The Mad, Naked Barber of Saskatchewan – Happy Halloween

Halloween horror story with the mad barber.

It’s here, the holiday that I use to dread above all other days – Halloween. Needless to say, the dread was all about having to dress up in some sort of costume. This year, I simplified things quite a bit. Other than the props of two cordless hair trimmers so that I can be in character as the mad barber of Saskatchewan, I did manage to find a pair (loose definition of pair) of socks for the “Dressing up” part.

The bags of chips (crisps) are ready and waiting at the door for the arrival of all sorts of goblins, ghosts, and all manner of scary (or just plain cute) little beggars who will wait for whatever treats might fall into their pails or bags. Sadly, I will have to ditch my “costume” in order to avoid any unpleasantness that might otherwise come my way. No, that doesn’t mean just removing the socks, it means putting on something more concealing, something to hide my true self behind. This is Saskatchewan and to “scare” the little ones and their escorts with nudity would not be tolerated. At least I have a few more hours left before I have to put on the camouflage of material.

Just Another Day in the Life of a Nude Writer

Twilight on the prairies on my way home.

I was in the city yesterday, selling books at Indigo. The drive into the city took me through a few small snow squalls which dissuaded me from stopping to take any photos. The snow, on and off during the day while I was in the book store with my books, made me glad that I was indoors.

It was a good day selling books. I managed to sell twenty-two books in four hours, a new personal record as my best prior to this event was seventeen which I managed at least five times this past summer. Since it was my last such event of the year, it felt good to finish off on a high note. The total paperback sales since my return to Canada last March has reached 317 copies.  I still have about 300 paperbacks left in my storage area which will give me a good start when I return to doing book-signing events in 2018. I have paid for much of the cost of the books I’ve ordered, as well as paying for all of my gas and lodging costs when I was on a book tour in Alberta this summer. My hope is that sometime in 2018 I will be fully in the black as far as expenses and income is concerned. In the future I won’t make the mistake of ordering so many books at a time.

On the way home, after passing through yet another brief snow squall, the clouds broke to allow a bit of twilight colour to show through. In spite of the fact that it was -2 Celsius, I just had to stop, just off the highway to get this photo. Needless to say, with a brisk breeze blowing, it wasn’t a long stop, just enough time for one photo.

Once at home, it was time for a glass of Malbec wine before a supper of wild goose and sweet potatoes, with baked cauliflower. Another day done and in the books.

Early Morning Nudescape

Early morning

The photo has a “greeting card” feel to it, a photo I took yesterday morning before driving off to the city for some new eye glasses and to pick up a few other things since we were already in the city. The city was covered in a thin layer of snow and it was sunny – a magical kind of late morning and early afternoon.

Book sales are continuing to be relatively strong at Amazon for my two naturist novels with eleven books sold during October. I expect that a few more will be purchased by members of a book-review club that I have joined. While that progresses, I am continuing to switch the ISBNs for my ebooks before tackling the print versions. When all is said and done, I will qualify to have my books listed by a provincial book registry which requires that all books listed are “published” by a provincial book publishing company with the ISBNs for the books registered to that provincial publisher. This is becoming more and more like a real business venture than a retirement hobby.

On a side note, NoNaWriMo is only days away from beginning. While walking in the countryside with my wife this morning (wearing two layers of clothing of course because of the weather – it is much too cold to walk clothing-free outdoors for more than an hour), I think I found how I will begin, and what broad brush strokes the story will follow. I won’t say any more at this time just in case I change my mind.

Another Lull in an Otherwise Hectic Life as a Prairie Naturist

Late autumn garden

Today is quite cool, as the image above likely indicates with temps around six degrees Celsius. Tomorrow we have an advisory for a likely snow storm. This spells the end of autumn and the return to living indoors until we leave for Peru in early December. I am already looking forward to our winter escape.

It’s been a busy week and I am very glad to be home again. Well, at least for the rest of today. I return to the city tomorrow for new glasses, and again on Sunday for a final book-signing event for this year. Then, it’s at home for almost three weeks before we’re off for another week at another family home for baby-sitting duties. Retired life is lived in the fast lane.

I have finally received a new lot of ISBN numbers for my own books and for any other books that I might publish using my publishing business. Now begins the process of reconverting the books I published via CreateSpace ISBN to my own registered ISBN identifiers. I need to take care of this before I publish another book so that all future sales get recorded as legitimate book sales in the Canadian publishing industry. I have registered with two provincial writers’ guilds, as well as the Canadian Authors Association as part of the process.  Lately my books have been getting some good reviews and I want to build on them for a serious run as a professional author.

