Category Archives: blog posting

The “Nudist Notions” Effect

I never actually planned to become a representative of Naturism and Nudism on the internet. It just sort of happened. I am now a writer of naturist fiction. Not all of my books feature nudism. But apparently enough of them do to qualify me to get positive attention from nudists on Twitter and nudist readers looking for good books that also include them.

The books I have written and published that include nudist characters and nudist plot points are;

Superchicken

Recipes for Gingerbread Children

The Baby Werewolf

The Boy… Forever

A Field Guide to Fauns

There are also some stories and mentions of my own history of being a sexual assault victim that encountered naturism and nudism by accident and gradually found psychic healing by reading about nudism, talking about naturism with actual nudists, and late in life trying social nudism for myself in my two books of autobiographical essays, Laughing Blue and Mickey’s Rememberries.

That is really the sum total of nudism in my 20 published books. A Field Guide to Fauns is the only book that is completely about nudism. Most of my other books are comic adventures featuring middle school kids from a small town in Iowa.

And being a writer of naturist fiction, books with naked people in them, is something of a mixed blessing. Being a Young Adult novelist, a genre often confused with “children’s books.” you get scrutinized by all sorts of prudes, activists, and judgmental people that assume kids younger than 18 should never read about or think about people not wearing clothes. I have gotten a couple of blistering reviews that suggest that what I write about, especially involving characters with improper motives toward naked people and nudists, makes me suspect as a potential child molester or corrupter of youth. Evil characters with evil intentions and imperfect characters that make questionable choices obviously means there is something wrong with the author. He can’t be simply writing fiction, right?

And that is the very reason I waited to publish some of these stories until after I had left teaching. I always try to write truth from the heart. But that leaves you naked even when you are not being a nudist or writing about naked people. As a child-victim of a sexual assault I have gone through periods of my life where I blamed myself for what happened to me, feared that I was doomed to become a child predator because so many of them, when caught, are revealed to have been victims themselves, and I even considered suicide to be a possible solution at one point. But I dealt with it by becoming a teacher, actively trying to protect adolescents from potential abusers, counseling them and teaching them. Never touching anyone inappropriately. Often not even allowing myself inappropriate thoughts. In fiction you can actually tell your own truth and facilitate healing even when you are basically telling the world lies to make that be truth.

I also know from some of the more enlightened reviewers that many readers do understand what I am trying to tell them in my stories. I am surprised sometimes at how deeply some of them are touched by the sensitive parts of my work and amused by the parts that are intended to be funny.

I have gotten many looks from WordPress viewers and Google users because I draw naked people and use the word “nudes” as a category and tag. They come looking for erotica or porn, and not finding any, move on.

But, in August, I started getting numerous hits on a nudism article called, “Nudist Notions.” (https://catchafallingstarbook.net/2017/11/08/nudist-notions/) which skyrocketed views as high as 388 in a single day. It became my most-viewed post ever and made August 2021 my top month ever on WordPress. That post even has first place so far today, a month later, with 20 views when last I checked. Of course, all of these thousands of views had no corresponding likes. I wondered about that. Then someone suggested that it might’ve been posted and viewed on Reddit. Or possibly Instagram. I am aware of two former students who read my blogs when posted on Facebook. They are a couple (either married or soon-to-be married, I don’t remember which,) who both got a kick out of me becoming a nudist after I retired and stopped being their teacher. They were both at my retirement party in the classroom, and both have Instagram accounts.

And, who knows? Now that my students apparently know my naked truth, the twin girls who used to tell me about going to nude beaches in Mexico and Texas may actually recognize themselves in the Cobble Sisters, the nudist characters in Recipes for Gingerbread Children, and sue me for writing about them, even though there is very little about the fictional characters that resembles them in any way that is actionable.

In a final note, I finished my novella, Horatio T. Dogg : Super Sleuth last night. It is headed for publication soon. And it doesn’t have a single naked person in it who is not a dog, rat, or chicken.

