Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Departure of Sorts

This posting isn't directly related to Atqasuk or the Arctic. It's more of an FYI statement or explanation for a link that I've added to my blog called PostSecret. I have been slightly torn about whether or not to leave it there. I stumbled across this blog a few days ago, checked it out, and was intrigued. I linked it thinking that some of you might find it interesting as well. Then I began to wonder if the content might be too offensive to share. It's built around (as far as I can tell) uncensored reader response. I guess what I'm saying is that it can be rough or, at the very least, extremely edgy. But, after reading more about the origins of the blog and subsequent publications, I've decided to keep the link and let you decide for yourselves. The posting changes on Sundays, so if you don't like what you see today, try it again next week. It might be better. I'm not vouching for the content. In fact, I find myself having a hard time with some of it, but it has made me think. And that, in my book, is reason enough for consideration.

The premise is that readers anonymously share their secrets either by hand-made postcard or recorded message. Some of the secrets are actually inspiring. Some are lighthearted and funny. Some are decidedly not. At first, I will admit, I was slightly startled by what I read and heard. Some entries were pointedly crude while others seemed a little sad and rather dark. But, as I researched further, I found that the very act of sharing their secret was often very liberating for some people. The anonymity created a safe place for them to open up (often for the first time) and share things they'd kept buried for years.

The author of the blog began compiling the secrets and has just published his fourth edition of PostSecret collections. He tours the country doing talks and displays some of the pieces as an art exhibit. The experiences he relates are often astounding. In short, I changed my mind. What I had judged as a mass of negativity seems to have become a cathartic activity which, for many, leads to real healing.

As we move toward the winter season, I have been thinking about the implications of darkness...how it feels and the effect that it can have on people's emotions. Darkness can be like a shroud, concealing things that are truly frightening. So often we fear it or dread it or simply ignore it altogether. For me, it's helpful to remember that the sun will return. The earth will warm, the snow will melt, and everything that is asleep will awaken with freshness and new life. Some people, though, don't have that hope--yet.

In its own way, it seems, that PostSecret has given people an opportunity to face the darkness within themselves. It's given them a venue for shouting at the terrible things that lurk in the shadows and pointed them toward the warming rays of freedom. What a noble thing for a simple blog to have accomplished, even if by accident. Some of you may already be familiar with PostSecret. It's been around for several years. Again, I'm not endorsing...just explaining why I've linked it...at least for now. Check it out for yourself and see what you think.

Here are a few samples taken from the Amazon.com website. The descriptions and author statement found there are helpful in understanding what the phenomenon is all about.

PostSecret Book1

PostSecret1

PostSecret2

PostSecret4

PostSecret3

PostSecret6

PostSecret5

4 comments:

Rose Mary Brent said...

I've never heard of PostSecret before. It's sad, revealing and very touching at times. On the website I watched the slideshows and the honesty of the cards touched me the most. Thanks for sharing the info.
Rm

Kimberlee said...

Hey, Rose Mary. I'm glad you had a chance to check it out. I've looked through lots of the postcards and listened to recordings, but haven't viewed the slideshows yet. Like you, I found lots of the messages very touching and, at the very least, thought-provoking. I ordered the books because I think the whole project makes more sense with the author's commentary. He relates lots of experiences from the book talks he's given around the country. Thanks very much for sharing what you thought of it! :)

Anonymous said...

Hello...I haven't checked PostSecrets yet but your description of it put me in mind of another work of that sort.It is a beachcombing-at-the-tideline sort of reading,you never know what will be presented next.The book is... Nam: The Vietnam War in the Words of the Men and Women Who Fought There (Paperback)by Mark Baker (Author)
The interviewer does not ask for names nor even ask to interview the vets.They heard of his work and come to him.Like you say,speaking of it to another is the beginning of healing.The Bible calls it "confessing your sins on to another". ----Cliff

Kimberlee said...

Hi, Cliff. Thanks for sharing that title with me. It sounds really interesting. I'll definitely check it out! I haven't kept up with the Sunday postings on the Post Secret blog, but I did buy the books (compilations of postcards). Some border on the sensational, but the ones that are obviously heartfelt are often very touching. I can imagine that Vietnam veterans would have equally interesting and touching perspectives to share. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment!