I remember the first time I saw a streaker. Not the last time, mind you, because historically I’ve seen more of them than most people probably do. Lucky me.
Anyway, it was a chilly day at one of my high school’s depressing football games, and I was busy pondering some hormonal mystery that has long since faded into the mists of time.
There, just beyond the bleachers, a form was barrelling through the normalcy of our 0–10 score and igniting cheers as it was chased down by security guards. Our streaker was fast — too fast for the underequipped, taxpayer-funded security professionals hot on his barren behind.
I recognized that streaker, but I’ll take his identity to the grave. Suffice it to say, he became a nameless legend at my school and inspired us to continue attending those god-awful football games despite the fact that we lost every single time I can think of.
That’s the power of brazen nudity, folks, and it’s the same power that can lift you to new heights as a writer. Are you ready to expose yourself? Good, because I’m going to take you on a buck-ass, bare-naked journey today.
What I Learned From A Naked Teenage Idiot, Lesson One — Or, “Streakers As Gurus.”
You might not think of an intoxicated 16-to-18-year-old guy without any clothes on as a wise man, but in some ways, he had a lot of things to teach those of us in the creative community.
Lesson one is that our public school’s security teams are really out of shape. Lesson two is that absurdity can be not only hilariously stupid, but also pretty inspiring. How else do you explain the sudden jump in football game attendance? People felt inspired to go to those home-grown slaughters thanks to the naked boy wonder.
I’m also pretty sure he indirectly ended up funding our entire arts festival via those ticket sales. I read my first and only slam-poetry at that festival. My best friend displayed their art publicly for the first time and was inspired on their journey toward becoming a popular and successful digital artist.
That streaker may have been motivated by far less lofty concerns than the arts, inspiring the inspired, or funding important educational opportunities, but by baring his soul — or, you know, everything else — he managed to be a part of all of those things.
I can’t in good faith call his unclothed and brief reign of chaos as “courageous,” but it was close enough to make an impact. That day the seeds of artistic bravery were planted deep within my post-adolescent psyche, and today they’re finally bearing (or baring?) fruit.
When you allow a bit of impulse into your work and throw off the oppressive garments of expectation, you never know what you’ll set in motion. Naked guys can be gurus if you choose to look at them that way (???).
Send Nudes To The Whole World…Metaphorically.
I feel compelled to clarify the metaphorical aspect of this article again and point out that I neither judge nor condone the sending of actual nudes to anyone. Do what you want, my guy.
Really, though, exposing yourself through your writing is a supremely freeing act that many great creators have encouraged over and over again. They aren’t talking about mere honesty, either. Sprinkle some truths into your posts and novels, sure — but you’re going to have to do more than that to really reach your potential.
Sticking to the extended metaphor of my high school’s Streaky McStreakerson, he had plenty of ways he could have gained anonymous notoriety and dubious fame that didn’t involve tearing past horrified parents and open-mouthed teens like some kind of primordial menace.
Why did he choose bare-bootied blasphemy as his modus operandi? Well, f*** if I know. My guess is that he felt certain that this was the best way to be himself and to authentically disrupt the norm in his own unique, unhinged way.
That’s what all artists should aspire to, isn’t it? Honesty is one thing, but tearing off your pretenses and rushing headlong into an uncertain world is a whole different level of creative courage.
It’s not enough to talk about your thoughts and opinions. Into your writing, you must inject your fears, your curiosity, your most naive hopes, and your deepest regrets. That is what elevates art and impacts the world. Unapologetic, goose-pimpled nakedness.
Of Course, One Must Still Choose A Few Boundaries.
The high school streaker of enduring fame had clearly planned his display. Maybe that strikes you as odd, but it was clear to me at the time that he had calculated perfectly the necessary velocity and direction of his footloose and fancy-free flight of the ages down to the minute.
He didn't simply stand up on impulse and flash the PTA. No, this was a job. He’d noted the positions of the security guards, knew his own relative land-speed and had determined the quickest yet most effective path to the forest that bordered our venerable institution.
I also suspect he had allies on the football team, but I can’t prove that (nor would I want to, because I have a life. Kind of).
My point is that artistic nakedness requires intent as much as bravery — you have to have a specific message and a clear directive to truly affect your readers. Without these ingredients you’re no better than a common flasher of the wordsmith variety, displaying your unsavory, wordy genitalia to old ladies and horrified businessmen.
To break norms and shake things up on a deeper level you have to be naked in a specific, well-planned way that allows you to share your unique voice with others. Copying other streakers of the authorial variety will yield you nothing.
You can’t copy a true message or the perfect timing of unpredictable fate — you can only forge such unique magnificence from the trembling flames of your own bared soul (or ass? I’m trying to be poetic, here).
Basically, don’t just get naked. Get naked with a purpose when you write.
All In All, Streaking Is Both Overdone And Underrated — Aka “The Dying Art Of True Exhibitionism.”
I’ll finish this ramble off with an observation. Paltry “honesty” is all over the digital landscape, and more of it floods in each and every day. You can read countless mundane and surface-level “confessions” whenever you open your phone or laptop.
Honesty isn’t that special. It’s a very selective, everyday act to “be honest.” Telling the truth isn’t particularly spectacular, especially in a world as connected and boundary-less as ours has become.
But telling your truth? That’s different. As imperfect human beings, I doubt any of us can ever know our truths — otherwise, we wouldn’t constantly be looking for new religions and ideologies to follow — but by getting naked and showing our most authentic stories to the world, we are still able to share them.
Writers who take up the mantle of a true “reverse voyeur” and bare all through vulnerability go on to make a lasting difference in the minds, perspectives, and potential of their readers. Telling the truth might gain you some fleeting interest, but getting buck-naked will craft a legacy that will far outlive you.
Do it through stories, through rants, or through admissions. Bare yourself through poems and questions that don’t have answers, throw off the garments of social peacocking, and embrace the risk and freedom that comes with being authentically exposed.
Leave those security guards in the dust and streak your way to artistic revelation. You might just change the world.