Embarrassing Letters II: My Response

My parents gave me all the financial support I would need for my 1983 hitchhiking trip. I sent the following letter after the trip, in November:     

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hello, it’s me, it may be cliché, but time certainly goes by very quickly. I find it amazing that I’ve been alive for nearly twenty years – that’s a long time for me – a lifetime in fact.

Throughout my life, or at least the at eight years I have rebelled against so many things ranging from private school to civilization. This may have all seemed ludicrous and counter-productive to you, but I think that I have achieved much in my personal development. Now, I see a very unpredictable future for me, but that’s the way I want it. I am happy. I love writing, filming and creating.

I don’t want you to be upset if I fail (not that I plan to) or drop out (again, not that I plan to), I refuse to enter any life that is not artistically creative. For me to achieve anything that I will be satisfied by, I must leave the norm, the average ‘desk job’; otherwise I will have failed my liberal goals. I doubt that this is what you will have wished for me, but there it is. I am what I am, and I won’t pretend to be anything else. (I feel that the Canada trip was brilliantly successful as it opened my mind to so many things and has motivated me to write a book of some sort.)

What can I say, I intend to stay in an artistic and undependable (sic) field, and I thank you for your love and help. So there you have it, no bullshit (there isn’t a suitable word), just honesty.


My Parents Send Their Response

April 25/83


We have been mulling over your proposal that you hitchhike across Canada this summer and, as you can imagine, we were quite taken aback by the idea. We have considered your project very seriously and reluctantly would permit you to go.

I think it would be unreasonable for you to expect your father to contribute to the financing of not only your projected trip and also to pay the entire cost of your second year at university. You should not overlook the fact that working in the summer with people you might not otherwise encounter is a very good way of learning about “life” – I am not at all convinced that hitchhiking is a better way.

It is also dangerous though perhaps I shouldn’t exaggerate that aspect since you are big and strong and reasonably capable of coping with undesirable people you are bound to run into. You will have to steel yourself to the idea that a job in the summer of 1984 is an absolute must.


Letter From My Embarrassing Youth

April 14/83

Dear Mom and Dad;

Hi, it’s me. I guess you’re wondering why I’m writing, and I guess you’re wondering what I plan to do this summer. Well, I’m going to answer both of those questions. I’d like to hitchhike across Canada.

Now I’m sure your first reaction to this will be that I should work an (sic) make money and pay my way through university next year, but I don’t feel that way. You see, I have the energy, the spirit and the enthusiasm to try this venture right now. The problem with getting a job is that I feel it would stifle me and my artistic (that is in my writing, etc.) talents.

What I plan for this journey is intended to release my mind and make it easier for me to write creatively. The trip wouldn’t just be me running all over the country, doing nothing but looking for a good time. The whole journey is planned for two reasons: one to give me more to write about by giving me more attitudes and angles on different issues – in essence to broaden be (sic) horizon to help me write more knowledgeably. The second reason is that I, ideally, would like to write a book about the search for the Canadian identity (if there is one). The book, of course, would take a couple of years to compile and edit, but I’d like to try it. Of course if it fails, I’ve still learned a lot, haven’t I? A lot more than I might learn working at some job.

Now I’d need about $1,000 for this trip. As well, I’d again need your full financial support for university. (I guess this whole scheme sounds like I’m just as impossible as ever, but I’d like to challenge that.) All the courses I’ve taken and plan to take at university all deal with the opening of my mind – philosophically; so to get better grasp of it and my understanding and development of these ideas I think this cross-country venture would be very helpful. If I get a job, instead I work at a set amount of hours at some specified (or despecified (sic), depending on how you look at it) job. I feel this would be very stifling and, in fact, harmful to my potential as a writer, film-maker or whatever in that general field.

There is some danger in this idea, but danger is part of life and it makes life more exhilarating, does it now? What I’m trying to do is give myself more to work with creatively – I want to be as artistic and fluent in literature (film) as possible and feel this to (sic) an excellent route to such.