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Filed under blog posting, humor, novel writing, nudes, Paffooney

Leftovers in January

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You reach a point after a hard month has lingered long where you have to eat the leftovers and accept what is.  I face challenges in the new year at least as large as the challenges of 2017.  When faced with such a situation, I need pie.

So here are some of the things left in my January file for use in this blog.  The only reason they are here is because I haven’t used them yet and the ideas have not been knitted together for any rational purpose.

This will be a crazy quilt blog post.  But crazy quilts keep you just as warm in winter as any other kind.

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My newest Facebook friend is the daughter of my wife’s cousin.   I have only known her as the sweet-faced little smiler at Filipino-American family gatherings who sometimes gets my attention by squirting me in the ear with a water gun.  Her father is from Greece and teaches Math in San Antonio.  Her mother, like my wife, is from the Philippines.  I won’t tell you her real name, but we used to call her “Sweetie” because of her resemblance to the little pink Tweety-bird character from Tiny Toons Adventures.

I have also spent considerable time writing to and for nudists I have connected with through their various websites and on Twitter.  These two lovely works of nude art were shared with me on Twitter.  I have collected a number of nude pictures from Twitter nudists that I can’t use on WordPress because I am still entirely too modest to be the unrestrained naked person that some nudists are.  I can’t really claim to be a complete nudist myself.  But I do have stories to tell about naked people, and I have been working on them diligently.

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Of course, I still miss being a teacher.  I was a teacher of English for 31 years.  I taught reading and writing in English to over 2,000 kids.  I also learned how to stare in Klingon.  It is a useful skill for keeping students in line and keeping them from becoming a disappointment to the empire.  I miss teaching kids, especially talkative kids.  Far fewer people talk to me during a day of retirement than used to talk to me in a single class at school.  Those interactions were precious.

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And several things are just too confusing for my old brain to explain.

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But I do like this picture I found on Facebook of Tom Baker, the 4th Doctor, playing with multiple kittens.  I don’t know why, but it makes me happier.

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Filed under artwork, blog posting, Dr. Who, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, goofy thoughts, humor, nudes

The Inexplicable Explosion

There are good things that happen, and bad things that happen, both happening suddenly and in a very large way.

We tend to refer to that kind of thing as an EXPLOSION!

The biggest and most deadly explosion right now is the viral pushback on Emperor Abbott’s “No masks in school!” imperial edict. Or is it Grand Wizard Abbott of the Republican Empire of Texas? Whatever it is, kids are back in school, in the building, with a rule that no school district is allowed to mandate masks. And inexplicably the number of cases of Delta Covid in unvaccinated students is exploding. Who could have foreseen such a thing?

Of course, there is no suggestion whatsoever that ruling tyrants like Emperor Greg Abbott, or King Ron DeSantis in the Crackpot Kingdom of Florida bear any responsibility for this explosion. No one is suggesting that, since their kids and grandkids, and those of their wealthy friends go to expensive private schools, they would actually like to see a greater deadly outbreak amongst the children of the poor, minorities, and other people that might grow up to vote for Democrats.

But there are other explosions as of yesterday too. My car, coming back from Walmart made an inexplicable “Pop!” followed by coughing sounds and then an engine warning light on the dashboard. That was further followed by engine overheating and a necessary stop for engine oil at the Dollar Store. Miraculously, after the extra oil was put in and the car had two hours to cool, the thing worked normally with no red dashboard lights, or even yellow ones. Of course, in the near future, I will have to take it to a mechanic to be checked (even though I am certain they will find something wrong, and it will be expensive.)

But there has been a good explosion too.

For more than a year now, it has been my goal to get 50 or more views on this blog per day. It has been an uphill haul. I failed to reach that goal, it seems, at least one day of every week. But not these last two weeks.

Last week I topped 100 views every single day. Then I began noticing that I have at least 50 views every morning before I even wake up. And I have hit 200 or more five times this week.

Yesterday was 299 views by 177 visitors and 22 likes.