In recent discussion with two other naturist authors, we have decided to work together to create an online presence as naturist authors, a sort of author co-op. I’m not sure when the site will go live, but I am certain that when it does, it will help not only the three of us as authors, but other naturist authors as well. And of course, it could be THE place to go for those in search of good reading material that is naturist oriented. More about this in future posts.

Naturism and Images – It’s All About the Intention – Part 1

Genital free “safe” image. Obviously nude but not threatening.

There is a continual controversy on Twitter and on other social media sites that purport to deal with naturism, that argue about images that are tagged as naturist where and when the genitals are seen. I know I waver back and forth between allowing full frontal images of myself and “safe” photos where body positioning or judicious cropping takes care of the possibility of offending. But when I do this, I become the problem. At that moment, I stop being authentic and hope that somehow I can be in the collective, well at least a small corner of the collective.

See me? I have a Penis.

Many of the images are blatantly not about naturism, but rather about individuals desperately posting images of themselves with the focus fully on their genitals – “see me, I have a penis … am I not amazing!” Yes, the vast majority of these genital images are posted by men.

Fuck me ….

And there are images of women that scream, “fuck me.” In any of these images, you will not get a glimpse of a real human being vulnerable because of their nudity. There is no intention to present an authentic image of themselves. There is no reaching out to the world to invite you into their world through their images. These genital images are all about clichés, about distracting and hiding the truth of those whose images are being presented.

Both the man and the woman above are hiding their authentic self from the world by projecting another layer of camouflage. Yes, they are naked, but the intention of the images tell us that their nakedness is about their genitals, not about them, confirming our collective belief in clichés. We look, we leer, we are aghast, we respond to the clichés individually and collectively. And in turn, we reinforce the notion that nudity in which the genitals are present, is really all about porn and perversion, that our own naked bodies are somehow to be hidden or else we become lewd, sexual deviants.

I read an article by Melissa Laflamme who had something to say about clichés:

“I ask myself what would happen if the culturally-prescribed and unconscious roles we can fall into suddenly were shattered, replaced by the need to genuinely connect — to not only love each other without packaging and pretence, free and unpossessed — but rather, to survive and to rebuild not only a life, but an authentic way of loving?”

New Yorker January 10, 2017

She had spoken those words in relation to this image which appeared in the January 10th issue of the New Yorker earlier this year. The author of the article, Chris Wiley, tells us:

One of the most beautiful photographs I know of is an image of a woman standing in the doorway of a barn, backlit in a sheer nightgown, peeing on the floorboards beneath her. It was taken in Danville, Virginia, in 1971, by the photographer Emmet Gowin, and the woman in question is his wife, Edith. The picture is so piercingly intimate that I find it difficult even to look at it. This is not because I feel as if I am intruding, or being shown something that I was not meant to see, but simply because it seems to hover too close to the vital force of human connection. It is too poignant, too alive. Rather than merely avoiding clichés—about love and intimacy, artist and muse, public and private­—the picture seems to repel them, as an amulet repels evil spirits. Clichés are prophylactics against the complexity and intensity of direct experience, tools used to distance ourselves from reality, but this photograph brings love near enough that we can feel its hot breath.

The image, for all of its “shock” is far from being pornographic. Why? It comes down to intentions of the photographer and his wife. There is no, “Look at me I have a vagina,” no “Fuck me” message. I won’t claim to know the intentions of either the photographer or his wife, but I know what isn’t the message.

Tilling the soil

In this image, my penis is present. But the message isn’t the same as in the first  “penis” image above. Here the message is simply about being vulnerably honest. I’m not Adonis, I am just some ordinary guy doing some ordinary stuff. And, I just happen to be doing it while nude. There is no intent to lure some unsuspecting woman or man or child into some sort of sexual activity. The intent is to finish the task of tilling.

We need images such as this to reclaim our bodies from the clichés that we have somehow adopted as truths about our human condition.

Self-Doubt, Depression, and Winter Waiting for its Grand Entrance

Is this the last day of warmth outdoors?

I have to admit, that autumn has shifted into its last days of relative warmth. Freezing temperatures overnight, and temperatures refusing to climb above 10 Celsius are projected for the rest of the season which looks to be shortened as winter is racing towards the prairies. We had snow, but it has melted as temperatures soared to 12 Celsius for the past two days.  From this point on, it will be naturism indoors at least until we arrive in Peru sometime in December. Like everyone else in the northern hemisphere, it will all about imagining and remembering until then.

