On New Year’s Day, (okay yesterday)... I woke up and decided to visualize my new goals and resolutions. I decided that before I got to the real angst and torture from which all sacrifice must come, I would flounder in my old habits just a little longer. I proceeded to roll out of bed at 1PM, eat cereal for my breakfast / lunch / afternoon snack. (one bowl accounted for all of those meals, but lord it was a large one). I then lain in an extremely hot bath hoping to settle the granola that was without a doubt nefariously swimming in my breadbasket like paunch.
It did, in fact, cross my mind that i just paid $10.00 for a plate of ‘street tacos’ not on the ‘STREET but ‘in THE ‘KITCHEN’ of a corporate restaurant. I probably should’ve mosied back down the boulevard and bought some those tacos for about $2.00! Yes, I did get a tiny bowl of frijoles de la hoya with a ‘pift’ of cacique cheese floating in it, but even that didn’t make it a moderate economic gain. After whooshing the corporate cloaked ‘street tacos’ down my gullet, Steve and I decided we would see the latest Coen Brothers’ movie, “True Grit.” but with an hour to kill before our flick, we decided to first go to our local bookstore use it like a library (as usual.) Usually we purchase a coffee and cookie reading books in their entirety and taking pictures of weird titles. We’d wait until the movie started or they kicked us out. Whatever came first.
I hung in Cultural studies / social issues because I can’t get enough controversy, stories of intervention and political unrest. I must say that I do have a ‘highbrow literary fantasy’ so sometimes I break character and skulk over to the literary fiction looking for affecting coming of age tales with political overtones set in middle America. Ahem Thomas Pynchon..Ahem…
Steve dallied in Tech, computing, cooking or building. But I was hoping to find something different in my usual domain, running my finger along several spines, the new P.J. O’Rourke, the new Amy Goodman,
some blasted books blasting Obama, some social book applauding Oprah, what it feels like to be half black and half white, how it feels to be transgender. Partisan stuff, union stuff, struggles of women with eating disorders and how to talk to your child if he’s in a gang. I noticed some opinion stuff on Kabul and then… there I spotted it. “PostSecrets.” Intrigued in general with ‘secrets,’ I opened the book. “PostSecrets” is a book created by Frank Warren, in which people mail their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard.
The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before.
Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams. I was intrigued to say the least. I flipped through the book dazzled by the humor, the honesty and yes the sadness.
The sadness was striking and hard to digest at the same time since it was expressed with such artistic beauty.
Some of the revelations sworn to secrecy were familiar. Yes, at times I do hate people who display some of the same traits that I do hate within myself. But I read on. I found people who felt ignored, unloved, bound and angry. Some were flippant, using the platform / art piece / literary work as a context to simply goof on the idea of a secret through the use of exaggeration or minimalism. There were ‘matter of fact secrets’ and then there were ones that we only have had inklings were occurring in some of our family friends and neighbors.
As I perused the expanse of artwork, now with Steve looking over my shoulder, I was turning the pages and found this! It said, “I cheated on my husban with a woman and i’ll do it again.” In a way I felt honored to be the unlikely and completely unexpected
recipient of one woman’s “secret.” I felt sad that she (whomever she was), was obviously torn in her relationship, and that she was burdened with something she seemed to feel ashamed of. I felt sorry for the unknowing party, the deceived, the husband. This unknown woman had seen the book, gone into the bathroom which was only 10 steps from the end of the aisle where the section was located, and tore a sheet from the towel dispenser, authored her admission and left it for discovery.
I felt as though the sadness and beauty of this book had just reached out and touched me in reality, there on that shelf in that bookstore while killing time waiting for a Coen Brothers’ movie.