In the summer of 2006 I did a four-month placement as a copy editor laying out a couple of pages a day for the front section of the National Post. It was beyond exciting. I made everything fit on the page. I decided what was at the top, what was at the bottom, what ran down the sides, what pictures to use, what their cutlines said. I wrote the headlines, I edited the copy, I even checked for internal consistency within the story, sometimes calling reporters at home to check their facts. It was a great placement that cemented in my mind my desire to get into newspaper layout as a career.
One day the National Post dedicated a full page to talk about a community mail art project called PostSecret.com. Founded by Frank Warren, the idea is that anyone can mail him a post card anonymously with a secret on the cover. He will then put it up on his blog and/or into one of his series of books.
This was the first post card I ever saw.
I knew I had to check out the site, and every Sunday for the last three years I’ve come back. People send in their secrets with art ranging from the mundane to the sublime, but always there is a truth they could never say out loud. They talk about love, loss, suicide, abortion, pranks, politics, embarrassments, dreams, desires, drugs, addictions, family, hope, fear, and everything in between. Some are angry or defiant, others are filled with hope. Email responses come in from around the world. It’s moving stuff, and every week it reaffirms my faith that humanity in the broad and beautiful sense is real, and can express its true nature when given an outlet.
It’s one of the best things on the web, and I’m happy to share it with you.