Now that I have returned home from visiting my son and his family, I have a ten-day window for more focused writing, research and writing book reviews, which has become part of my marketing strategy for my books. As part of a different activity, I have gathered a collection of my poetry, both published and unpublished, in hopes that a Canadian publisher that is poetry-friendly, will be interested in publishing an expanded anthology of my poetic works. If not, I will turn to self-publishing the anthology next year.

Added to the future projects will be a significant rewrite of one of my older books in hopes that it becomes “more” interesting for the reading public. And, as part of that rewrite process, I will redo the cover of the book. Fortunately, I have sold enough of the older book to cover all of my printing costs associated with that book. I guess, I just might be a real writer after all – so many self-doubts plague writers.

I blame it on the season. Though I love the colours of autumn, it brings on a seasonal depression. I am harassed by thoughts that I will never have enough time to do even the most basic things in my life. My energy starts to dissipate and I retreat into an almost oppressive inner silence. On the surface, I race to complete various projects such as shoe racks, shelves, and whatever is thought up at what feels like the last minute, tasks that seem to multiply faster than I can complete them. I find it increasingly difficult to focus on any one task and often retreat into doing next to nothing in response. Of course, it’s all in my head. I know that, but …


Self-Doubts as a Naturist – It’s the Norm

The sun is out and it is freezing temperatures.

There was no way that I spent many minutes outdoors this morning while nude. Hopefully that changes this afternoon so that I can enjoy a cup of coffee in the sunshine. Until then, I have time to get down to my writing business, But in the meantime, I have a few thoughts that I want to share about some of the anxieties and issues faced by a naturist who has a spouse who isn’t a naturist.

This morning I had an opportunity to talk to another naturist who is a friend on Twitter. Like myself, this person is struggling with feelings of self-respect in terms of relationship. When a person is a naturist and his or her partner isn’t, there is a natural tension that creeps into the relationship. This isn’t anything new as all relationships struggle with differences between partners that may have nothing to do with nudity. For example, when a partner is a stay-at-home type when one is needing to interact with others and be active, there is tension. However, when it comes to one person being nude or needing nudity, there is an extra element that figures into the mix – a lack of support outside of the relationship.

Society as  whole, and our families, friends, and neighbours aren’t all that supportive of the idea of nudity, especially social nudity. So we struggle on our own with our situation. Self-doubt creeps in and we often deny ourselves of opportunities that present themselves to us. Perhaps if we just tried harder to keep our clothes on, it would get better and we wouldn’t need nudity at all? I’ve been there and tried that with no success. If anything, the feelings of self-betrayal when it comes crashing down – betrayal of self, and of partner, highlight our inability to disown the inner naturist that is clamouring to come out to be recognised and affirmed. We feel guilty about failing with our resolve to be “normal.”

Then, out of desperation to appease self and other, we become naturists only when alone, naturists in hiding in the house or in a private and secluded outdoor setting. For the most part, it is a lonely experience. But it isn’t enough to spend alone time nude. Something inside asks for more and more. We need to have others recognise and accept us as naturist, especially other naturists. So we turn to social media hoping that it will fill in the emptiness that needs filling.

For a while, we find what we are looking for in terms of connecting with others. However, it isn’t long before we realise that in the end, we are simply sitting alone somewhere with a computer, tablet or smart phone talking to others who are similarly alone. Social media is a head space experience, not a whole body experience. We still need the physical presence of others.

Turning back to our partners in our relationships, we try again to “fit in” or have them join us in experiencing naturism. By this time, both parties are well aware that the issue of nudity  is creeping into a front-and-centre position in the relationship. There needs to be resolution. Yet, when there is polarity differences, a win-win resolution becomes less-and-less hopeful. It isn’t because there is a lack of love in the relationship that plays a significant role in the tensions and strains on the relationship. Rather, it is love that makes the whole experience even more painful.

So, once again, the naturist typically retreats and attempts to disavow naturist tendencies in hopes of easing the hurt, the suffering for both the partner and the self.  But, the self can’t be denied. Secrecy and silence enter into the relationship – not a secrecy that could be characterised as cheating, for there isn’t an attempt to find a more compatible partner. It is more of an underground secrecy that is attempting to diffuse tension at the surface level of relationship. Of course, that is doomed to failure.

Then we retreat into an inner fantasy of wishful thinking, creating scenarios where we revel in all those experiences and gatherings we believe lie out there. Relationship becomes harder and harder to be in, especially in a manner that says  with honesty that “I am here, fully present, with free will, and full heart.”

Shaking our heads in disgust and disappointment with ourselves, we retreat from naturism over and over again in an endless cycle of attempts and failures to be like everyone else.

So what then?