Paul's Internet Landfill/ 2018/ Cringe


One of my more favourite podcasts these days is Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids. I am sure the schtick will wear on me eventually (already I can sense that people vamp up their readings, and it is only a matter of time until people start bringing fake writing they did not actually write as kids) but for now I enjoy it a lot. Some of the writing is heartfelt. Some of it is insightful. And some of it is hilarious.

Because I have a giant ego, that got me wondering whether I would ever share my kid writing. I do not have a lot of stuff from when I was a child, and almost all of it is terrible. I read myself trying to be funny and realize I was just trying too hard. I read myself trying to be deep and realize that I am just pretentious. The worst is when I made up stuff about myself that was clearly not true (such as calling myself "alcoholic" when I have never consumed alcohol) in some attempt to be metaphorically ironic.

Once in a while I would write something impressive. I previously described a pretty good high-school essay that I had forgotten I wrote. I have a short, banal poem about skating that I wrote in grade two, and which I am unreasonably proud of. Maybe there are a few other things, but there is not much. In grade seven I spent weeks and weeks typing in a big long science-fiction/mystery story into an ICON computer. Rereading that story now, I see that it was not terrible, but it was pretty mediocre. A lot of the kid writing shared on the podcast is cringeworthy, but it is at least cringeworthy and entertaining in retrospect. I don't even have that much to offer.

Let's not get into correspondences I had with people. I was going through some emails from an emotionally-difficult time in my life, and they are unreadable now. I had to put those emails away and not look at them, because I was so ashamed of my conduct. The sentence structure was fine; the sentiments behind those sentences were not.

At one point I thought I would be a writer. I had planned to go into English and not computer science. Boy would that have been a mistake. My grades in English were not good compared to my grades in math, and I could never figure out why. I didn't have the perspective to understand that my writing was mediocre then, and that it has only gotten worse as I have aged.

Once again, this raises an obvious question. Why am I doing this? Why am I bothering to write at all? I don't have much audience. Nobody is going to go through this when I am gone. I find most of this stuff painful to reread, so I don't bother rereading it. It seems as if this hobby is a giant waste of time.

Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids has been to my city twice so far. I have missed both shows. I would like to attend someday, maybe. But I doubt I will have anything to read.