"There's always this kind of nostalgia for a place," actor and playwright Sam Shepard once said, "a place where you can reckon with yourself." On Monday, Dec. 2, an entertaining (and potentially poignant and hilarious) reckoning will happen at the Garrison, where the latest edition of the adorable open-mic series Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids occurs. The semi-regular event is self-explanatory: Adults recite poems, journal entries, school assignments, letters and teenage diary confessions written by their younger selves. To give you an idea of what goes down at GRTTWaK, here are a few excerpted bits from past readings.
From Aaron, who in his childhood Catholic school journal often addressed God directly with spiritually enlightened estimations.
Oh God. Oh God. You are like a janitor, cleaning all the badness from our heart. Oh God, you are like a coat that is five times too big, keeping all the warmth in us, hiding us from temptation. From the age of seven to eight, I was a rotten kid. Then I had a dream about heaven. This [inspired] me to be nicer. Although I'm not as good as I'd like, by the time I'm 16 I think I'll almost make it.
Raj felt she had the "typical horrible teenaged life," and made lists in her diary to help cope with the family drama and existential turmoil. She's fine now.
Things I Want to Do:
1) Move out of this house
2) Be in control of my life
3) Open up a restaurant or club
4) House-sit for the people down the street
5) Help mom get the courage to leave dad
In Grade 7, Mark was at the awkward age when teen angst begins to emerge, but the last vestiges of nursery-rhyme imagery linger. His severe, disillusioned poetry reflects that artistic conflict.
Jack and Jill went up the hill and never again came down. Little Bo Peep lost her sheep and never again will find them. Little Jack Horner is lying dead in the corner, the needle still in his arm. And we sit and watch society rot and we don't really give a damn. Because we're all wrapped up in our unfeeling cocoons – cold, deaf, blind and stoned, while Old Mother Hubbard is lying dead in the cupboard and wasting away to the bone …
Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids: Dec. 2, 8 p.m., $10 (advance tickets sold out; limited rush tickets available at door), The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W., grownupsreadthingstheywroteaskids.com.
The sign-up sheet for readers is now closed.
Other Events This Week
A pair of happenings explore the artistic possibilities of introspective storytelling and the blending of fact and fiction.
Sarah Polley – Stories We Tell
Following a screening of her genre-twisting documentary on the contradictions and elusive truths buried within her own family, the actress-director participates in a Q&A. Dec. 3, 2:30 to 5 p.m. Free. Centre for Film and Theatre, York University, 4700 Keele St., 416-736-5149 or film.finearts.yorku.ca.
Literature of the Self
In benefit of PEN Canada, Jian Ghomeshi and Sheila Heti, authors of untraditional memoirs, discuss literature and self-reflection. Dec. 5, 7 p.m. $15 to $25, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queen's Park, pencanada.ca.