Category Archives: nudes

Ich Bin Jetzt ein Naturist

The actual card is inside this plastic case. I thought it might be a bad idea to show my membership number and everything.

Yes, my membership card for the AANR arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon. AANR is the American Association for Nude Recreation. My membership is for two years in the South West Region.

But before you immediately unfollow me for my blazing stupidity, let me explain a bit why this nonsense is actually a good thing.

You see, I have had a very long road of avoiding becoming a real nudist. A former girlfriend introduced me to the whole idea of nudism back in the 1980’s. But, I was terrified of being naked in front of other people, mostly because as a victim of a sexual assault as a child, I had traumatic memories about nakedness, but also because my parents and grandparents had taught me to be ashamed of showing off my nakedness to anyone outside the family. And also because I was a middle-school teacher at the time and parents doubt your abilities to keep their children safe if they know you like to prance around outdoors naked.

But I find I have a certain need for nakedness in my life. It is not a sexual thing. Rather it is a sensual thing. And surprisingly, God made us to be chemically dependent on being naked at least for a portion of our lives. Going without sunlight deprives you of enough vitamin D to cause serious depression, self hatred, and even thoughts of self harm. And oxytocin is generated in the pituitary gland in response to being naked among like-minded others. It’s the chemical that makes Scotsmen more fertile than other men if they don’t wear underwear under their kilts. Now, with diabetes, arthritis, and psoriasis plaguing my old flesh, I find that being nude helps immensely. Naked under the sun dries and cools the skin to fight psoriasis plaques, balances my blood sugar quicker, and warms my aching joints.

And I think most people from childhood onwards experience a longing for the innocent freedom of being without the restraints of clothing. I admit to being more than a little obsessed with childish nudity as displayed in many of my artworks. But that does not in itself make me a pervert or a pederast. It is not a sexualized obsession. To be honest, naked children are sexually kinda icky. They don’t engender feelings of arousal, but rather an urge to parentally protect and watch over them, keeping them safe from the demons that ruined my own childhood.

You actually gain confidence and self-control by practicing social nudity with other nudists. This is something I had long suspected was true, but didn’t actually learn until I went for a day to the Bluebonnet Nudist Park North of Dallas.

And it may well be that having the membership card and using that to legitimize the stories I write about nudists and nudism is the only benefit I will get from the membership. I have a desire to go camping in a tent with other nudists, or participate in a nude bike ride in California or New Orleans. But my health keeps me from doing those things totally on my own. And my family members think I am crazy and want nothing to do with going along to help with those plans.

So, I am left being a nudist mostly by myself, and mostly for reasons of writing humorous stories about it.

But now that I finally have an official membership card, I can truthfully say, “I have now lost my long-running battle to not become nudist. Mickey now officially is one. On paper at least.

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Mickey the Decider

Yes, I know, you expect this title to be a joke. When Mickey says “decider,” he must mean he takes cider out of things. As in, “Mickey will decider those bottles of apple cider.” Well, hey, that is a pretty good joke in terms of what Mickey finds humorous in his crazy little super-corny brain. But this essay is about being decisive. You know, that quality about being able to make a decision. Preferably not a horrible decision. But a decision never-the-less.

I have made some pretty firm decisions recently. Hopefully good ones.

For one thing, I have decided I am going to make the trip to Iowa this summer… even if I have to drive the whole seven hundred miles myself… by myself. The rest of the family has jobs to worry about, car-insurance mandates to follow, and other plans. But I haven’t been home in over two years. The pandemic has taken its toll on me, and I have decided not to yield anything more to it. I wasn’t there for Dad’s funeral. I will be there to visit his gravestone and talk to him again.

Another recent good decision was to get fully vaccinated so that I could contemplate doing that very thing. Two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and protection for my diabetic heart and lungs. I can’t take regular flu vaccine due to complications, but I am not an anti-vaxer. Mickey has beaten Covid.

I have also decided that I will become a member of the AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation,) Yes, Mickey has decided 64 years of trying to resist becoming a nudist is at an end. I have been in the closet about having a naturist’s heart for too long. It’s time to come out of the closet. Of course it may never again mean getting my old carcass out to a nudist park or a nude bike ride. Those things are too far away for the most part, and I am not in good health. But Mickey has decided to admit what other people have known all along. Mickey is a nudist. And it will lend some credibility to my novels about being a nudist.

It is good to be decisive, even if it makes Mickey sound a bit unsound of mind. Make up your mind, follow your plan, and be a decider. But, remember, those bottles of apple cider are not good for your diabetes. The doctor said, “No fruit juice ever again,” didn’t he? You better decide to listen, Mickey.

