Canadian Gothic – Weekly Writing From The ’80’s and ’90’s

Yesterday was the ‘National Day on Writing’, a project that, according to the press release, “…aspired to create a national discussion about the importance of writing by collecting essays from people, interviewing authors, collecting student essays and spreading the word throughout the country..” – and naturally there was a hashtag, #whyiwrite.

The hashtag inspired some amazing personal revelations, like this one by Jo Hart “Because my head is so full of stories and ideas if I didn’t let them out onto paper I’d probably go crazy.” And this one by Nova Ren Suma “Because I used to be too shy to say it out loud. And now I’d rather not say it any other way.”

People ask me all the time why I write. A lot of writers will say that they were preternaturally early readers. That’s certainly the case with me. So, is it just love of language? Not completely. Don’t get me wrong, I love the written word. Many author’s works darn near make me weep with pleasure. But if I was honest, and really wanted to get to the nitty gritty of why I write, it would most likely match what Sara Halperin had to say in her #whyiwrite tweet: “…because writing is better than therapy.”

My first piece of epic, angst’y writing was penned around the age of twelve or thirteen (I’m still looking for it, but I will post it!). I’m pretty sure I was also mere weeks away from my first therapy session. And any therapist worth a salt will tell you to write things down. Exorcise the ghosts. *Put* them somewhere else. I fancied myself a bit of a poet in the old days, as most of my Joy Division loving peers did. In my very early twenties it was all gloom, doom and hearts ripped to shreds – truly Canadian Gothic. But in all seriousness, writing helped keep that black dog at bay and carried me through some very bleak and lonely times.

It’s true that you generally develop your unique writing voice as you mature. And yes, writing takes practice. Often years and years of practice. So, on that note, and in honour of #whyiwrite, today I begin a weekly Friday post where I bravely share some of the best (and by best, I’m sure I mean worst) of what I wrote in the dark days of early writer’hood. I’ve been thinking about doing this for awhile, mainly to have a laugh. And I’m always up for some snarky teasing, but don’t be too harsh. Some of this stuff is *25 plus years old! Here goes:

January, 1989

I see you in a black wash, undefined.


And because you are not real to me,

fear tiptoes stealthily behind

and guards my every word.

Then you look at me.

Like a child, startling eyes.

And I yearn to become a black wash,

and envelop you like the night.

Leaving fear behind to wonder.


*NOTE: I have just learned that the hardest part of this exercise is not allowing myself to edit these oldies. Arrgghhh!  

Now, I want to challenge YOU! Dig out your old journals, revisit that young writer, and share your earliest entries along with me. Post some in the comments section. Are YOU brave enough? 


10 thoughts on “Canadian Gothic – Weekly Writing From The ’80’s and ’90’s

  1. I love this idea. I have some old journals, but they are all stored at my parents’ house in Florida at the moment. I definitely want to go through them, both prose and poetry, and see how far I’ve come! I will share when I have a chance to retrieve some of it.

    In the meantime, here’s some from the summer of 2003:


    correction of the intimidation factor may never come
    i don’t see
    can we overcome this?
    it seems we’ve reached a wall
    so close i can hear your heartbeat, feel it
    through the bricks which strengthen the anticipation of

    • I love that Sara!! Really good. Thanks for sharing, you get the official ‘stamp of bravery’!! I am curious how long it will be for one of the guys to actually share – haha!! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, xo, Lindsay

  2. I remember going through an angsty poet stage in my late teens. It was a very good form of therapy–a way to navigate dealing with a stepfather I didn’t get along with and the turmoil of teen relationships. I have a notebook full of dark poems from my teen years somewhere.

  3. Hi Jo, thanks for stopping by! Yes, the teen years are pretty special, aren’t they? My son is one year away from them and I’m just cringing at all the angst and heartbreak that awaits him! :) I would love you to dig out that notebook, and come back every Friday to share some of your oldies! Great to meet you, cheers, Lindsay

  4. I used to write everyday in my teenage years – sometimes through the night. It really helped me deal with a lot of anger, loneliness and the general turmoil of being a weird, socially shy atypical teenager. What I find funny now is: I would have given anything back then to be a well adjusted normal teenager like all those around me, and nowadays, transformed into a content, well-adjusted social glutton I long for the days when I could write with the passion I did back then – even just the time for it! I’ll have to dig deeper and find more angst for inspiration I guess!

    Love the post!

    • Hi Tara! Isn’t it funny (and so true) that we didn’t appreciate the passion and ‘all the time in the world’ we had when we were teens/twenty somethings. I would give anything to be *bored* again, even if it came with all the angst and agony!! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your thoughts, I really appreciate it – and stay tuned for this Friday when I share another bit of bleak blackness from my early writing days! :) Cheers, Lindsay

  5. Pingback: Canadian Gothic – Weekly Writing From The ’80′s and ’90′s | Communication in a Digital World

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