Short story from Santiago Burdon

Naked Truth

“Famous isn’t good for a writer. You don’t observe well when you’re being observed.” 

Ken Kesey

I mentioned to a poet friend of mine, one of the few I respect, if he believed a writer could consider himself a success by the amount of nude photos of women and surprisingly a few men are sent to him.

I’m not sure how to measure my efforts as a success or as a failure. My point of view is if I am doing what I’ve always wanted to do as a profession, then I have achieved success.

I’ve mentioned my somewhat modest expectation to others when discussing the subject and it has received a variety of comments. But the comment that has been most popular is; “Bullshit! You can’t tell me you don’t want your book to be a best seller or  have your books made into movies and make a shit load of money. Come’on, everyone wants to be famous and I’m not talking the Warhol fifteen minutes kind.”

That would be a wonderful perk without a doubt but it is not my reason for being a writer. I sincerely am not concerned if what I write is accepted or rejected. Rejection letters are just fuel for my creative fire. I selfishly write for myself not for an audience. Twisting your prose to fit the perimeters of an audience is a fucking trap without any hope of escape.

A true writer knows this predilection is actually a curse we’re born with. It manifests in our souls, with an insatiable need to be recognized. I described a writer in a poem written years ago.

“A Poet is an Artist that paints in darkness

Words of the poem are colors creating light 

A Writer is blessed with all of the answers

Cursed with the search of which questions to ask.”  

It’s the first time I’ve directly quoted myself.

“Okay, but get back to the  naked pictures, will ya. No one is interested in this boring literary mumbo jumbo.” 

Who said that?  I was just thinking the exact same thought. Now that is an incredible phenomenon. 

So I’ve been receiving what I consider a large amount of nude photos on my WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Gmail accounts and have become curious about its relevance in determining my success as a writer. I’ve researched the subject to investigate if other writers have experienced the same anomaly. I haven’t discovered any mention of it being so. I surely can’t be the only writer out there that has received this type of appreciation in response to their work.

I don’t write erotica although I’ve described brief moments of sexual activity in some of my stories. 

So my poet friend said he’d get back to me, it was something he had to think about. Although I judged him as an accomplished poet, he turned out to be an unreliable counselor. He would’ve made a terrible bartender without the ability to give advice. After a week I contacted him to ask if he had made a decision concerning my question. He first apologized and then started laughing, commenting he didn’t think I was serious. He believed it was all a joke, a setup or research for a story. Now I had his complete attention after convincing him my question was authentic. 

” In order to make an educated decision I’d need to look at the pictures. Do you think that could be possible?” He inquired.

” I’m not sure how seeing the photos would help in determining an answer to my question. Besides, all the senders asked me to keep them private and not share them.”

” How many photos exactly have you received? Are the women totally naked and can you see their faces?”

“I guess close to twenty five including the three photos of men.”

” Were there suggestive messages with the photos? Also, are you sure they were sent in response to your writing? Are you on some type of dating site?”

“Yes, some included sexual messages. Most mentioned my poems and I’m not on a dating site. So, what do you think?”

“I rarely receive more than fifteen comments on my poems when I post them.” He said with a sarcastic  tone. “So I’m going to conclude yes, it does have a relevance in determining your success as a writer. Although, the most viable explanation is that your poems appeal to a unique audience of sick, twisted and perverted readers.” 

The phone hummed a dial tone without a goodbye.

And I thought; What was with the Dutch uncle’s attitude? Why did he say it like it was a bad thing?

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