Why the sudden explosion?

ingI have noticed that my number-one-viewed post was called Nudist Notions. But it can’t be merely because those who are looking for porn clicking on the picture-search nudes. There wouldn’t be twice as many views as viewers if that were true. Besides, those looking for nudes can now basically only find the ones that have been there a long while now. Nothing has changed on that score. And nudists from Twitter have been finding my blog to be nudist friendly for a while now too. And there haven’t been any surges in nudist visitors that I am aware of.

So, the explosion is inexplicable. At least for now.

Maybe the algorithm has changed its mind about me and displayed my page more for two weeks. But that doesn’t ezplain it either, because… well, it’s Mickey’s blog. And Mickey don’t get no random good breaks from this universe. No, not Mickey the Unread.

Well, just in case you see this and want a copy of this month’s free-book promotion, here’s a link to that book which is good from today through midnight Monday

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Filed under angry rant, blog posting, education, foolishness, Paffooney

Can We Be Clear?

Mai Ling uses psionic ninja powers to separate the flowers from the weeds, a thing that is not easy to do.

I suppose that if I were to be insightfully honest for a moment, I would have to admit that I am a failed novelist. If you take “success” as meaning “financial success”, the fact that I only make less than five dollars a month for my writing means I am a failure at it. If you specify that success means my books find readers, then evidence would suggest that my books are mostly ignored. A majority of those who have responded favorably to my work are actually members of the nudist community on Twitter. I admit that I have cultivated that a bit with nudist characters in about a fourth of my books. But that is a result of having experienced fascinating people and situations that I felt I had to write about because I happened to meet, totally by chance, interesting nudists in real life.

I have lost a lot of writing-community followers on Twitter because of my interactions with Twitter nudists. My work gets dismissed on occasion because your standard teacher-turned-writer on Twitter, usually female and usually fundamentalist Christian, doesn’t want to be contaminated by sinful nudist associations. Ah, such a life. But I don’t wish to destroy anyone’s faith in a God who will apparently burn them for an eternity in Hell if they are tempted to frolic with no clothes on. I would rather be blocked by them on Twitter than have them give up on whatever paradise they are pursuing.

But I am basically on the Brad Bird side of the argument about whether or not you can choose to be a hero even if others will see you as a monster. My fiction does not cause demonic possession and probably does not cause spontaneous bouts of joyful nudism either. Even my werewolf story, which was too much for one potential reviewer, does not have actual werewolves in it. Although it does describe some things that really happened to me as a child in a fictionalized, sort-of-truthful way.

So, by those criteria, I judge myself to be a failed writer.

But I am definitely not giving up on writing in despair. Those were never the reasons I wrote novels to begin with.

I write because I have something to say to the world and stories to tell. And I mean to have my say, even if the world is too stone-deaf and stupefied to listen.

I have things to say about living and learning.

I have things to say about finding love, and losing love, and finding it again.

I have things to say about how I think the world works, and why I’m pretty sure I’m completely wrong about all of that. And what I intend to do about it.

To that end, I have started writing a book full of essays like the stuff and garbage and lovely wisdom I write in this goofy little blog. And I shall call it Laughing Blue. Because, you know, nobody is going to read it anyway, and I can call it whatever the heck I want to call it.

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Filed under autobiography, blog posting, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, irony, philosophy

Life as a Humor Blog

Writing, as I have repeatedly said in this blog, is necessary for life to me. I would not still exist today if I couldn’t put words to paper (I mean metaphorically, of course, since I wrote this on my malfunctioning laptop.)

But I don’t mean in any way to imply that it is any kind of “normal human life” to be a blogger. It is, in fact, a rather bizarre and chaotic life where you have to juggle a multitude of wacky, crazy, depressing, unruly, and downright ugly things that happen at random to any and every human being (I was going to say, “living human being.” But the fact is, it happens like that for the dead ones too.) As a blogger, you are trying to take all that chaotic nonsense and organize it into words and paragraphs that makes it all into a reasonably sensible thematic something that people are tempted to actually read. (“Tempted” here probably means lured in to find out what this mass of typing is really all about by the naked fairy-girl that is in the lead illustration.) (You would be surprised at how often my penchant for drawing nudes draws in people looking for porn and gets them to stay and read the story that goes with the picture.)

