Nudity. A time, a place, and often a season. Our world doesn’t’ see it that way. Nudity is embroiled in a collective conflict with the nude human body. Yes, it is the natural state of being from a biological point of view. However in the collective of humanity for the past few thousand years, for the most part nudity has been negatively banished to the sidelines as aberrant behaviour.
As much as we, and I use the collective we to include naturists, nudists, and those who value nudity in various places, times and seasons. It isn’t a distinction of solo versus social nudity as that is a discussion which yields little clarification and which creates an us versus them division. I have little to no use for purists who wear blinders. The world doesn’t need any more fundamentalists.
Okay, I am getting a bit heated and need to tone it down a bit. So what has this to do with naturist fiction? To answer my own question, it has everything to do with naturist fiction. When anyone sits down to write [sometimes I stand while writing], that person’s conscious intentions are often shadowed by the unconscious [shadow] aspects of the author. When I sit to write any story, I have no real plan. The story emerges as it will. Yes, I do the writing with many of my words, scenes, and complications controlled by my conscious intention. However, at times, my shadow [and shades of the collective unconscious] finds a way to add to the story.
What appears is often a surprise to the writer. Where did that come from? Why did I write those words? An example of this, a story I wrote a few years ago which was never published, contains a scene that was very challenging to me. It was cloaked in some form of darkness, physical and psychological darkness. I set aside that novel and wrote Aliens Among Us in its stead. It was just too uncomfortable for me.
Then, the characters Bruce and Meaghan wouldn’t leave me alone. I reapproached that story a few times without getting any satisfaction. Then, in the past few months, I returned and started from the beginning, choosing a new setting, a new story. It was going to be a light story that would entertain, one where I would use my knowledge of the world of education to tell the story. There are more than enough conflicts between teachers and students, teachers and teachers, and instructors and administration to fill many stories.
Yet, somehow, the original scenes of gods and goddesses found a way to enter the story. The story morphed into a darker story of conflict with nudity. That’s all I want to say about the story for now. Paul is going through the first draft before I turn to the serious work of taming the story for publication. What I can tell you is that the story highlights the conflict between natural nudity and fundamentalist thinking of those who consciously and unconsciously oppose nudity.
So, what is an author to do? Self-censor to avoid the growing fundamentalist opposition to nudity? I came across an article written about a British painter, Keith Vaughn who sold nude paintings for high prices during the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. His paintings avoided exposing male genitals and faces. He knew that male genitals were taboo and would only cause him pain rather than profit. By banishing nudity to the abstract underworld, painted nudity was tolerated. After all, he wanted to paint, likely needed to paint.
As a writer, do I self-censor to make my work more acceptable? Keep it simple, don’t go too deep into the psyche, make people smile, avoid unnecessary backlash. These statements offer good advice. And unsurprisingly, the results sell well, as Keith Vaughn found out. Well, due to my background in depth psychology, I find myself trusting the voice that emerges from beneath my level of ego consciousness. I write what I must, even if it means fewer sales. It is just me being authentically me.