Naturism is a wonderful lifestyle, terrific for mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. I truly believe that. However, naturism is no panacea. Spoiler alert: Naturism does not solve all of life’s problems. I think naturism can help solve or at least help tolerate many of life’s problems, but it is a “fiction” to claim that is the answer to everything.
I say this with renewed belief because I currently have an opportunity for growth by taking on a part-time position at a naturist park nearby. There are pros and cons to assess, and personal relationships to evaluate, before making a decision. Mostly I would be working from home, but I would indeed be getting out to the naturist park more often as a result.
In the process of learning about this new side opportunity, I’ve become privy to information about what is happening at the park now, compared to what was happening over the previous years. And what I realize is that no place is safe from intrigue, bad practices, malfeasance, etc. This is certainly the case, as well, at the cultural institution where I have made my (non-naturist) career, which is at present so grossly mismanaged that decades of careful reputation-building are being undone in a few months of hubris and incompetence.
In the Western imagination, the Garden of Eden is a place of idealized nudity, a literal paradise. But the “fiction” of real-life social nudity as a metaphor for paradise is exposed, paradoxically, in naturist fiction, in books as classic as A Princess of Mars and the other novels in the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and as recent as the Mirror Earth series by P. Z. Walker, contributor to this site, or Ages of Aenya by Nick Alimonos. That said, fictional planets such as Barsoom, Mirror Earth, and Aenya do usually show, or at least evoke from the past, the many advantages of social nudity. It’s just that we earthlings, well… our nudity is an essential part of our humanity, but so, apparently, is conflict, violence, and deceit.
I continue to believe that a deeper understanding of our bodies, our relationships, and our societies through nudity is not only possible but desirable, and potentially very advantageous. But we cannot regard naturism as perfection, because it is a human concept, and we humans are not perfect. The best we can do is to cultivate the attainment of that fleeting sense of plenitude that, for many of us, certainly comes most naturally and most easily when naked.
2 thoughts on “A Naturist “Fiction””
Yeah, Will. Sad but true. “Living naked” is a lifestyle that promises among other things so much idyllic freedom, honesty, transparency, and sheer wholesomeness. (And maybe even diet and exercise and the capacity, finally, to get in shape!) And yet in every group of naked-getting folks that I’ve ever been a part of, I’ve seen duplicity, malfeasance, abuse and inappropriate behavior at every level. So we need to be real, and realistic, about that.
I remember a colleague who taught writing talking about one of his students: he said, he doesn’t like his villains enough. But I wonder if, in the situation of “naturist writers” there might not be a tendency to forget 1) that living naked is not necessarily a “Romantic Idyll”, and 2) that one’s heroes are not perfectly heroic and one’s villains are not absolutely villainous: there has to be some facet of the worst of one’s characters, naked or not, that one can admire; and some facet of the best of one’s heroes, naked or not, that can horrify the reader.
I remember a line from A. Conan Doyle: “Every scoundrel was once a beloved child of a mother.” So: no matter the situation, there’s going to be something about it that makes it less than perfect. But for the fiction writer, and thus for the writer of “Naturist Fiction,” that also means that there’s no situation so bad that it is beyond redemption.
And is that not why we write?
It’s a good point, Allen – thanks for your comment. Yes, being a naturist does not necessarily mean that a character is a “good guy.” The villain in my short story “Bugs and Bares” (https://nudescribe.com/bugs-and-bares/) comes to mind as an example of a flawed naturist character. Really the standard is no different for naturist fiction than for any other kind – the characters simply must be interesting and compelling, or the story is not solid. Thanks for that quote from the creator of Sherlock Holmes!