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Truthfully…

Truthfully… for a fiction writer, a humorist, a former school teacher of junior-high-aged kids, telling the truth is hard.  But in this post I intend to try it, and I will see if I can stand the castor-oil flavor of it on my tongue.

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  • The simple truth is, I rarely tell the unvarnished truth.  And I firmly believe I am not alone in this.
  • Yesterday I battled pirates.  (While this is not literally true, it is metaphorically true.)  They were the scurvy scum o’ the Bank-o’-Merricka Pirates who are suing me for over ten thousand dollars despite my efforts of the last two years to settle 40 thousand dollars worth of credit card debt.
  • I hired a lawyer, but in spite of what he told me, I expect to lose the lawsuit and be wiped out financially.  I also believe Donald Trump will win as President.
  • I am a pessimist.  And it helps me through life.  I am always prepared for the worst, and I can only be surprised by happy and pleasant surprises.
  • My son in the Marines has developed an interest in survivalist gear and chaos-contingency plans.  We are now apparently preparing for the coming zombie apocalypse.
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  • I like to draw nudes.  I have drawn them from real-life models who were paid for their participation.  But no bad things happened.  It was all done with professional integrity even though I am an amateur artist.  Chaperones were a part of every session.
  • In high school I identified as a Republican like my father.  In college I became a Democrat (Thanks, Richard Nixon) and voted for Jimmy Carter.  I argued with my father for eight years of Ronald Reagan and four years of George H.W. Bush.
  • My father has now voted for Barack Obama twice and will vote for Hillary this fall if he is still able.  We spent most of our conversations this summer exchanging “Can you believe its?” about Donald Trump.
  • Blue Dawn
  • I have been collecting pictures of sunrises for three years now.  I stole the idea from my childhood friend who now lives in Florida and takes beautiful ocean sunrise pictures over the Atlantic.  But I do it because I know I don’t have many more sunrises to go.  I have six incurable diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, and COPD.  I could go “BOOM! …dead” at any given moment.  I believe in savoring it while I have it.
  • I was sexually assaulted when I was ten years old.  I can only tell you this particular truth because the man who assaulted me and inflicted physical and emotional pain on me is now dead.  It is liberating to be able to say that.  But I regret forty years’ worth of treating it is a terrible secret that I could never tell anyone.
  • Telling that last truth made me cry.  Now you know why telling the truth is not easy.
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  • I really do love and admire all things having to do with Disney.  And when I was young, I really did want to find a picture of Annette naked.  There was no internet back then.  That quest helped me learn to draw the human form.  I know how bad that sounds… but, hey, I was a normal boy in many ways.  And I don’t draw her naked any more.
  • Finally, I have to say… in all honesty… I don’t know for sure that everything I have told you today is absolutely true.  Truth is a perception, even an opinion.  And I may be wrong about the facts as I know them.  The human mind works in mysterious ways.  I sometimes think I may simply be bedbug crazy.
  • (P.S.) Bedbugs are insects with very limited intelligence.  They cannot, in fact, be crazy or insane.  Their little brains are not complicated enough for that.  But it is a metaphor, and metaphors can be more truthful than literal statements.

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An Ordinary Mike

Along about 1965, Bobby and me skinny-dipping in Avery’s Creek.

Yes, it is just not possible to write an exemplary daily essay every single day. Some days you just have to be ordinary. Today is probably gonna be one of those days.

You see, in my head I have always been Michael. My parents, grandparents, and siblings always called me that.

When I was drawing and telling stories, well, that part of me I always knew was Mickey. I was the only one who ever called me that.

But my Uncles and cousins and classmates and teachers, usually called me Mike. And that was confusing because when I first started school, there were three Mikes in my class of nine kids. Mike S. and Mike M. and I was Mike B. And when I was nine, there was another Mike B. in the grade right ahead of me (he was ten when I was nine.) But Mike S. and Mike M. had moved to other schools in the county then. So I was Mike in the classroom, and he was “the Other Mike.” Miss M had both third and fourth grade in the same small-town school so she had to manage two Mikes in one room. But both of us were Ordinary Mikes.

An Ordinary Mike in the 1960s went skinny-dipping at least three times in their early childhood. (Well, that was me. I only actually saw the Other Mike naked at the Iowa River once, though his little brother Barry said they went to the river a few times.)

