Things Unsaid: Project gives voice to the unspoken



by Luke Glaser

The one that got away. The friend you haven’t spoken to in years. The grandma you never got a chance to say goodbye to.

We all have things we wished we had said, words that come to us when it is too late to put them to use. Two college friends from Chicago realized this, and it inspired them to start the Things Unsaid Project.

Much like Post Secret, which exhibited at UK last year, Things Unsaid gives people a chance to say what they’ve always kept to themselves; those gnawing memories that eat away because they can’t be let out.

“We wanted to create a vehicle where you had the opportunity to communicate things in an authentic and sincere way” said co-founder Danny Smith. “Letter writing tends to bring those qualities out”.

Rather than post cards, Things Unsaid encourages people to send letters; anyone frustrated by their own silence, anyone who wanted to say what they should have said.

“You start to think about things that you didn’t stand up for or didn’t communicate because of embarrassment, cheesiness, frustration, anger, pettiness– anything that held you back,” said Smith.

Smith and his partner, Sean Sullivan, are in no rush to become a phenomenon, but Things Unsaid has already appeared all over the internet, and has been featured on Chicago’s WGN station.

Started in May 2010, the first letters to the Chicago-based group came from New York. Things Unsaid has now received letters from people all over the country.

Some letters are angry, like the abused daughter that told her dad “you were the one that was useless…I spent so long being mad at you, now I realize you’re not worth the energy”.

Others are sentimental, like the grandson who wanted to thank his Pop “for helping to shape the person I’ve become today” and “apologize for not saying goodbye properly…I miss you and I love you.”

Sullivan offers no limitations to what can be written, and no limitations as to who can write.

“If Coach Cal needs an outlet, by all means we’ll be happy to print it,” he joked.

The address for the project is Things Unsaid Project, PO Box 1103, Park Ridge, IL, 60068, and they are willing to receive, listen and post whatever comes their way. “We want it to go as long as people have things to say” said Sullivan. “The boundaries are endless.”