Writing To Uncover the Authentic Human

Risking outside of one’s comfort zone in one’s life and as a writer.

Every writer is pulled into writing, often not even knowing what is going to be written. I don’t even know if one chooses to be a writer. In my case, it just happened when I was young. I was fascinated by words and was reading before I got to school. By the time I finished high school I had published a few poems and essays in an Ottawa area journal. I was surprised each time I had completed a poem or editorial-essay. “Did I really write that?” Now, fifty years later, what emerges still surprises me.

Now, I don’t want to pretend that it is “easy” to write. You’d think that after more than fifty years of writing, it would be a cake-walk. However, the truth is, that it is often painful. My wife wonders why I can’t just dedicated amount of hours during the day, and so many days a week to the craft. Well, I’ve tried it – to schedule myself to creating with words only to find that my mind goes blank. The ideas that were swirling around while I was doing something else that I had scheduled simply vanished. It finally dawned on me that I wasn’t really in control, that something else was at work here. And, that something only seemed to appear when I finally relaxed and gave up the notion of being in control. For me to feel relaxed typically means I am in a situation where my clothing, like my obligations to others, are set aside.

Naturist writing in progress

Now, writing while the clothing is discarded neatly (or not), and the distractions and interruptions by the presence of others are blocked out, doesn’t mean that what is written is “naturist” fiction or non-fiction.  It just means that I am naked when writing. All writing, good or bad, exposes the writer behind the words.

Writing naturist fiction, adds a different level of vulnerability for a writer, especially one that has a literary presence that is respectable from the normal world viewpoint. For example, I have written poetry that has been published with good public response. However, writing naturist poetry has challenged my readers, especially when those poems were accompanied by a photo, regardless of the “non-sexual” nature of the photos. Even with the removal of the images, the words used leave no doubt about the inherent lack of clothing in the poems, which in turn creates difficulty for some to “hear” the essence of the poetry.

So writing naturist fiction becomes a challenge to me as a writer. Just as I needed to stop often as I ascended the trail to Humantay Lake in Peru at 4200 metres, to catch my breath and slow down my racing heart, so I need to stop often and question myself – What is my purpose? Why am I writing with characters unclothed? What do I lose in terms of respect as an author? The answers change as I make this journey. At this point of my life and writing career, it becomes more about the messages, and less about me. It becomes more about honesty about the essence of who we are as humans.

Pachamama and Pachatata – Earth Mother and Earth Father

As I travel around the world in my retirement, I am amazed at how our history as humans draw us back into this essence, an existence that is raw, honest, and naked such as with the Venus of Chanapata I recently saw in Cusco, Peru. As I stood beside Humantay Lake, a Quechua guide explained to my wife and I about Pachamama and Pachatata – Earth Mother and Earth Father. This god and goddess are always portrayed as naked and depict the root source of who we are as humans. And it is this, which I hope my writing will be able to portray – what it is to be authentically human. In all of the representations, what is most amazing is the fact that our roots as human are all portrayed in our natural, naked state of being.

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