And an Ordinary Mike was shy around girls. Even tomboy girls who would say yes if you asked them to go skinny dipping because they felt they were just one of the guys. An Ordinary Mike never dared to ask that, though Joel and Randy said that Lulu Baerinfeld went skinny-dipping with them one time. But Ordinary Mikes were always just wise enough to realize they were lying.

Ordinary Mikes sometimes got a “C” on their report card in Math, not because they were dumb and didn’t get it, but because they didn’t do some of the homework because they didn’t want their dumb friends to think they were too Brainiac- smart (Brainiac was a villain in Superman comics.)

But both Ordinary Mikes, me and the Other Mike, were good at Science, getting “A’s” on their report cards. We both vowed to each other that one day we would both become astronauts and walk on the Moon, or maybe Mars. But, as far as I know, neither of us managed to make that dream come true.

So, a writer like me can’t always be extraordinary. In fact, I am often quite ordinary. As I have basically proven, I was and am… Ordinary Mike.

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Why My Kids Are Always Embarrassed

Yes, I admit it. I am a goofy old coot and an embarrassment to my children.

That’s my role in life now. Eye rolls abound when I am around.

There are several reasons why, which I intend to list here in detail in order to embarrass my children further. But it basically boils down to the fact that I am a writer, and though I write mostly fiction, another way of saying I lie a lot, a real writer tends to reveal more of the naked truth about himself than a child can stand.

Who wants to see their father naked? Especially when he is old… wrinkled, spotty, and mostly fish-belly white.

Speaking of nakedness, one of the things that my children are most embarrassed about is the fact that I know a lot about nudists and naturists, in fact, I know many real nudists, and I have been nude in at least one social situation with other naked nudists. And, even worse, I admit it in writing where my children and their friends can see it. Of course, none of them read this blog anymore for that reason.

I have written novels where there are nudist characters based on some of the real nudists I have known. The novels with nudist characters in them so far are, Recipes for Gingerbread Children, The Baby Werewolf, Superchicken, The Boy… Forever, and A Field Guide to Fauns. And these novels might not embarrass them so much if they read them to discover that the novels have something to say that really isn’t about their father being a crazy naked coot. But they won’t read them because I am embarrassing to them.

And there is the verified fact that I am something of a conspiracy theorist. I firmly believe that the actor/theater owner William Shakespeare only offered his name to the real writer of Shakespeare’s plays and poetry, the 17th Earl of Oxford, Edward DeVere. There is actual evidence that is so, though it was a secret that DeVere took to his pauper’s grave after spending away his entire family estates and fortune. A pauper’s grave that no interested scholar can find the location of to this very day, although maybe he’s buried in the same place of honor as the actor/theater owner, as there are cryptic clues to that as well.

I also believe that Dwight Eisenhower met with alien civilizations in the 1950s and the Roswell Incident was a real crash of more than one spacecraft from other star systems. There exist real deathbed confessions that confirm those details, and the government has been covering up the facts for decades.

The conspiracy-theory skills I have as a crazy, embarrassing coot have resulted in books like Catch a Falling Star, Stardusters and Space Lizards, and the Bicycle-Wheel Genius.

And lastly, I was a school teacher in middle schools and high schools for thirty-one years, which means I can create kid-characters in fiction that are very realistic and have a good-but-comic qualities that make readers generally like my stories.

So, my children are probably right to be seriously embarrassed by my very existence. Of course, I, like all old coots registered with the Crazy, Embarrassing Coots of America, the CECA, am totally immune to being embarrassed by the embarrassment of my children.

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My Bookish Journey (Part VI)

Once you become a published author, the next step is truly humbling. You have to become conversant in the language of Bookish. It is the language of marketing, the language of book promotion, the inexhaustible lexicon of bullish book-hawking.

This blog, Catch a Falling Star, was one of the first steps in that process. The I-Universe Marketing Specialist set it up for me and guided me through the first six months of writing an author’s blog. Still, it was mostly a matter of teaching myself how to blog. The marketing department of I-Universe Publishing also put me in touch with an author’s group on Facebook who would eventually become PDMI Publishing, the publisher that Snow Babies would eventually kill. I learned a lot about both marketing and the realities of publishing from that group, most of whom I am still in touch with on Facebook in spite of Facebook’s transition into the recruitment arm of the MAGA Fascist Armada.

I-Universe was also responsible for starting me on Twitter. Hoo-Boy! Twitter is a different universe than I live in. At the outset all I did with Twitter is re-post my blog entries. I had no followers at all… well, besides what I believe were catfish, spammers, and trolls. Between 2013 and 2017 I believe I only surfed on the rough white-caps of Twitter a total of two times.

