Thursday, September 22, 2005


Pattern Study, originally uploaded by Amalia DuBois.

After reading about Post Secret in the New York Times, I quickly became a devotee. To anyone who hasn't yet visited the site, it's a blog that releases a trove of new secrets in the form of Post Card art every Sunday. No wonder the blog is rated # 8 on Technorati and "Frank," the administrator, recently got a book deal. Who among us can resist a good secret, especially when artfully exposed under the cover of complete anonymity?

But after a few weeks, I got a little bored. The secrets got, well, kind of repetitive. I started to talk back to the post cards: Is this all you've got, people? And come on, tell me something I havent heard.

So I stayed away for a while, and then returned. While I can't say the secrets were all that different, the expression was fresher. Or maybe my eyes were just fresher. I don't know.

Anyway, here's what I learned about the Secrets of the Human Heart by reading Post Secret.

They seem to fall into four categories:

1.We're not very good people. We harbor more grudges and feelings of jealousy than a city apartment harbors roaches; we litter and enjoy it; we go to church, but privately doubt God; sometimes we wish our family members were dead. And we are ashamed. We are very ashamed.

2. We do strange things to hurt ourselves. We cut ourselves, attempt suicide, seek destructive relationships, abuse substances of all kinds.

3. Other people have done things that hurt us, and we're ashamed of that too.

4. We love other people, or one specific person, but fear rejection or have already experienced it. We're ashamed of that, too.

Or even more concisely put:
1. We hurt other people.
2. Other people hurt us.
3. We hurt ourselves.
4. We're afraid to love. (Given #s 1 -3, I guess you could say #4 is pretty understandable.)

If you're a writer or an artist, that's what you've got to work with, the limited palette of human secrets. But another thing I learned reading Post Secret is that it's not really about the secrets. It's about the art.


Rubydot said...

I love PostSecret, and you're right, it's very much about the art. There is a lot of repetition, but there have been a couple that have nearly made me cry, they've been so resonant.

Patry Francis said...

Addendum: Just realized I completely forgot about one whole category of human secrets. That's right there's a #5: We're secretly amazed and fascinated by our gross bodily functions.

But hey, you knew that since you were two, right?

So now I'm wondering if Freud or one of those dudes catalogued the secrets of the human heart long ago. If so, I'm wondering how I matched up.

If not, maybe I need to write some kind of paper about this and turn it into some kind of official place. This could be my chance!

The truth is I always wanted to be a psychiatrist. It's just that you have to go to medical school and I couldn't pass chemmistry. And I was too busy writing poetry on the margins of my text books to pay much attention in class...And, well you get the idea...I'm just a hair too crazy myself to diagnose anyone else.

Bev Jackson said...

I didn't know anything about PostSecret, so thank you. This is a fascinating post! I'm off to check it out. Wow.

a river said...

Thanks for pointing to this site. I didn't know it existed. Fascinating to scroll through those "postcards."

You could still become a psychoanalyst. I don't think you need chemistry for that -- at least not the kind of chemistry they teach in labs!

Melly said...

It never ceases to amaze me, Patry, how you think and analyze stuff.
And what I like about the way you analyze is that it's never too judgmental, or flowery, or any of the other things that turn me off.

Patry Francis said...

bev & Maria: Glad you are enjoying PostSecret.

Melly: Oh my god, that's got to be the best compliment ever. Thanks so much.

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