Warm Comforts on Naked Flesh
©2010 Craig J. Sorensen
I suppose the photo that accompanies my thoughts on the subject of nudity is pretty tame, but I’m comfortable with that. Comfortable on many levels.
Let me explain.
This picture was taken of me back during one of my forays into writing before I became dedicated to it a few years back. I was working on a story idea that extends back to my childhood. Call it a fantasy novel, for lack of better, though it has no elements of sorcery or the supernatural. But the ancient world within it is from my mind, so technically it is a fantasy. I was so intent on the writing that day that I didn’t know the picture was being taken. For some reason, when I know I’m being photographed, my face hardens and I don’t like the way I look.
This surprise photo, taken by my wife when I was intent on writing, is comfort number 1.
Back when I was writing that fantasy novel I was disorganized, given to scattered thoughts. I formulated settings and people in my mind and a basic premise and started writing. It was a naïve way to go, but as I look back, it was essential in my creative development. But for the bold way I approached developing my story, I was cautious in how I told them. I was very bound by what I thought might be acceptable socially, and limited how far I might be able to go with my characters. I pushed the envelope by exploring sexuality, but in a careful manner.
To some extent, these limitations and my quiet tendency to struggle with them, may have been why I was fascinated by nudity from a very early age. This took me down a strange road where pushing limits met with innocence; it was to be a collision course.
Back in the early 1970’s, before my voice cracked, I discovered that a friend shared my fascination with nudity. We used to sleep out under the stars in our back yards during the long, pleasant Idaho summers. Often we’d just lie and look at the twinkles in the sky, but it progressed to where we joined forces, casting aside the bonds of our clothes. It started in the back yard, behind the safety of a tall fence, but we could not be restrained, and we began to venture out, running side by side.
I have no idea how many times we did this, but a long string of successful forays made us cocky. We never really thought how hard our feet could hit the ground. But one night it was hard enough that we weren’t the only ones that knew we were running. We were about half way around the outside of back fence the first time we heard my father’s voice. We slowed and stared at each other a couple of times as he called again. We went to the front door. Of course, it was locked. I’m not sure if we thought we could get away with finding some of my clothes and getting dressed, then coming back out. That point was moot.
We had nothing to do but face the music.
I’ll never forget the shocked looks on my parents’ faces as we walked together through the gate into the back yard. My dad said one word: “Naked?” I cannot adequately describe the sound of his voice. My friend and I spent the rest of the night securely in my room and, not too surprisingly, our friendship became limited by external forces. We drifted apart to become not much more than acquaintances as we grew up.
But that warm Idaho night was not the last time I ran bare. Just the last time with him. I ran bare numerous times before streaking was all the rage, and I continued to explore taking chances running nude for years to come. It was a sporadic thing that satisfied something in me. Something ineffable, mysterious, and something I didn’t really fathom; it was as much a compulsion as a desire.
A few years back I began writing daily. I went back to the fantasy novel that had run rampant in my head since I was a boy. I finished it, but I didn’t know what to do with it; it was an oddball and I was a literary unknown. This was an unseen blessing. I decided I needed to write something in a more established genre. I tried my hand at literary stories, and found I don’t have the passion for it. One submission even came back with the hand written note, “you write very well, but this story lacked vitality.” On a chance occurrence, I submitted an erotic story, one of two that I had written during my literary phase, to a fledgling e-magazine and to my surprise, it was instantly accepted. Though this first effort was not published because the magazine folded, I had found where my lamp burned brightest.
Now I had to allow myself to write stories to my inner voice. Even the grubby story that had been accepted, very dark by my standards, had an element of restraint, and not in a delicious, kinky-bondage way. I was channeling my deeper passions into something darker as a bit of distraction, but I didn’t know that then. I look at it now as being a reflection of society, the very violent but sexual story justified its sexuality in that violence.
In a sense, my headlong run into erotica, and being more honest in my voice, was a figurative stripping away of clothes. It wasn’t instantaneous, with all clothes shed in a moment, but was a peeling of layers and it all started with that dark story that later did get published. This is comfort number 2.
I do not feel the urge to physically run nude anymore. Back in the day my physical self, as it were, reached out because my creativity sat in restraints.
Nowadays, I do not accept the mantle of clothes as a personal preference, but as a citizen of our current society. I’m as comfortable nude as clothed, and I remain clothed in deference. This is fine with me, because I’m naked in what I write. Comfort number 3.
The last time I was bare outside was not long before I took to writing in earnest, not long before I set on this journey to cast the more insidious clothing of my creative self aside. I didn’t run, but just got up into a tree coated in summer leaves one night while it was raining. I hadn’t planned to get naked, but it just felt so right. I stood nestled within the tree and listened to the rain fall, and took a few drops that got past the leaves to my skin. Comfort number 4.
It was probably less than a year after that I was deeply into my writing.
Quite frankly, as I reach toward age fifty and my love of good food has its way with my outer form, I think the light of my nude writing is more flattering than my current physical state. Method author that I am, I know that I can and do run whenever I want with my pen. My body can take many forms, and I know that my face won’t contort if someone points a proverbial camera at me.
If there are some shocked faces as I continue to explore this form of nudity, I take comfort that I’ve learned to appreciate them over time.
I write on. Comfort complete.
By day Craig J. Sorensen busies himself in the information technology field, which he has worked in since before the iconic introduction of the IBM PC. He has been writing even longer. A lover of the nudity of words, he has learned to undress himself in many ways over the years. His works can be found online and in print anthologies and journals internationally. His focus has recently turned from short stories to novel length works, including a book based on his experiences in a Military Intelligence unit in West Germany around 1980.
Sorensen lives in south-central Pennsylvania with his supportive and talented family.
To find out more, check his blog at just-craig.blogspot.com