Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids

The "unstoppably rad" open-mic reading series

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Announcing GRTTWaK13

February 6th, 2014 · No Comments · Announcements

We’re locked and loaded for another edition of Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids on Monday, March 3, 2014 at The Garrison. That’s just a few weeks away, so there’s no time to lose.

If you have something to read, sign up now to ensure your spot on the reading list.

And if you want to be a part of the audience, buy a ticket at Brown Paper Tickets. Last time, tickets sold out in less than 12 hours. Word to the wise: act quickly.



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I’m so pleased that this announcement upgrades GRTTWaK’s frequency from “seldom” to “occasional.” I hope you’re pleased, too. We all need laughter in our lives, and who better to laugh at than our former selves?

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A holiday reminder from GRTTWaK

December 25th, 2013 · No Comments · Announcements

If, like me, you happen to find yourself in your childhood home over the holidays, please take a few minutes to peek in the attic or basement. Find your old journal. Track down that classic creative writing assignment. Ask your folks about those letters from camp.

We’re hoping to do another GRTTWaK sometime in this spring, and in order to pull it off, we need material. So, get digging!

Wherever you are, I hope this note finds you well, and surrounded by people you love.

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Announcing GRTTWaK12

November 2nd, 2013 · No Comments · Announcements

Update, November 2, 2013: Advance tickets are now sold out. But, there are still two ways to get into the show:

  1. Sign up to read. Readers get in free, and we still need a few to round out the show. Sign up here: http://goo.gl/jtQkQH
  2. Show up at The Garrison on Monday, December 2, 2013 and hope to get a rush ticket when they go on sale at 7:30pm

 

I’m delighted to announce the twelfth edition of Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids. It’ll happen on Monday, December 2, 2013 at The Garrison in Toronto.

Advance tickets are available now, exclusively through Brown Paper Tickets. Heads-up: advance tickets are limited, and they tend to sell out very quickly. Last time, they were gone within a day.

 

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Other than buying a ticket, the only way to get into GRTTWaK12 is to sign up to read. Dig around in the basement or the attic, find something awesome, then sign up here.

I’m really looking forward to this. If you feel the same way, sign up to read or get your tickets now.

Hope to see you soon!

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Welcome back, CBC Radio listeners

March 28th, 2013 · No Comments · Announcements

Welcome back, CBC Radio listeners

If you’re here because you heard about GRTTWaK on the radio, welcome!

  • If you want to hear the radio show again or download an MP3, click here
  • If you want to be on the mailing list to find out about upcoming shows, just click here
  • If you’re looking for the podcast, here’s the link

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Thanks for listening, and please, let me know what you think. Or better yet, let CBC know what you think. Call CBC Audience Relations (1-866-306-4636), or fill out this form. Make sure you mention the show name (“Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids”) and the airdate: 4:06-4:30 PM on April 1, 2012.

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GRTTWaK is on hiatus

November 25th, 2011 · No Comments · Announcements

GRTTWaK (the Toronto-based live show) is now on hiatus until 2013.

Why? Dan moved to France for a year.

In the meantime, please feel free to sign up for the mailing list, so you’ll know exactly when we’ll start again in 2013.

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GRTTWaK11 is sold out

September 26th, 2011 · No Comments · Announcements

And just like that, less than 24 hours after I announced it, all 100 advance tickets for GRTTWaK11 have sold out. That means there are now only two ways to get into the show:

  1. Sign up to read or
  2. Show up at The Garrison on Monday, November 21, 2011 and hope to get a rush ticket when they go on sale at 7:30pm

This is going to be a lot of fun, folks. Can’t wait.

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GRTTWaK11

September 25th, 2011 · No Comments · Announcements

Update: we sold out. There are no more advanced tickets. That means there are now only two ways to get into the show:

  1. Sign up to read or
  2. Show up at The Garrison on Monday, November 21, 2011 and hope to get a rush ticket when they go on sale at 7:30pm

====

There are two things I need to tell you:

  1. The eleventh edition of Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids happens Monday, November 21, 2011 at The Garrison.
  2. This is going to be the last GRTTWaK for the foreseeable future. Jenna and I are moving to France for a year, and after this one, there’ll be no more GRTTWaK until at least 2013.

So then, get moving:

  • Like last time, advance tickets are available exclusively through Brown Paper Tickets here: http://bpt.me/e/193072
  • Like last time, these tickets are limited in number, and will almost certainly sell out
  • Like last time, GRTTWaK11 is in support of Frontier College, our favourite literacy organization
  • The only other way to get into GRTTWaK11 is to sign up to read. Dig around in the basement or the attic, find something awesome, then sign up here: http://bit.ly/GRTTWaK11signup

This is going to be a blowout, folks, and I assure you, tickets will evaporate.

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Awkward “Talent” Contest

May 19th, 2011 · No Comments · Announcements

From Mr. Daniel Shapiro, the man who brought you the Awkward Show and Tell open-mic series, comes a new event:

Awkward “Talent” Contest
Wednesday, June 15 at 8:30pm
Clinton’s Tavern
693 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON

My understanding is that basically, you can show up and perform or show up and not perform. And I’m pretty sure “Talent” is in quotation marks for a reason.

Here it is on Facebook. I’ll be there.

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GRTTWaK on CBC Radio’s Living Out Loud

March 18th, 2011 · 1 Comment · Announcements

A few weeks ago, my radio-making pal (and past GRTTWaK reader) Steve Wadhams asked about doing an episode of Living Out Loud using some GRTTWaK tape.