Technically this is a book blog. It was established for me as an author’s blog by I-Universe Publishing for my traditionally-published novel Catch a Falling Star, which is what this blog is named for. It is supposed to be an effective marketing tool for selling books and getting people interested in finding out more about my books, and about me, and especially about clicking on the ads that appear in this blog-space.

But I am apparently terrible at using it for what it was meant for. There is absolutely no correlation between this book blog and book sales. Through I-Universe I have made about $16,00 (really, sixteen dollars! since 2013, and they haven’t even sent that money to me yet, because the threshold for sending a check in the mail is $25,00,) They have made a lot more money off of selling me marketing services than they ever have off of my award-winning book (Really, again, the Editor’s Choice Award and the Rising Star Award, both together worth precisely diddly-squoot.) My blog itself costs me $98.00 a year, and I have only made back $10,00 on ads revenue. So, being an author is only going to make me a millionaire very, very, very slowly.

But what I do get from this blog is a couple of critical things.

It is a place where my artwork and story-telling skills can see the light of day outside of a middle-school classroom. I learned to fascinate people with my cartoons on a chalkboard and stories that begin with things like, “One time the former President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, was skinny-dipping in the Potomac River while…” (Yes, that one could’ve gotten me fired if kids had told their grandmothers what they were learning in Mr. Beyer’s class when they got home from school, but they laughed so hard that they forgot everything they learned in class.) (Unfortunately, they mostly forgot Math Class and Science Class as well.)

And I get some feedback about how well or how poorly my writing comes across to the reader. (I can get a “LOL” in the comments, or a good “What the hell was that supposed to be about?”) It gives me an idea about what to keep and what to change when I do it all again the next day.

People are actually reading this blog, and my books as well. Yesterday I got 204 views and 21 likes on WordPress and there was only one naked girl in the pictures I used with the blog post. Just today I got a very insightful five-star review on my book Sing Sad Songs. So, I am getting read and being successful as a writer. ($3.75 in royalties from Amazon was paid to me on Friday. So, I could almost claim to be a professional… if I cut down on expenditures quite a bit.)

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Filed under artwork, autobiography, blog posting, humor, novel writing, Paffooney

Opening Windows on the Past

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This particular Iowa trip has me thinking hard about mortality and the cold harsh wind that blows toward us from the future.  My cousin’s only son lost his battle with depression, and his family finally came to terms with the loss.  But the sadness is past.   The responsibilities of the living is what remains.

I was born while Eisenhower was President.  I was alive and aware when Kennedy was assassinated and when men first walked on the moon.  I was teaching in a classroom when the first teacher in space was killed on the exploding space shuttle.  And I was also in the classroom when the twin towers fell on 9-11.  It is an important part of the responsibilities I have for being alive to keep that past alive too.

 

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My mother’s knickknack shelf.

The reason we collect and care about little extraneous things like porcelain eggs, angels, fine blue china plates, and the California Raisins singing I Heard It Through the Grapevine is because those little, otherwise unimportant things connect us to memories of important times and places and people.   We keep old photographs around, many of them black and white, for the same reasons.

 

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The fiction I write is not contemporary.  It is mostly historical fiction.  It is set in a recent past where the Beatles and the Eagles provided the sound track to our lives.  It does not cross the border into the 21st Century.  The part of my writing that is not about the past is science fiction set in the far future, entirely in the universe of my imagination.  It is my duty to connect the past to the future.

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And I share that duty with everyone who is alive.  My great grandparents and grandparents are now gone from this world.  But their horse-and-buggy memories about life on the farm before electric lights and cars… with humorous outhouse stories thrown in for comic relief… are in me too.  I am steeped in the past in so many ways…  And I must not fail to pass that finely brewed essence on to my children and anyone young who will listen.  It is a grave responsibility.  And it is possible to reach the grave without having fulfilled that important purpose.

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In times of great sadness and loss we must think about how life goes on.  There has to be a will to carry on and deliver the past to the future.  Every story-teller carries that burden, whether in large or small packages.  And there is no guarantee that tomorrow will even arrive.  So here is my duty for the day.  One more window has been opened.

