Somehow—and I’m not the least bit embarrassed by this—it has been revealed in the tabloids that I like to write in the nude. Naked. With no clothes on whatsoever—just me, my Macbook, and a package of double-stuffed Oreos by my side.
Many people refuse to believe what they read in the tabloid press, because they think these papers just make stuff up. But I can report that, in this case, the headline that greeted readers of the international tabloid “Fakt” last week—“Strajk w ZUS! Emerytury zagrozone?” is absolutely true. The headline didn’t even need a question mark, because proof was in the accompanying photo, which plainly showed my exposed zagrozone for all the world to see. Fortunately, I am not one of those American prudes who frowns on showing your z-parts in public. But, for purposes both personal and professional, mine typically only get aired out during the day, in my basement, while I’m working—like right now, while I’m writing this.
Now that the truth is out, though, I expect my readers will have all sorts of questions. Like why do I write in the buff when my neighbors can easily see me through the basement window? And are there any clues in the text itself—codes, anagrams, palindromes, acrostics, jumbles, cryptograms, etc.—to indicate to the reader when I am writing naked and when I’m not? Or, when I’m naked, might I subconsciously use more revealing words—words that lay bare the darker stirrings of my inner psyche and offer seductive glimpses behind the flimsy curtain of my authorial intentions?
As for why I write in the buff, it’s simple: Not putting clothes on every day is extremely cost-effective. I don’t have to wash my clothes, which means I save on water, electricity, laundry detergent, and wear and tear on fabric. Since naked writing is only practical five or six months out of the year (I live in Minnesota), this allows me to wear my underwear and socks twice as long as I normally would, and extends the life of my jeans to ten or fifteen years. This means I only have to enter a retail clothing establishment once or twice a decade, which helps prevent nervous breakdowns.
As far as clues—codes, anagrams, etc.—the answer is yes to all of the above. Everything I write is encoded with a variety of hidden messages and extra-textual puzzles. Most writers do not bother with such games, I know, but my most demanding readers have come to expect these layers of depth and complexity from me, because the literal surface meaning of anything I write might not be what they want to read. Therefore, I give them options, ones that offer a wide range of interpretive possibilities. In fact, I encourage all of my readers to rearrange the words in my stories however they want, so that they can decipher the mysterious messages I’ve hidden deep in the text, where only the most dedicated readers can find them. Sure, this means a lot of extra work for me, but I think my readers are worth it.
As for the subconscious stuff, no, I don’t think my naked writing uses any extra-revelatory vocabulary that would allow people to stare through the window of my soul and fuel their fetishistic fantasies about my private writing habits, or see beyond my flabby human skin to the inner core of my exposed psyche, where my most intimate thoughts wriggle and writhe on their long journey to the surface, where, if I’m lucky, they quiver for a moment, arranging themselves to provide maximum reading pleasure, then explode onto the page for all the world to see. That’s just nonsense. I don’t mind the world gawking at my exposed zagrozone, but readers who want more must work for it.
The clues are all there, in the writing.