The result airs today, March 18, on most CBC Radio stations from 1-2pm. Listen online or check your local frequencies. I’ll post the audio here when I get a copy.

Update: You can download the MP3 now.

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A Roomful of Islanders Read Their Childhood Works

February 20th, 2011 · No Comments · Announcements

Way back in 2009, I got a call from Sandy Nicholson, who wanted to talk about doing a GRTTWaK-style event in PEI. The resulting show was called The Hilroy Diaries (name courtesy of GRTTWaK reader Andrea Ledwell), which took place November 21, 2009.

Todd McLean reviewed the show for The Guardian, and though the review isn’t online anywhere, Sandy sent me a copy this past weekend. It’s pasted below, for posterity.

Andrea tells me they’re planning another event for this spring.

A Roomful of Islanders Read Their Childhood Works

What: The Hilroy Diaries.
Who: Over a dozen different readers, with music provided by The Fresh Air Inspectors, and Teresa Doyle with Andrew MacIsaac.
When: Last Saturday, November 21.
Where: Fishbones, Victoria Row, Charlottetown.
Why: Because we’ve all got some gems in our closets…

In 2007, the Halifax-born now Toronto-based CBC radio contributor Dan Misener made a new year’s resolution: To start a live public reading series wherein adults read their own pieces of writing from their childhood.

Calling it Grownups Read Things They Wrote As Kids, its first incarnation was on February 17, 2007 at The Victory Cafe in Toronto.

And the well-attended night went over so brilliantly, complete with a CBC podcast, that the next one followed fairly soon after on its heels.

What was evident for everyone right from the get-go was that there is a certain pleasurable, communally-connective, and interestingly therapeutic phenomenon that unfolds when we all get together and unleash the written outpourings of our youth.

As passionate and sensitive as they can be downright hysterical, these writings offer up the insights into who we were then, how we’ve changed, and how, in certain ways, we’ve stayed exactly the same. And then in some cases, they’re just absolutely certifiably absurd.

Whatever the case might be, the best part is that we all can relate to this. Maybe by this point in reading this article, even now you’re thinking of that one journal, or that one piece that (God forbid if you actually did read it in public now) you would be humiliated beyond belief on one level – yet on another level would be so happy to be releasing it to a roomful of people in that same boat, who all know where you’re coming from ‘cause they’ve been there too, and who all have aches in their sides from laughing their guts out with you.

Surely this was in Dan Misener’s original hopeful vision for the series. And as GRTTWAK 8 just took place this past September at Toronto’s Tranzac club, surely the next one will be taking place soon enough.

But meanwhile, in hearing these inspiringly hilarious recordings on CBC radio, Islander Sandy Nicholson struck upon the idea to bring the series here – particularly to hold as a fun fundraiser for Women’s Network PEI.

And so after putting in a request to Misener to allow an Island version of the series, to which he responded, “Of course! Please do! Just call it something else,” Nicholson in turn and appropriately called it: The Hilroy Diaries – Sharing the moving, the odd, and the awesomely funny writings from our childhood. (Yep. Hilroy scribblers. The multi-coloured casket-like page-containers of so many of our closet skeletons…)

Taking place at Fishbones last Saturday evening, on a night where once again Charlottetown was afire with weekend activity, organizers were worried that the turnout might not be the best. But, walking into a well-crowded Fishbones just before 8pm, where not a seat was left unfilled, it was clear that a certain cross section of Islanders were raring to both unveil their secrets, and indulge in the secrets of others.

“Remember, we’re laughing WITH the person on stage, not AT them,” Nicholson emphasized in her introduction to the night, at about 8:15pm.

“Please feel free to laugh AT me if you want,” the first reader of the night then said in response after he was called up on stage – none other than Mr. Hugh MacDonald. “Wouldn’t be the first time,” he added, laughter erupting around.

And it could not have been a more perfect piece to begin the night: A dramatic poem from when MacDonald was 14 years old, written with ‘the weight of the world on his shoulders,’ as he described, about a girl he was in love with (who never had any idea that he was). A poem which, as well, his sister found a number of years ago in his room, and which she’s used to ridicule him with at family gatherings any chance she can get.

“Pain! You heartless beast,” it began. Gleeful chortles echoed around the room even at these first four words, as MacDonald tried his best to get out the whole poem without losing it himself – until finally bringing it to its epic closing climax of, “Unforgiving pain, please let me be…”

What a priceless way to start things off.

The readings rolled on as over a dozen volunteers got up to read their gems, including people like Diane Morrow, Yvette Doucette, Sean Wiebe, Laurie Brinklow, Orysia Dawydiak, Ghislaine O’Hanley, and even yours truly (I read an embarrassing violently disturbing 1991 grade seven poem to the tune of Leader of the Pack called I’d Like to Blow Up the Leader of Iraq); but the incomparable supremo hit of the show was Dale Sorensen, who read an epic adventure piece written in grade 5 about Adventure People going to the moon.

It was breathtaking.

No, in all seriousness, it was one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a long while – and judging by the non-stop roars of laughter, everyone else was on the exact same page.

The evening finished off with some wonderful music provided by The Fresh Air Inspectors, and Teresa Doyle with Andrew MacIsaac.

With the success of this very first Hilroy Diaries, Nicholson says that Women’s Network PEI will be hoping to hold another one this spring – so get diggin’ in your trunks to unearth that lingering juicy stuff of your own..

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