Streakers, Flashers And Book Exposure – The Naked Truth About Thea Atkinson.

Day Nine

 

So summer’s finally here, the temperatures are rising and it’s time to strip off and head for the beach. Though perhaps heading for the beach and then stripping off is a better plan, to avoid being arrested on the way.

But for most of us, when we do get to the beach we almost strip off, but not quite. We take our clothes off to enjoy the sun and go for a swim, but usually keep something on. It seems there are certain parts of the body which are deemed best kept covered. In public, at least.

So what’s that all about?  When did wearing clothes stop being about warmth and protection and become an issue of modesty? After all, we’re all the same naked, give or take an inch. Okay, several inches in my case. And I was referring to my waistline, thank you very much!

Of course we’ve all head of those dreadful nudist camp places where people take everything off. Yes, even their socks!

Now that is disgusting. All those broken toe-nails, bunions and athlete’s foot fungi on show to the world. Obscene.

But for the rest of the body, what’s the big deal? Nudism, or naturism as its participants generally prefer to call it, is a lifestyle of choice across much of Europe, and you can be sure that whether you’re in the Canary Islands, on the Med coast of France or Spain, or on the Adriatic, a short walk along the beach will find you among families for whom nudity is a normal, natural way of life.

Unlike on the “textile” beaches, where families cluster in tiny groups and pretend the people sitting next to them don’t exist, on naturist beaches people are much, much more friendly. And I mean in a genuine social way, before you get carried away with memories of Carry On Camping and let your imagination run riot.

For those of you who hide underneath clothes day in day out it may seem a bizarre concept, but there’s actually an entire naturist city in the south of France, where everyone goes naked.

Supermarkets, banks, hairdressers, cafes, you name it. All in the nude. In peak season, in August, there will be thirty thousand people there, enjoying the sun, the fresh air and the freedom that not wearing clothes brings.

It’s like being at a sports event where everyone is streaking. Except of course, it’s not. When everyone is naked the nudity is meaningless. It’s the odd weirdo who runs past in clothes that gets the shock reaction.

What’s great about places like the Cap d’Agde, and its many smaller equivalents around the warmer beaches of Europe, is that it’s a great leveller. Without clothes the social and class barriers disappear. Rich or poor, peasant or princess, banker or builder, agent or author, you just can’t tell.

Actually, you can tell the writer. I’m the one sat by the pool with the laptop protecting strategic areas from the sun, working away on the next book, because unlike other jobs, there is no holiday for us writers.

Of course, one of the great things about being a writer is there’s no uniform to wear. No works clothes to wash. No tie or polished shoes required. Wear what you like. Or even what you don’t like! Got some old clothes in the closet that you wish you’d never bought but can’t bear to give to charity coz you’re a miserly old git? (Yes, you by the window looking inexplicably guilty. We know!)

Well just dig them out and wear them while you write. That way they’ve not been wasted and you can then donate them with a clear conscience.

Even better, just strip off and wear nothing at all. Pretend you’re on that naturist beach with that gorgeous sunshine soaking into your skin.

No, having an all-over tan doesn’t make you word count increase any faster, but it does give you an at-one-with-nature feeling that, along with glorious wall-to-wall sun and sea-air, brightens the spirit and lets ideas flow.

It's not me, honest!

By the way, for purists among you, an all-over tan is a bit of a misnomer. I can personally vouch for the fact that, with the best will in the world and all the improbable yoga postures you can imagine, you’ll always come home with eleven white bits: Behind your ears, between your toes and the crack of your…

What’s all this got to do with today’s guest? Well it so happens that we have the one and only Thea Atkinson in the green room today, and while she’s fully dressed for the occasion Thea is an inveterate streaker, flasher and exhibitionist extraordinaire. You want exposure? This chick shows you how. (“Chick” being her word, not mine, before I get lynched!)

There’s nothing Thea likes better, in-between knocking out some great novels, than to run around naked on other people’s blogs showing us her flash-fiction and generally letting it all hang out. After all, her blog has decidedly ambiguous categories like “ogle me some” and other equally saliva-inducing double entendres.

So when I invited Thea over to MWi to reveal all about her recent blogstreak I thought it was the perfect excuse to run loads of images of naked bodies hard at it and bump up my visitor numbers. Especially when I glanced over her guest post and words like bubblebath and wine, Eve, flash, streak, exposure and twice a night jumped out at me.

Okay, I made up the twice a night, but the rest is all there. So pull down the blinds, get yourself comfy and let’s get to the naked truth behind Thea Atkinson.

Thea, it’s all yours.

I’ve had a bunch of folks from the Twitterverse and Facebook just exactly what the heck a blogstreak is. They’ve obviously seen me running off at the keyboard about it back in April and are suitably curious—or impressed—probably curious. Maybe just mildly annoyed.

So Mark offered me this great lil soapbox to explain and explain I shall. In excruciating, specific depth what a blogstreak is.

