Why is it only recently that I've been feeling uncomfortable wearing clothes? I feel great in the shower and in bed when it's just my body wrapped in water or air or my wife. But bring out and put on the clothes and I feel trapped, imprisoned in cotton, nylon, polyester, leather, wool, and who knows what else they make clothes out of these days. Why is this only a recent feeling? Because of the stifling heat of summer? Because of the way people's eyes seem to undress me? Because I recently realized that writing is like wearing clothes?
Maybe it is. We dress our naked page in pretty words for the world to see, but actually what we want is for them to see past the words and back into the state of honesty that the words came from. The writer is stripped naked in the eyes of the Reader. At least an honest writer is. Don't you feel you can see the innermost soul of a writer when you read their words? I do. I feel I know people even better through reading their words, their shared 'inkimacies', their folly-follicled flesh made bare. What kind of person would write this and do I have a connection to them? I'm aware of the person writing these words as I read them.
There is a double-voyeuristic take on all of this writing and reading. A kind of I show you mine and you see me show you mine situation. Reading and commenting and discussing follow. Readers are our intimate strangers whether we want them to be or not. They see through our words into the places and feelings and actions we describe so well. The Reader becomes one with the Writer.
Do you like this suit of words I'm wearing today? Not cotton, but 100% honestly what I think. Not for sale, but for reading. Undress me in the way your eyes skim from word to word. I guess you cannot see me, but you can read me. Read me then. See me.
Be me for a brief time. Be me thinking about writing. About how writing and wearing clothes are alike in the way we present our hidden selves to the world. About how underneath our words and our clothes we are truly naked and free. Our free selves create a prison, a barrier between the eyes and the honest view, with ink or wool to conform to society’s norms.
My Readers, my Intimate Strangers, please read more than my physical wordwrappings. Read right into my centre, the place these words come from.
Thank you, I feel free having written it all down now for you to unwrap, to strip slowly like you would a delicious chocolate you want to savor over time. Then strip me bare like a lover and eat of my writerly essence. You must be hungry.
Eat up. Cheers.