Posititive “incidental” Naturism
If you have arrived here after reading the article in January’s issue of H&E Naturist, expecting to read the expanded version then I must disappoint you. This is not the same article; I won’t bore you with an explanation, but I assure it has been lost. This replacement has been written using the same theme however, which is ironic given the original’s subject matter. One other thing, the naturist connection may not be immediate obvious, but bear with me. And lastly, sorry this is so late.
Anyway, to business; one of the things anthropologists tell us is that our ability to imagine things unseen, or to weave stories around those that we have, is a major milestone in human development and a significant difference between chimpanzees – our closest relative – and us. Often we can express ourselves better by turning to the keyboard, paintbrush or camera than by any other means and psychiatrists have used this technique to “release our inner demons” for decades. It is certainly an explanation why so many books were written about the Second World War after 1945, some as historical record while others were fictionalised account of the author’s own experiences. Whatever was produced, whatever medium used, it helped to exorcise the past and allowed them to live normal lives again but in doing so, they drew pictures of many characters, used even more plots to tell their story, but they all drew on the same theme, warfare.
Walk into any branch of Waterstone’s and you will be confronted by a bewildering array of books, fiction and non-fiction in equal number it would seem but try as you might, you will not find any under the heading “Naturist”. Yet we could, if we consider the content in a different light. Under the Philosophy, American history and biography sections we might come across The Nudist Idea by Cec Cinder, which not only covers the philosophical history of naturism in some detail, but also gives an insight into the free beach movement of 1970s California, in which Cinder was a significant participant and through that, we are told his life story – his biography. This book could easily turn up again in the politics, local activism section as it delves into the work needed to obtain the support of local politicians and not just the compromises between activists to achieve the desired common goal. We also learn a good deal about Susan Mayfield’s life through her book Break-out! It tells the stories behind those people who escaped the normal nine-to-five jobs here in the UK to live in France or Spain as full-time naturists, of their triumphs and more importantly perhaps, disasters leading up to and after that final leap. As it was always Mayfield’s plan to follow them, we learn of events in her long search for a little bit of paradise, and permanent move to France; some unconnected with naturism (like packaging a magazine for transvestites, titled Taffeta).
So here we have the biographies of two people who have led very different lives interesting enough to be of interest to others, they just happen to be naturists and so share that as a common theme.
Non-fiction is not everyone’s favourite reading and like many others I have spend the last half-hour or so before turning out the light at night in a world created by another’s imagination: Dumas, Dickens, Rowling, Brookes and Clarke are among my favourites. Another writer I’ve got to ‘know’ is AW Palmer, who wrote The Reluctant Nudist, the story of a couple who has their journey down to a friend’s house in France interrupted because of a murder and Palmer’s protagonists have to turn detective to prove their innocence. The fact that the murder took place on a naturist campsite could just be a co-incidence. If you prefer your crime fiction to be shorter, you could try the Catherine Reynolds stories from the Naturist Fiction Archive, which also houses other (naturist) short stories. If I am brutally honest though, I have to say that all these stories are a bit like a curate’s egg and as long as you are content to take the bad along with good then I believe you will still find something enjoyable to read. The biggest disappointment with the Naturist Fiction Archive though is that although other writers are asked for contributions, only the ‘administrator’ is given as the author and the name of the actual writer is unknown. Also, despite a suggestion that the stories are proofread before submitting, this is the one piece of advice that is