But I reached seven books published and hadn’t sold any at all when I came to the conclusion that I had to actually tweet with the twit-wits on Twitter.

Of those first seven books, three of them had nudist characters in them. Primarily the Cobble Sisters, based on the combination of my twin cousins who were not nudists, a set of twins I knew from Iowa who were not my cousins and also not nudists, and twin blond girls I taught in Texas who spent time talking about visiting nude beaches and trying to embarrass me by inviting me to visit the one in Austin at Lake Travis known as Hippie Hollow. The books were Superchicken, Recipes for Gingerbread Children, and The Baby Werewolf. My connection to nudism came through a former girlfriend who worked with me in school and whose sister and brother-in-law lived in the clothing-optional apartment complex in Austin.

So, when I started Tweeting like a songbird with a tin ear for music, I attracted some really odd followers. Other writers, sure. But gay Russians living in England? Tom Hiddleston’s fan club? People who desperately need to talk about the Prophecies of Thoth? They all responded to free-book promotions. And they not only followed me, but engaged with me in ways that appeared in the Twitter notifications. And then came the Twitter nudists.

Now, I admit that I took the foolish step of taking a blogging assignment from a nudist website, promising to visit a nudist park in Texas and write about my impressions of being a first-time nudist. I struggled with my sense of self-worth and body image and finally went to Bluebonnet Nudist Park in Alvord, Texas. I wrote the post and advertised my novels with the nudist website.

And then, Ted Bun, a naturist novelist from England, but running a nudist bed and breakfast in France, made me a member of his nudist-writer group on Twitter. I became connected to nudists enough to write an actual nudist novel, just to see if I could do it.

Nudists not only follow me on Twitter now, but they follow me here on WordPress too.

So, my writer’s Bookish Journey has taken some weird turns, but I am beginning to sell books and getting good reviews from readers. Apparently the secret to selling books is to get completely naked amongst other naked people. I still can’t claim to know anything at all about marketing, though. I am seriously illiterate in the whole Bookish language.

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Doing Diddly-Squoot

Yes…

It means I am doing nothing.

And I am working really hard at it.

I do have a work in progress.

I have added to it once in the last week.

I think the expression, Iowegian as it is, comes from the expression “doing squat” which means “doing nothing at all” combined with “diddling around”, the non-sexual meaning of which is “dithering or only working in an ineffective way.”

I humbly confess that I am not that great of a researcher when it comes to linguistic facts and word origins.

I am much better at making things up and creating my own portmanteau words.

But I do have a very good ear for how people actually talk. Especially when it comes to Iowegian, Texican, Spanglish, and Educational Jargon-Gibberish. Counting English and Tourist-German, I speak six languages.

I also humbly confess that I make big mistakes. I have been working hard for a week on editing published books because of how an overreaction to one small inappropriate detail nearly destroyed one of my best books and now I have to deal with the impression some readers have that I write inappropriate stuff all the time.

Yes, I definitely erred…

I also realized I assume everybody accepts nudity as easily as I do.

They definitely don’t.

But naked is funny. And that is not a point about my writing that I am willing to concede.

Doing diddly-squoot can also result in really weird stuff like this Christmas-card composite of my artwork and Vincent Price’s 1967 Christmas tree.

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My Secret Faun

Radasha is his name.

I was a child who grew to maturity holding a secret horror… a truly terrible secret, in my creative little brain. I was sexually tortured when I was ten. I know now that it sounds like I should blame my torturer for everything, that I should have reported him to the authorities to keep him from ever doing that to anybody else. But my mental defense system took over in ways that prevented me from ever seeking justice. Or what justice too long delayed becomes, simple revenge.

But I could never be that seeker of revenge. I had a Sunday-school faith that had to be strictly followed. First of all, although the thing that happened was never truly gone from me, my creatively evil little mind forced me to forget. Or at least bury the knowledge so deeply within that I could not answer the school guidance counselor in high school when he asked, “Michael, what is it that is causing this behavior, this debilitating fear?” I could only answer that I thought I might be going crazy. He told me that he could help if it was about something like having sexual feelings toward another boy. He was more progressive than most Iowans. But, at the time, I didn’t understand what he was suggesting. I wouldn’t really understand homosexuality as a thing until I was almost out of high school, so when we had that talk, and I was clueless at sixteen, and then he talked about it with my best friend Byron, he knew that it was not about that.