 

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Filed under autobiography, battling depression, blog posting, family, healing, humor, insight, inspiration

Friday Funnies… um, Yeah?

I have been trying for a while to develop a weekly blog routine to make thinking up something new and creative for a daily post easier… even simple. Tuesday is novel-work where I share a freshly made chapter of a work in progress.

Saturday is art day where I am supposed to share artwork I have done in a new and interesting way.

Sunday is devotional day… which is weird for an atheist who believes in God. I have a tendency to share things I am devoted to, which is far more than just religion. I have included on this blog day such things I keep sacred as Disney movies, Dr. Seuss, and being a nudist.

And Friday is supposed to be the day to be funny. Cartoons and jokes and satire and things to make you laugh.

The thing is, though I am a cartoonist, I am not that kind of cartoonist. I don’t do gag cartoons. I am more of an ironic twister of tales and tails and puns. My cartoon shared at the start here is not funny at all. Sometimes my humor novels get downright maudlin and sad. I doubt I have ever yet busted someone’s gut with laughter. I would not want to be guilty of murder by cartoon. What do you legally call that? Gag-a-cide? I put in the hyphens to make sure you didn’t think I was talking about killing Lady Gaga.

I have pretty much mastered the art of drawing cartoons. I can do eyes like Walt Kelly (the creator of Pogo) and Harvey Comics‘ noses (like the one in the Hot Stuff Devil picture) and women with huge jugs… of moonshine like Al Capp (the creator of Lil’ Abner… and you knew I meant jugs of Kickapoo Joy Juice, right? Surely you did think…)

Ah, but telling funny jokes is not what I do. Still, I believe I can lay claim to being a humorist based on this blog. I make people smirk a lot when I talk, which I take as visual confirmation that I am funny. Unless people are smirking at me for other reasons? Do I have another daddy longlegs spider dancing on my head because at least two of his long legs are tangled in my hair? Really? For the third time already?

But, regardless, I have reason to believe this post and others like it on Friday qualify for the notion of Friday Funnies. I can make myself smirk, guffaw, and sometimes giggle without looking in a mirror to see the spider. But you are welcome to dispute my funniness in the comments if you prefer it to admitting that I can sometimes make you laugh. If you do, then you will be supporting the arguments of the book reviewer who reviewed my book Mickey’s Rememberries and said, “He could be a great writer if only he were more serious/” I took that as a compliment. Irony, don’t ya know.

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Filed under autobiography, blog posting, cartoons, commentary, goofy thoughts, humor, Paffooney

The Be-Bop Beat of Mickey’s Brain

Truthfully, when I look back at the string of posts in the picket fence of this daily blog, I fail to see the overall map of it in any semblance of pattern or order.  Honestly, I did not set out to be purposefully wacky.

I did, however, set out to be purposefully surreal.  I mean it, I consciously put bizarrely dissimilar things together in an attempt to find parallels and connections  in unlike things because, not only is it funny and surprising, but is a comic act that serves to keep the mind nimble and never numb.  I do think quite a lot.  And I try to see connections between things where others wouldn’t.  For instance, the Coppertone girl with her bare butt and Bullwinkle with his unicycle are both being threatened in a way that is both comic, and taking advantage of their inherent image of innocence.  Neither will lose anything by it.  The girl stands to brown her pale white behind in the sun, while Bullwinkle will probably land on his head and it will make a decent cushion to preserve him because of it’s empty and rubbery qualities.

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Pie makes everything better.  MMMM!  Pie!

I must also admit to a bit of the old telling of stretchers, the misrepresentation of the truth, the loquacious layer-onner of lies.  Not Trumpian lies that land on you like elephants dropped like bombs out of B-52’s.  Instead, fictions that entertain and elucidate.  It is the most likely reason I keep saying connecting words and phrases like “truthfully” and “honestly” and “I mean it”.  Those are words that liars love.

Yes fiction writers like me tell little white lies.

