FRANK WARREN Talking about his emotionally charged project and book PostSecret - featuring heartbreaking secrets mailed to Warren and the eye-popping art that came with them - tonight (Thursday, May 31), 8 pm, in the park beside OCAD, 100 McCaul. Free. 647-477-8427. Rating: NNNNN
WHAT'S THE PLAN FOR THE EVENT? I've done 30 or 40 events with the project, but this is the first outdoor one. I'll be sharing stories about people who have overcome their secrets, I'll be telling my own secrets, and then I'll screen a 30-minute montage of the postcards accompanied by music.
HOW DID THE PROJECT START ? I originally handed out 3,000 postcards inviting people to share secrets. I passed them out to strangers on the street or put them between the pages of library books. I eventually mounted 100 of the ones sent back to me in an art exhibit and thought that was the end of it. But the cards kept coming to me. I now get about 200 a day.
WHY DO PEOPLE NEED TO TELL THEIR SECRETS? People mail me their postcards for different reasons. Some come wrapped up tight. Some come with no postage. Some come with so much postage, you know the sender never wants it to get sent back. Some share a funny story, a secret hope or a wish. They want to face it in a postcard and then let it go.
WHY IS THE PROJECT SO POPULAR? There's something about the experience of seeing a secret you're struggling with under the surface expressed in someone else's postcard. That happened to me. When I saw that courage, I was able to reconcile myself to my own secret.
WHAT'S YOUR SECRET? I'll share it at the event. I won't to give it away now.
THE ART ON THE POSTCARDS IS SPECTACULAR. WHO DOES IT? It comes from the sender. Note that the secrets in the book represent maybe 1 per cent of what I have, so it's not a representative sample. But one thing this project has taught me is that there's an artist inside all of us - courage is as important as creative technique.
HAVE YOU EVER FELT A SECRET HOLDER WAS IN SO MUCH TROUBLE THAT YOU SHOULD TRY TO INTERVENE? The project grows because of the relationship I have with strangers. Most of the postcards come from anonymous sources, so there isn't a way for me to respond. But I do direct some of the proceeds to the help line 1-800-SUICIDE where I volunteer.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED THROUGH THE PROJECT? Secrets make us feel alone. When we let them go we feel connected. If we all did that there'd be more tolerance and peace in the world.
FAVOURITE MOVIE ABOUT SECRETS? Crash. It shows how individual lives can connect in intriguing ways.