The coach had seen the burn scars on my lower back and legs during P. E. But he only saw scars. I suggested to him that it was probably from playing with the large dog next door. He had big paws and untrimmed claws. And he believed me because he knew my parents, and he knew that they would never do anything like that. And he could tell that I was being truthful when I said I really didn’t know for sure how those scars had gotten there. I didn’t realize for sure how the scars happened until my more-mature twenty-two-year-old evil little brain decided I was burning myself against the heating grate to make sexual feelings and urges go away.

Radasha

I was seriously beginning to hate myself, be depressed without knowing why, and nearly killing myself at seventeen. All because of an event in my life that I really wasn’t able to admit to myself really happened.

Then, one snowy night in February of 1974, Radasha came tapping at my window.

I realize now that it had to have been a dream, but I knew even then that it couldn’t have been reality.

He was a black-haired, brown-eyed boy with goat horns on his forehead and a deer’s tail on his behind. He was completely naked, sitting on his haunches in the piling snow on the porch roof outside my bedroom window. He was grinning at me. No larger than my younger brother who was sound asleep in his bottom bunk in the room we shared. He indicated that I needed to open the window and let him in.

I should’ve realized that it was a dream then, because in real life I could not have opened the window like I did because of the winter storm-windows dad had put up before the first snowfall in October. But the scene played out according to dream logic.

“Aren’t you cold like that? You must be freezing your peeper off if you are outside naked like that.”

“Naw, I’m not real, Sharpie. I don’t feel cold because I’m a faun. I’m mythological.”

“Oh. then why did I have to let you in?”

“I’m Radasha. I am a part of you. You can’t keep me out. I should really be inside you instead of out here talking to you.”

“What? Are you my heart or something? Maybe one of my kidneys?”

“More like your love-life. I’m a part of you that shouldn’t’ve ever been detached. You need me to live a normal, healthy life.”

“Should I even be talking to you? What if my little brother wakes up and sees you?”

“Nobody can ever see me but you. I was born in your brain. I’m here because you need me back in your life.”

So, from that moment on I was a teenager with an invisible playmate. He reminded me of all the things I had learned about the birds and the bees from Reverend Aiken, the Methodist minister. We talked about what sex was, and the role it had to play in a normal human life. We talked about what to do about girls and how I felt about them. Without consciously realizing it, I stopped burning myself.

His advice got me slapped by a girl I thought I liked. He also helped me avoid three different girls that were sorta chasing me, at least in my evil little brain. In college he would get me into and out of trouble with girls I both wanted to chase and were chasing me when I didn’t want to be caught.

When I had the assignment to create a life-sized nude portrait for anatomy drawing class, he picked out the girl he wanted me to ask to pose for it, and almost goaded me into asking her. I, of course, ended up drawing my sister with all her clothes on. And I didn’t fail the assignment. He also got me to sign up to pose for the art class in the nude. But fortunately I got the flu the week I was suppose to sit in front of all those female art students in my birthday suit… the best ten-dollar modeling fee I never collected.

My invisible faun was a kind of self-therapy, I guess. He brought the sensual side of me back to life. He healed me and made me more whole.

I seriously thought I had a lifelong invisible friend. But once I started telling other people, real people, about the sexual assault, he kinda faded away.

I have now probably confessed something that makes me clinically schizophrenic, or technically crazy. But Ra is still real to me in so many ways. I used his story as part of my book, A Field Guide to Fauns. And for me he was an imaginative and necessary cure for a very real problem.

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Why I Must Be a Spiritual Nudist

I do now admit to being a nudist… or naturist if you prefer. To me that means, if given a choice, I would prefer to be naked all the time. Especially in a natural setting outdoors. I have probably spent more time in the company of naked people than you have, even though I was never myself nude in a social setting until my one and only visit to the Bluebonnet Naturist Park in Alvord, Texas. I was a visitor at the clothing-optional apartment complex at Manor Road in Austin a number of times in the 1980s when my girlfriend’s sister was a resident there. They asked me to disrobe a couple of times, but, as a visitor, I exercised my option. And I corresponded with Floridian nudists by letter, email, and subscriptions to nudist publications through the 1990s.

“Nature Walk”

But it is very nearly an ironic notion that I am literally a nudist. My wife is opposed to nakedness for religious reasons. Although members of my family were fine with skinny-dipping in our pool until it developed fatal foundation cracks, we no longer tolerate nudity at home, except in the shower and the bedroom behind closed doors. And being naked outdoors, though it always used to be good for my health, now is a problem with my increased susceptibility to the return of skin cancer, and the fact that my psoriasis sores, in addition to being ghastly to look at, get dry, cracked, and bloody with a chance of infection far easier than they ever used to. And I have more of them.

