What’s beneath the nakedness

As a result of the ping-ponging of posts between a couple of fellow members and myself from an online writing community http://diymfa.com I'm a part of, the subject of "nakedness" in writing came up. The self-exposure and vulnerability required to write, even in fiction since we write what we know, can be enough to scare away even the heartiest of us. It got me thinking (which is sometimes dangerous but...) what in particular is so darn scary about appearing naked in the limelight?

I tend to be a visual person and so I couldn't help but picture a naked body (no one's in particular!). What came to me was that it's actually what's beneath the nakedness or the skin, that causes the discomfort. So what's underneath the skin? Organs like the brain and heart. What we think and what we feel.

Wielding a pen as our scalpel, we carefully make our first incision, peeling away the outer layers to uncover what's underneath. I may have watched one too many episodes of Grey's Anatomy when I originally conceived of this blog post, but the surgery metaphor for writing does carry some truth to it. Writing can be painful and quite invasive. I'm certainly not the first writer to come up with this idea. Ernest Hemingway said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." But let's not also forget--invasive procedures like writing (and surgery) can be life-saving and worth all the risk.

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