The Reader as a Protagonist in Naturist Fiction

I have finally returned to working on the third novel of the René Beauchemin series, not quite restarting from scratch, but close enough so that what will emerge will be drastically different than what had appeared in my first several drafts. I am hopeful that by toning down the role of Celtic gods and goddesses, the result will be more enjoyable for a larger reading population. Naturally, I won’t be removing any of the “naturist” aspects of the story, for they are too important for the purposes of linking this third story to the first two stories in the series. To the left, you see the statuette of Lugh who made an appearance in the second book of the series, and who returns again in the third volume.  Also making a reappearance in the third book is Brighid, seen here on the right, who is also known as Brigantia and Brigit. Of course, the main characters of René, Angela, Fred, Jacques, and many of the secondary characters of book two continue to have important roles to play

In the first two books, psychology and meditation played important roles in the lives of the characters who, like most of us mortal humans, struggled to understand who they are. Since Jungian psychology has a deep connection to mythology, it only seemed natural to me to bring some mythology into the stories.  As a writer, I find it important to use as many approaches to character development as I can. Since my characters are naturists, it is important that not only their bodies are clothing free, but their minds should undergo the process of becoming more authentic beings, hiding less and less of who they are as humans. And this is where I use a depth psychology understanding of how a human becomes more and more conscious of themselves and others.

One of the key concepts of Jungian psychology is called “individuation,” which basically means that a human is engaged in a life-long process of becoming the person they are meant to be. I began the series of books with the idea that individuation was basically a pilgrimage of self discovery. And so, it comes as no surprise that my work has more than a passing reference to pilgrimages. In the process of individuation, one peels off the distracting layers of camouflage to expose the core self. What gets exposed isn’t a perfect, nice, and shiny soul. Rather, one is laid bare with warts, idiosyncrasies, and wrinkles unable to remain hidden. The task is to learn to accept the truth of who one is in the process.

For me, as a writer of naturist fiction, this is the challenge I set for my protagonists, a challenge that I hope readers will come to realise is one that is meant for them as well. For, when all is finally said and done, you are also a protagonist in every story you read. Now, it’s time to return to the story that is waiting for me.

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