If I am being honest, I am not really a literal nudist anymore. I don’t get naked much at all anymore. I do correspond via Twitter with other nudists, especially other nudist authors and cartoonists. But that has its down sides too. Twitter followers who are evangelical Christians un-follow me instantly when they actually see a nudist-friendly post or comment from me. Nudists are apparently among the vast multitudes of sinners destined for Hell. And being part of the Twitter-nudist community also seems to attract unwanted attention from those who love pornography, as well as those who wish to exploit the “prurient interests” of others (which, in my humble experience, is not the interests of real nudists.)

So…

I have always found it challenging to be an actual nudist. I do the best I can, but, as I have repeatedly written in other posts about the subject, I was sexually assaulted by an older boy when I was ten. I spent years overcoming an aversion to ever being seen naked by others.

That aversion prevented me from embracing a positive body image of myself for the rest of my childhood and well into my young adulthood. I was deprived of the joys of skinny-dipping in the Iowa River and being comfortable in my own skin. That was a definite drawback when it came to showers in school after P.E. Class, or showers after football, basketball, or track practice. I was robbed of my sense of naked childhood innocence. I felt like I had a terrible secret to keep, and I was secretly a monster for having naked feelings.

So, in order to be more like a valid, real person, Mickey, as a nudist, has committed himself to being a Spiritual Nudist. A Spiritual Nudist doesn’t hide anything by wearing clothing. A Spiritual Nudist is honest, and tells the naked truth. And a Spiritual Nudist doesn’t have to be actually naked to be Spiritually nude.

I may not now fit the definition of an actual, literal nudist anymore. But I can think like a nudist, tell nudist stories, and draw naked people (in a non-pornographic way). And like a real nudist, I no longer worry about what other people think. The naked truth is still the truth. And maybe even more-so than when people wear their clothes as if it were a disguise.

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How to Make a Mickey

Milt Morgan is me as a boy

It is a fairly difficult thing to face a blank page every single day. I usually win in the battle to write something every day. But not always. Some days it is just too hard. Some days I am not well enough to make my stupid old brain spin up a spider-web of words. Some days the words are just Teufelsschei├če (poop coming out of the Devil in German).

But staring at a blank page today got me thinking about the process again, how the words come, where they come from, and why.

I just finished the most successful free-book promotion I have ever had. I gave away more books than ever before, and I gave some away every single day of the promotion. Some who downloaded the e-book even thanked me and told me they would read it. One even promised to read it right after he finished reading one of my other books.

Of course, you can see that this novel has nudist characters in it, and it is even set in a nudist park. So, naturally, the copies were mostly grabbed by members of the Twitter-nudist circle of friends and acquaintances I have on Twitter. But it is thrilling to know someone is actually going to read one, or even two of my books. I haven’t gotten enough of that feeling as an author. It is one of the main purposes of my writing, to have readers.

But this post is supposed to be about process, not publication. So, how did I come to write this thing? This nudist novel and this blog about writing it?

Well, like most real writers, I choose to write about what I know. And I am acquainted with naturism. I had a girlfriend once whose sister lived in a nudist apartment complex in Austin. I was inside that place a dozen times or so. I have also been to the nudist park north of Dallas. I have experience of nudists and at least some idea of what it is like to be one.

And the characters in the story are all based on real people. The main character is at least fifty percent me. The other fifty percent is a member of my family. The stepmom in the story is a combination of two former girlfriends. Her twin girls are partly based on my twin cousins (who have never been nudists) and on twin girls in my class in the 80’s (who lived naked at least once in a while, if not as much as the twins in the story).

But the critical themes in the story are not really about being a nudist. Naked is a metaphor for honesty, being able to hide nothing because you no longer wear the armor that you once used to hide from repressed memories of abuse. The main character, Devon, is battling depression and suicidal thoughts brought on by a life full of abuse. And he learns to overcome these life-threatening things by being honest with others, especially by being honest with himself. A little bit of naked honesty turns out to be the key that unlocks his prison cell.

As I put words and stories and blog posts together, I invariably find myself writing about certain things over and over and over again. They are the things I wrestle with daily. I write to keep my mind active, and to keep my heart and soul alive.

It isn’t too much to expect to look at a blank page every day, and to find there the words that I need to say. It is daunting, but doable. And it gets easier with practice.

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