Secrets & Stories

It’s the summer season, and seemingly every publication is touting its Summer Reading Guide. Oprah’s O magazine, Poets & Writers (with a cover photo of Marilyn Monroe reading Ulysses!). Even the Oregonian has devoted pages and pages to their must-read recommendations.

But I just can’t do it. I’m not feeling lofty or ambitious. The days are long, the sun is shining and my attention span is shorter than my daily horoscope. As much as I really do intend to read Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I’m just not there yet.

Instead, I am obsessed with quick, voyeuristic fixes like these:

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure
This beefy collection of six-word memoirs, compiled by Smith magazine, offers a blend of the pithy, sad and inspirational. Dubbed as “America’s haiku," these ultra-short autobiographies are addictive little gems.

Started small, grew, peaked, shrunk, vanished.
- George Saunders

Danced in fields of infinite possibilities.
-Deepak Chopra

PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives
PostSecret began in 2004 as an art installation project by Frank Warren. It's catapulted into a community art project with numerous book compilations, a thriving website, and its own Wikipedia entry.

The concept is simple but profound: People anonymously decorate postcards and share secrets they have never revealed. More than 200,000 secrets have been collected, ranging from admissions of infidelity and criminal activity to confessions of desires, dreams and embarrassing habits. The artful mini-canvas of a postcard, combined with raw truth, is a compelling — and, at times, heartbreaking — combination.

"I think we all have secrets," Rick Warren said in an interview that appeared on Geek Gestalt, "and I like to imagine us keeping them in a box. Each day we face a choice to bury (them) down deep inside it, or find the box, bring it out in the light, open it up, and share the secrets with the light."