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I started out 2022 by publishing a novel that I've been working on a couple of years. My son Samuel designed the cover to be similar to my other two books that deal with the subject of body acceptance. Rather than explain why I wrote a third one, I'm letting you read my explanatory preface. Or, if you would rather read both it and well into Chapter 3 of the story, you can skip it here and go directly to the novel's KINDLE PAGE and use its helpful "Look Inside" feature to do that reading.
I've already seen two favorable blog reviews of it, which you may also like to read. One is by a fellow who does art modeling and the other by a Christian naturist (yes, there are such people who authentically love Jesus and enjoy fun in the sun as naked as God made us). And if you decide to read the whole novel, which I hope you will, please leave me a comment here or give it a review on Amazon. Thanks!
MUSE - Naked Truth Poses Again
A novel needs no introduction, if its narrative quality provides attractive bait to hook readers and reel them in. But I’m just an old poet-prophet, destitute of a seasoned novelist’s years of writing fiction. This explanatory preface raises no hopes for a big catch. I’m not even sure it will draw many bites. I merely feel that prospective readers, before investing their time, deserve a word or two about a book’s purpose. If you don’t need or want to know why this story was written, feel free to skip this section and dive into the first chapter, or at least to test its waters.
Some may be baffled by my title, MUSE, wondering if it stands for the mythical name given to personified creative inspiration or for the directive to think over, consider carefully, ponder deeply. But I refuse to tell which one it is. As most poets, I love the fruitful fun of employing double entendre. I even slipped it into my subtitle: Naked Truth Poses Again. So, is she replaying her role as artist’s model or posing again her searching questions? Actually, the reader’s own interaction with the story will determine whether it’s either-or or both-and.
Those familiar with my first two body-acceptance books—Meeting at the River, an annotated novelette, and “Who Said You Were Naked?”, a mixed anthology—will find these prefatory remarks redundant. But new readers should be warned about my continuing mission. I feel divinely called to confront society’s dysfunctional, porno-prudishly sexualized view of the body. This third book again utilizes fiction, especially focusing on a culturally supported context where nude human anatomy is creatively observed, maturely accepted, and respectfully treated. In Meeting at the River, the comparable contextual backdrop was my own years of experiencing normal, nonsexual nudity in hospital nursing. This tale involves another area I’m personally familiar with as well as perpetually thrilled by: art.
My novel started out as a short story, but as the plot thickened, new chapters kept materializing. In fact, I discovered first hand what I knew about only from rumors, that fictional characters can take a story down unforeseen paths, steering it wherever they wish. Drawing on subconscious reservoirs of thought, they make serendipitous decisions, bypassing the writer’s original plans. While watching this phenomenon play out, I decided to supplement the story’s main theme. Here and there, I slipped a few sub-messages into the scenes, allowing issues to come on stage directly from my own ideas and concerns. After all, shouldn’t I, as an author, have some say-so to add to that of the imaginary personalities I allowed to take control of my drama?
Finally, as with my other books, I aim at and pull the trigger on a special Christian audience: those practicing and preaching the lie of porno-prudery. On this world’s shooting range, they’re not the only guilty targets at which the naked truth needs to be fired. But unfortunately, the ammo loaded here is a liberating message Bible-believing churches have been dodging for years. My sights zero in on the same bullseye Jesus wants to hit: the heart. God delights in “truth in the inward being” (Psalm 51:6, ESV). There He’s able to transform our lives from the inward to the outward. Truth begins by leading us to change our thinking (repentance). But when truth firmly grips our hearts, we change our behavior (reformation).
Truth sets people free; lies keep them bound. One deceptive web Satan spins to capture today’s Christians is a sexualized body. This falsehood traps multitudes in the devastating social evils of pornography, sex addictions, body-shame issues and a growing array of sexual excesses, aberrancies and abuses. For years, many pulpits zealously communicated this sex-focus, sanctimoniously translating it as a “holy” body shame. Such preaching tragically confirmed society’s sexual objectification of our bodies, which were meant to be temples of the Holy Spirit. Such false language has only reinforced our wayward culture’s sexualized treatment of God’s embodied image. My prayerful hope is that this novel’s presentation of the naked truth will help God’s people abandon the unwholesome, sexually-obsessed religious lie they grew up with and to adopt the emancipating truth of a godly, Creator-honoring, mature and healthy body acceptance.