I have now published my novel Recipes for Gingerbread Children.  It is a novel based on real people I have known and loved and listened to.  It is about an old German woman, a survivor of WWII concentration camps, who loves to tell stories to children and bake gingerbread cookies, especially gingerbread men.  It features a pair of teenage nudist girls who believe in going completely naked whenever you are indoors, even if you are in someone else’s house.  It features Nazis, both in flashback and ghostly forms.  It also features fairies from the Hidden Kingdom of Tellosia, a fairy kingdom filled with little three-inch tall magical people living under our very noses.  And it has a werewolf in it, though admittedly a very young one.  It is a comedy with its requisite sad parts, and it is definitely an example of surrealism.  It is also full of lies… err, I mean fiction.

But the real purpose of this supposedly be-bop brain fart in blog-post form is not so much to explain my blog (because how do you explain a blog that goes from Flashbacks and Foobah to telling about Madman Trump to Another novel part… #37 to Centaurs to a book and movie review, to this eccentric and eclectic thing, which probably exists more to make alliteration jokes than anything else in the most musical beat I can bang out?) but to prove that I do often think about thinking and how things fit together and what it all means… and how to write a run-on sentence that adds to the effect rather than simply annoys.  And, yeah, I’m doing that.  And it feels like a good thing to do.

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Filed under blog posting, commentary, foolishness, humor, imagination, metaphor, Paffooney, self portrait, strange and wonderful ideas about life, surrealism

Celebration 1,900

My blog on WordPress, Catch a Falling Star, now has 1,900 followers for the very first time.

You may have noticed that my blog is about surrealist art, fantasy fiction for young adults, and a somewhat strange idea of what humor is all about.

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Treading Water with Swimming Talent

I would like to dwell on yesterday’s topic for a change. Usually when I do a daily blog topic, I use my goldfish-brain swimming ability to totally forget what I wrote about yesterday. Relating one topic to the next is not something I normally do.

To be clear (see that nod to yesterday’s topic?) I had to link lessons and daily topics religiously as a teacher, going through review checklists after warm-ups and discussing prior learning daily before proceeding with new content. So, I’m not UN-intentionally failing to do that here. I am merely trying to recover from a lifetime of ingrained teacher habits.

My purple mouse avatar does actually have two ears.

Yesterday I wrote about not measuring myself by the standards most people use to think about whether or not a writer is successful. I concluded that if you are going to limit that assessment to financial realities or wide readership and critical acclaim, I am a failure. But here are some key points that deserve consideration.

I do have a fan base, even if it is not large. I have been given honorary membership in the group of pro-naturist writers on Twitter even though, as a nudist, I am hardly ever naked myself. I discovered them as I was researching nudism for my book Recipes for Gingerbread Children through the website https://www.clothesfreelife.com/. They discovered my book which only has two naturist characters in it, both of whom try to promote naturism to the other kids in their circle of friends, and liked it enough to review it and include me in their Twitter group. The story is really more about fairy tales and Nazi Germany in World War II than it is about nudists, but they liked it never-the-less.

I have also gathered a Twitter following among other unique groups. The international Twitter fan group that idolizes Tom Hiddleston as Loki regularly fill up my notifications inbox. One Russian member of this group bought and liked Sing Sad Songs, for reasons that were explained, but not in clear enough English for me to understand.

As I spent most of a decade as an ESL Teacher, I probably have been read by more Honduran refugees and Vietnamese immigrants than any of the other writers I know on Twitter and Facebook. And while that is mainly because they were in my High School ESL Class, that does not negate the fact that my writing has a truly international reach.

I am also proud of the fact that I was able to give a copy of the best novel I have written so far, Snow Babies, to the girl I grew up with and named the main character after. She read it, loved it, and recommended it to the school where she works, the school we both graduated from in 1975.

But I don’t want you to take either this post or yesterday’s as some sort of bragging. I humbly submit to you, my accomplishments as a teacher in public schools far outweigh anything I have done as a writer. Still, it is not nothing. And even if I die tomorrow (with my health problems and the current pandemic, a very real possibility) it is enough.

And, hopefully, that covers what I should’ve added yesterday.

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