Review: Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids
Those were the days my friend. Before texting and tweeting, kids wrote. On paper. In longhand. Usually in diaries or scribblers as they’re known in the west, notebooks in the east.
To keep that cathartic feeling going adults embraced journaling as a way to get it all out. While kids often had to write daily logs for their teachers for marks, many kept the good stuff for their private pages. Sparkly books with little locks and keys. Lined books with KEEP OUT, PRIVATE in big bold letters across the front cover.
Hidden in sock drawers and backs of closets these tomes were therapy for millions of kids who needed to process the tumultuous times of growing up.
Dear Diary, My best friend is moving!
Dear Diary, My dog is really really sick and I am really scared.
Dear Diary, Dad has a new girlfriend and I hate her and she hates me.
Dear Diary, I wish I could run away.
Dear Diary, my grandma got me a Nintendo for my birthday. I love my grandma.
From the hilarious to the tragic and everything in between you can relive the early days of some terrific kids by checking out the podcasts at: https://grownupsreadthingstheywroteaskids.com/podcast
This is the 10th anniversary of Dan and Jenna Misener’s brainchild. Averaging 25-30 live shows each year and a new podcast every two weeks, the stories are timeless tributes to kids everywhere.
Dan and Jenna returned home to Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia in December, 2006 for a Christmas visit with family.
They ended up avoiding relatives and spending time with wine and Jenna’s teenage angst filled diary instead.
This motivated Dan to search out his youthful epistles and the rest as they say is history for the CBC duo.
While Jenna is legendary as Producer of GRTTWAK, Dan is recognized for his creative endeavors on SPARK with Nora Young and as a technology columnist.
“I can’t believe what I handed in to my grade 4 teacher for marks,” says Dan Misener. “It was titled, Casper the Unfriendly Ghost Under Water. It seems Casper blew up his teacher.“
“Winnipeg is our favourite city for this project,” say both Dan & Jenna. “People here value the written word and the magic is in the telling.”
Some of the recent Winnipeg readings included a twelve year olds’ legal contract with her parents for an allowance with ”altercations”, and a grade 12 autobiography English class assignment revolving around her moment of birth.
I cracked up at the heart rendering “last will and testament” of a 12 year old whereby she allocated her prized possessions “should I die. Or move.” This same reader then shared a diary entry from when she was thirteen and smoked weed. Before going to a school dance.
The great Canadian summer holiday road trip was well documented by every kid who was forced to write, “what I did on summer vacation” for their new teachers. The word boring came up a lot.
Dan says that the three most written about topics by kids are arguments with parents, unrequited love and special teachers. Note to educators: be careful what you write back to your students as those statements get read on shows also.
Its amazing what can come back to bite you – in both good and shall we say, interesting ways. At a Toronto show a participant was reading her teen diary when a woman in the audience jumped up and shouted, “that’s my boyfriend!” Apparently his telltale behaviors had not changed over the years.
One reader in Saskatoon mentioned his teacher by name and at intermission a former classmate approached and said “that was my teacher too,” and they not only reconnected but have stayed in touch ever since.
Dan attributes the successful decade long following of GRTTWAK to his belief that, “people today crave true, authentic, honest stories.”
They can relate to the vulnerable who bravely stand up and share their stories some of which have “rough edges,” he says.
Dan says what we see on stage is “real, not a glossy edited version of ourselves posted on social media. “
What this reviewer would like to see at future shows is more men on stage and more folks in their 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and …. Those were the days my friends, so lets hear about them!
When GRTTWAK visits a city they sell mini scribblers as fundraisers for local literacy groups. Frontier College received the proceeds from Winnipeg sales.