A new CBC Radio program is looking to take your most traumatic — and hilarious — childhood writings and broadcast them for other people’s enjoyment.
From gut-wrenching descriptions of first crushes to childhood wish lists, CBC technology columnist Dan Misener hosts Grownups Read Things they Wrote as Kids.
“[The show will feature] a whole bunch of really weird and wonderful kid writing and teenage writing. We’ve got so many great folks signed up to read diary entries, and creative writing assignments, and really bad poetry, and all kinds of other stuff,” he said.
“Basically, we’ve left it wide open and anything that is sort of cringeworthy or a little bit embarrassing from your childhood or teenage writing — that’s what folks are going to hear.”
Misener began Grownups Read Things they Wrote as Kids as an open mic reading series in Toronto.
He said people read just about anything they can dig out of their parents’ attic.
For instance, a woman named Sarah recently read her childhood wish list aloud at an open mic performance in Calgary.
The first thing on her wishlist? Sarah wished her father was Kevin Costner.
“My second wish would be that there would be such a thing as mermaids and me, Pam, Nat, Amanda, Audrey, Cory, Lars, Chris E., Dennis C., Ryan, Vince and Reed were the only ones and we’d be able to breathe in water and air. And no humans that would hurt us would ever, ever find out about us and we could reproduce and start a world of mermaids. My third wish would be for peace everywhere,” she read to the laughter of the audience.
Fun to 'exploit' our younger selves
Misener said the idea came to him about seven or eight years ago while he and his wife were visiting her parents and was asked to get rid of some of the stuff her parents had been storing.
During the cleanup, they came across her diary from her “awkward teenage years.”
“So I started reading it out loud across the room to her, she was doing something else. Parts of it were really very funny, and parts of it were kind of sad, or a little bit bittersweet but it was really this window into my wife that I had never really had before. It was this way of seeing her at a time when I didn’t really know her, and it struck me that a lot of people probably have this kind of thing,” he said.
That moment was eye opening for Misener.
“We sort of carry these things around with us and wouldn’t it be fun to excavate them and exploit our younger selves for our entertainment today,” he said.
Misener said the way people present themselves online these days is carefully curated to present how people want the world to view them and reading from a past when people are more naive can be fun.
“This kind of writing really strips us down to the most basic versions of ourselves and I think it’s a really authentic look at who we are as people,” he said.
Grownups Read Things they Wrote as Kids will air every Wednesday starting this week at 9:30 a.m. right after The Current on CBC Radio 1. It will be rebroadcast Saturday evenings at 7:30.
Misener is hosting a sold out live show at The Company House in Halifax Tuesday evening.