Frank Warren: ‘I think of the secrets as being more than individual voices.’

By Maryann Yin Comment

Frank WarrenHave you ever mailed a postcard to PostSecret? We sat down with the founder of this project, Frank Warren, to talk about his newest book, The World of PostSecret. Follow this link to hear Warren’s 2012 TED Talk. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: The World of PostSecret is your sixth book. How does the book creation process start for you?
A: I think it starts with a secret (a postcard). From there, I curate, collect, and weave together these stories using people’s secrets in a way that tells a different kind of story. I don’t know how that story is going to end until the book is done. In this case, it took five years.

Q: Your primary role when creating these books is to serve as a curator. How do you tell a story with each book?
A: I think of the secrets as being more than individual voices. I try to knit them together so that the postcards themselves can have conversations with each other. I almost see myself as an editor selecting these private scenes from individuals’ lives anonymously and editing them together to tell our story.

Q: How do you self-edit your manuscripts?
A: That’s the real difficult part because I don’t like to think of myself as judging people’s secrets. But I do have to select the ones that I think would have the greatest impact on people; the ones that have the sharpest ring of authenticity. I have to put them together in a way that really honors the project and honors the individuals who are participating.

Q: What’s next for you?
A: I feel so fortunate that this project has found me. I try to follow where it leads. I’m excited to see where the next turn will be.

In the book, I have thought about how the project is going to end. I’ve considered different ways of killing it or continuing it. Right now, the idea will be to try to find the right person to turn it over to. Maybe I’ll have someone move in to the house and kind of take the keys to the chocolate factory to maintain PostSecret. That might be the most organic way to end it.