You see it all started the day my mom met my father…., well, maybe not that far back. Maybe I can keep it short, this being the interweb and all. Folks like soundbytes and wordbytes nowadays. And yet they have to be so, so full of information at the same time…a near impossibility. Ah, heck, I’m digressing.

The blogstreak. A mix of ideas, really. You’ve heard of blog tours, where someone ‘travels’ the internet from blog to blog schlepping some product or other, doing interviews, guest posting, etc. And I imagine you’ve heard of flash fiction where a story is told in 500 words or less. Well, I thought it would be cool to combine the two concepts. I could use the notion of writing a piece of flash fiction and posting it on a bunch of different blogs. But why would anyone give me a space? That was the problem. I’m a nobody. Just another blogger hocking her wares to a populace who doesn’t know me from Eve.

In fact, I’m sure you’re chomping at the bit to know who the heck I am. I can envision you, actually, staring at my words on your screen, mouth agape with the blazing NEED to know who this Thea chick is anyway and why the heck you should care about her blogstreak.

I’m a writer. Ha. Bet you didn’t see that coming. I write what I always thought was litfic but was loathe to put myself in the same category as Margaret Atwood or Alice Munro … now, I’m just loathe to put myself into a category that is defined by the world as: that which does not sell.

In fact, my nephew asked me once: what is literary fiction, and I could only say, “You know what an action movie like Gone in 60 Seconds is like?”

He nodded emphatically.

“Well it’s exactly the opposite,” is what I said because there was no way I could truly define it in…well, 60 seconds.

Suffice to say, he got the point.

I now term my genre as psychological thrillers. I cringe at the word: thriller, but there it is. If Jodi Picoult’s work can be labelled as thriller than so can mine.

Trouble is: despite the very exciting label, no one could find me let alone buy me. Thus the blogstreak.

I figured I could promote the blogs that agreed to host a piece of my very short fiction. Send as much traffic as I could to them for their trouble. In fact, I thought, as I lay in a nice bubblebath with a glass of wine (some of my best ideas come from bubblebaths and wine), I could offer to write the flashes in the genre of the host’s blog. If they write scifi, I’ll write scifi; if fantasy, then I’ll write fantasy. Yeah, baby. Great idea.

Um. Right. I already mentioned my preferred genre. I had no idea how tough it would be to write scifi. Those writers know what they’re doing, by heavens. Fantasy was equally tough. Crime? Don’t get me started. Kudos to you writers in your genres! You make it look so easy. I had flashbacks to the days when I decided to write a Harlequin romance and make my millions. It. Was. TOUGH.

30 blogs in 30 days. 30 pieces of flash fiction in a variety of genres that I don’t write in. Promote the heck out of the host blog link each day. Respond to and visit the blogs of the people who left comments. Visit the Goodreads links of the hosts and tweet that. Visit backwards to promote the previous host. Share the links on Facebook. Create twitter shoutouts throughout the month inviting the hosts to share their blog links. Create the hashtag #blogstreak so that if anyone wants to keep tabs on the progress they can.

Sound like a lot of work? You betcha. Did it do anything? I have no idea. I challenged other writers to do a blogstreak of their own for 7 days. Let’s get this thing going, I thought: promote each other, pay it forward, pay it back. We are a bunch of indie writers with no clout so let’s create our own. We can succeed based on the networks we create. Build platforms where there was no platform. Seek exposure in areas we wouldn’t have been able to access. That was the beauty of the core value of the blogstreak. I’m not sure it’s worked, but I can say that my sales have been much steadier, that I have a whole lot more followers on Twitter, that my Facebook fan page has gained some new likes, and that my blog gets a more steady stream of hits (many from the blogs I flashed).

Build it and they will come? Naw. Flash someone and they will notice.

Well, if you’re still in a fit state to read on after all that, why not check out Thea’s blog and books and see what she writes when she’s got her clothes on.

Thea, thank thee kindly for revealing all. Well, almost.

Anyone else out there ever tried blogstreaking or writing flash fiction?

Anyone else out there reading this in a state of serious undress? Please send your photos in a plain brown envelope to Just curious.

What do you wear when you write?

 

 

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  1. well, I sure do wish I looked like that girl in the last photo on the bed. grin. I pretty much look more like the cartoon at the top.

    thanks for letting me post on your awesome blog. I’m excited to be here. and btw: I really really loved your streaking and nudist post. wow. A whole city? I mustn’t tell hubby, he’ll wanna go. grin

  2. Well, that started my day with a grin, but prudish or not, I’ll just keep my own clothes firmly wrapped around my body.

  3. I’ve tried some flash fiction in my time – though some of it got a bit out of hand and ended up at a page length, rather than 500 words, but this blogstreak thing sounds like a very intriguing idea. Doubt I’ll ever have the nerve, guts or popularity to try it, but it sounds very cool indeed.

    • Spook, a year or so down the line you and Miriam will so popular we’ll be queuing up to buy your books, let alone ask you do come and blogstreak!

    • If you decide to do a blogstreak, please let me know, I’d be happy to host you. Anytime.

