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Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 17:54

Childhood diaries are wonderful and scary things. We write our secrets in them, usually pretty sincerely, and they can be mortifying places to revisit when we’re older. But doing just that, and sharing your teenaged daydreams (and tragedies) with a crowd can be a cathartic experience. Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids offers just that. Dan Misener started the event in 2007, and it’s become something of a phenomenon of people dusting off their old journals to read their childish thoughts in their very adult voices. Sometimes they’re full stories, sometimes they’re cringeworthy poems, and once in a while, they’re valuable (and affecting) lessons about growing up.

On November 24th I attended the most recent GRTTWAK in Toronto. Most of the tales were written when the reader was a teenager – you could hear the gawky, sometimes over-confident voice of people just coming into their own. And the smiles (and sometimes blushes) on the faces of those reading the stories said something about how much we can always still connect to our past.

And those stories seem to be universal – we all write about falling in love, out of love, in love, being angry at our parents, making new friends, and dreaming of the future. In fact, this emerged as the recurring theme – how much we want our lives to turn out exactly the way we want, and how far away that seems to us when we’re 10. Or 12. Or 17.

GRTTWAK’s headed to Montreal next, and Dan’s always looking for new stories. You can check out for more information. And just to get you started on your hunt through the attic, here’s a story from a while back told by Roger, written when he was 15. It’s about when his family moved from Trinidad to Toronto, and he experienced a whole lot for the very first time.


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