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Author Archive: "Frank Warren"

The People Almost Broken by the World Become Those Most Likely to Change It

Last year I received an email from a good friend of mine, Reese Butler. About a decade ago, Reese founded the Kristin Brooks Hope Center — a national suicide prevention hotline to honor the memory of his wife who took her own life during a struggle with postpartum depression.

In his email to me, Reese asked for immediate financial help to save the hotline. I did what I could to help but it was not enough. So I posted his urgent request on the PostSecret website. Within one week over 900 visitors to www.PostSecret.com raised over $30,000, saving this national suicide prevention hotline that has since gone on to offer help to over 2,000,000 callers.

I believe some of the people who acted so heroically that week are reading this message today — Thank You.

To honor how the PostSecret community made a lasting difference in the real world that week, I will be personally donating $10 to hopeline for every new PostSecret book purchased on Sunday November 18th through www.PostSecret.com.

Book Tour Secrets

This is my fourth book tour and with each one some things get better and some things remain exactly that same. I don't have to take beta-blockers anymore before I go on television. But I still worry at every meal before a reading that I will spill something on my shirt.

One of the best parts of every tour is meeting and traveling in each city with a local media escort. Most publishers make sure that when their authors visit cities during a book tour they are met by an experienced author escort who can take them to media interviews and book signings, and help out in any number of ways. (It always seems like a great job to me, to get to hang out with celebrities and serious authors for the day.)

If you have been to a book reading you might have seen a media escort help out an author by asking the first question to get the Q&A session rolling.

Usually a media escort will identify themselves for the author at the airport by holding ...

Sometimes When We Think We Are Keeping a Secret, That Secret Is Actually Keeping Us

I met Tina at one of my PostSecret Lectures. From the back of the audience, she stood up and bravely told her story:

"Frank, I wrote my secret about my eating disorder on a postcard and mailed it to you but it was not one that you picked to display on the PostSecret website, so I decided I needed to take further action on my secret myself. I made the shirt I am wearing now and told myself that I would wear it to school."

At this point, everyone in the audience turned back to see her shirt. The front read, "20% of anorexics will die," and when she turned around we could see that she had listed the symptoms of anorexia on the back of her shirt. She continued her story.

"But as I walked to school wearing my shirt that morning I got really scared imagining how my teachers and friends would react to my secret. Somehow, when I got to my classroom door, I forced myself to walk in. When everyone saw my shirt, not only did they support me, but my classmates asked me if I would ...

I’m the Fizzy Drink Lady

PostSecret started as a community art project three years ago. I printed 3,000 self-addressed postcards and passed them out to strangers in Washington D.C., inviting them to share a secret with me; something true and something they had never told anyone else before. Slowly, anonymous secrets began to find their way to my mailbox. It was just a trickle at first — but now it's a torrent. I get about 1,000 artfully homemade postcards from around the world every day. To get a better understanding of the nature of the project you may wish to watch the PostSecret video.

My father wonders why anyone would want to mail a secret to me and has his own ideas as to why more than a million visitors come every week to read soulful, funny, sexual, or haunting secrets at www.PostSecret.com. I agree with him that younger people are more willing to expose parts of their lives that their parents would have kept private and that voyeurism plays a role in the project, too. But I think the whole story behind the project is more than that.


Strangers on a Train

Five years ago I found myself in a small windowless office responding to questions from a psychiatrist. Her first question was, "How are you?" Less than an hour later she asked me, "Have you thought about any specific ways of killing yourself?"

"I have thought about stepping out in front of a moving bus on Wisconsin Avenue, I have thought about taking an overdose of..."

I went on detailing the secret methods I had imagined for taking my life. I had not told anyone before her and now that I had started I felt a wave of relief. I didn't want to stop.

"That's enough," she interrupted.

In that moment, I stopped thinking about myself. I saw the concerned look in her eyes and empathized with her position. I was suicidal at the time but remember feeling sorry for her.

Her job required her to listen to sorrowful stories like mine day after day. I wondered how she could manage that burden. She prescribed Xanax for me. I left the office still thinking about her.

We had never met ...

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