  4. Oh, yeah, I’m a modest one. I’d think I was living dangerously if I worked up the nerve to moon somebody. Maybe I need to put that on my bucket list : ). Great post – I will definitely check out Thea’s blog!

    • By amazing coincidence hawleywood40’s own blog today is also about strippers, with a delightful reimiscence on opportunities lost.

      Oh to be twenty again and be able to maker those mistakes!

      Spook and Miriam, you’ve still got that to look foward to. Jealous as hell! 🙂

    • It doesn’t take much to make me happy so a visit would just do the trick. I do hope you’ll visit and comment to let me know you were there. It’s so fun checking out blogs. I could do it all day if I didn’t have to work, write, and streak. grin

    • Miriam
    • June 20th, 2011

    Pyjamas! That’s what I wear to write way too much of the time. Or school uniform. It kind of depends on where I am, I expect you can imagine…

    • All you Americans please note the correct spelling as used by Ms Miriam, grammar Nazi extraordinaire.

      So long as you’re not one of those weirdos who wears their PJs out shopping, Ms M. That’s just scary!

  5. A very interesting idea, Thea – but I wonder if I could do it? I’ve written in lots of different genres, but to attempt thirty pieces of (even short!) fiction in thirty days would be REALLY HARD WORK!
    Or did you repeat some of the stories on blogs with similar genres? I really admire your ability and perseverance. I’ve tried to get on as many blogs as possible – but I’m not sure how many books this has sold. It’s very hard to tell what has worked and what hasn’t!

    • I often use flash fiction to kick-start my writing day. By using characters in my WIP it can often be the basis for a full chapter or at least a scene that can be used.

      But I certainly wouldn’t want to try a day-on-day streak like Thea. As Anne says below, that ought to be some kind of record.

      On related book sales, I’m not sure there’s any way of measuring how many, if any, sales come direct from any blog, but obviously getting yourself known on other people’s blogs increases awareness of you as an author and may well sell a few books to readers who would otherwise never have heard of you.

      I view my blog as an extension of my values as a person rather than a sales platform for me as an author.

      Sure, I sneak in the occasional self-promo when the occasion arises, and info about the book is on site, but by and large MWi is about my interest in reading and writing, and in other writers. If my guests have books to sell I’m happy to include mention, but several recent guests have had nothing whatsoever to sell except their views.

      Your own site, Gerry, has a similar approach with the book reviews. That sells you as an author, which is far more valuable in the long run. Aren’t we due for a new post btw?

    • I’m trying to reply to a bunch of posts and having a hard time. so:

      Gerry and Allen: yeah 30 in different genres was a toughie. I won’t say they were all gold, and some of the hosts forgot to post me. In all, I made it onto 25 and I didn’t repeat. One story (the erotica one) I did have to cheat on because I didn’t see how I could write a good erotica piece in 500 words. at least not under that kind of pressure.

      You should give it a whirl for a week. I’ll host ya if you want to write litfic (or psychological thriller I’m calling it now. grin)

  6. 30 stories in 30 days? Has anybody notified the Guinness record people? That’s amazing. I used to enter a 500 word fiction contest once a year. I always lost because I’d write a 2000 word story and then cut it down to a dense and indigestible 500. Hardly “flash”. I finally figured out they can’t have more than 2 characters.

    When I was young and slim, I hated clothes. Never wore shoes, hated bras. Loved hippiesh summer parties and clothing optional beaches. Now I’m very, very grateful for every bit of clothing I have on. I’m sure the people around me are grateful, too 🙂

    • Snap! When was young I never wore bras either! Must be part of the ageing process…

      Of course for genuine naturists it’s not about the body at all, and you’ll find every shape and variety of the human form in places like the Cap d’Agde.

    • Oops. i wrote Allen in the above post and I meant Anne. sorry Anne. *shuffles feet ashamed)

  7. I thought of this post this morning, as my son threw a tantrum becasue I didn’t let him put his pull up in the Diaper gene… once he had calmed down I went back up and there he was, completely naked, and not wanting to get dress… that’s when I thought of this post and how I have to try and explain to my 3 year old why we wear clothing. ‘ It’s not socially acceptable’ seems like such a lame excuse to me now… But I gave him 5 minutes of naked time before we put the clothing on, seeing as I had to drop him off at daycare with his sister and go to work myself…

    I’m starting to think I really should start that Dairy of a Working, Writing, Mother…

    As to what I wear to write… mostly my work clothing, no shoes, PJs if I get up early on the weekend,for that short blissful quiet time when I’m the only one awake (or my workclothing is too stuffy). Occassionally I have written naked.

    :} Cathryn

  8. I love Thea, and I love this post!

    As for nudity, I certainly don’t look like any of the girls in the photos. See, there’s a certain thing called “Gravity” that would make certain portions downright painful, especially if I attempted any jogging, or even tiptoeing around.

    Nope, better stick to my muumuu. It’s safer for all concerned!

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