sneak peak into the world of Post Secret. I highly encourage you to check in at the site every so often and think about the micro life narratives presented.

If you like, think a little about these questions:

To what extent do these secrets represent the people who shared them?

Do you think that this has a deeper meaning and purpose than simply telling secrets? What else can come of the experience?

Thanks for reading! Happy days everyone,

Tima J



My Field Mission into the Land of Words on Paper

As I walked through the Indigo Chapters bookstore on Broadway and Granville, I immediately found a display on a table filled with life narrative novels as if they were waiting for me to look at them for the purpose of this post. Now as I glazed over the collection furiously writing themes and names on a piece of paper, it hit me. Only after moments of looking I was done, but I wasn’t really. In my pursuit I had only noted down select books in what seemed like a random order. I asked myself, “What made me choose to write down some of these books, and overlook the others?” I include this story because it allowed me to answer this question: What makes these so special? There are a couple reasons. For example, several books that I was most drawn to were those that had a portrait of a face. These images stir up emotion, and perhaps captivate me with an intimacy involved with the face to face-like interaction. The facial expression also plays a large part in this first look moment, whether they are content, or somber, it leaves an unknown entity that sparks curiosity. Also, two of these Narratives featured Justin Trudeau’s face front and center, and another Stephen Harper. These books being put out and advertised now is an absolute key marketing strategy with this upcoming election. If I had seen them another time out of the present context, they wouldn’t have caught my attention as they had now.

Other covers that I was drawn to had either striking images such as men in combat uniforms or others had artsy or animated imaginative covers that feature colourful patterns or bright words.

The book that I will now focus on is called, “That Lonely Section of Hell,” written by Lori Shenher. This narrative doesn’t particularly match the criteria that I described above for catching my attention as it doesn’t necessarily have captivating imagery, but the words popped out at me immediately. So the reason that I’ve chosen to elaborate on this book is because the title left me wanting to investigate further. Around the title it also says, “The botched investigation of a serial killer who almost got away.” How could I not be intrigued? As I opened the cover and read the back to realize that this is a local story of women going missing here in Vancouver, I found myself wanting more and more information. To see Vancouver in the eyes of an ex-detective sounds pretty great to me. This is also so interesting to me as it’s a local view into a little history of my newest home. So the entire idea of this narrative, the great ratings it’s received, and the quotes of praise found on the back of the cover, have me looking no further for my next read. I feel that many people here in Vancouver could also find themselves in my position as they come across this story.

Thanks for reading,

Tima Johnson