February 27, 2008

Another blogger gets naked

I hadn't intended to take a naked photo on the trip to the State Where People Eat Potatoes Less Than You Might Think. After all, this wasn't a conference; it was an executive council meeting. And I honestly didn't have time to blog. In our guilt over the carbon footprint of our meeting, we were determined to make every minute count, and that meant we were meeting over breakfast at 7 am, eating lunch while we worked, and continuing our discussions into the dark. We were making our way through a packed agenda, and there was no time for such frivolity as dancing naked on the tables, although we did take time out one morning to walk up the street and observe a fox eating a dead squirrel. Watching animals eat dead things is a high priority amongst Friendly Green Folks.

I'm not sure how the topic of my top-secret pseudonymous blog even came up.

It may have been at dinner when almost everyone was drinking wine, and some of us were talking about blogs as the "new" nature writing. It was a serious discussion about bloggers who write about place, who write about nature, albeit in a virtual medium. We were talking about blogs like Creek Running North by nature and science writer Chris Clarke and the blog Out with Ari: Life as a Canine Naturalist by Kathryn, who writes about what she has learned about the natural world through walks with her dog. We were discussing bloggers like Rana from Frogs and Ravens, who writes such wonderful descriptions of the natural world, or Lorianne DiSabato from Hoarded Ordinaries, who keeps a place-based blog, or Chas S. Clifton who writes about nature in the Southern Rockies.

This thoughtful discussion about blogs was interrupted by a waiter who arrived with long wooden pepper mill, asking each person if they would like some "fresh pepper." Unfortunately, I cannot hear a waiter asking a question like that without remembering the famous "Fresh-a-Pepper" skit from Saturday Night Live in which the pepper boy wields his phallic looking pepper mill in a highly suggestive way, causing the customers who asked for fresh pepper to writhe and moan in their seats. My attempt to insert a thoughtful analysis of that skit into the conversation was deeply appreciated by Colleague With Southern Accent, who kept sending the waiter over to give me more pepper, just to see how much I would blush.

I think it was the very literary discussion of the body and sexuality that followed that led me to declaring that someone at the table needed to pose naked for my blog. Strangely, no one questioned my purpose. In the tradition of literature professors everywhere, they jumped immediately to the relevant point: who should be the lucky person to get that place of honor?

An international argument ensued. British, Canadian, and American accents swirled about the table over the plates of food and glasses of wine, each person explaining why someone else at the table needed to be the chosen model. As usual, the men in the group did a whole lot of joking about the photo and made gallant statements about how naked photos were a tradition that needed to be upheld, but when faced with the prospect of stripping for the camera, they balked.

The newest member of the group, the Canadian professor — who had just met most of us for the first time that afternoon and who had been happily drawing a map for me on the paper table mat — went suddenly quiet. The British professor to my left , on the other hand, seemed tempted by the fame of being part of the first international naked blog shot, but he kept changing his mind. Colleague With Southern Accent, who had earlier declared that because he was the oldest person in the room, we need to all treat him with respect, or at least, considerably less derision, kept volunteering everyone but himself.

In the end, the woman who posed was the obvious choice. I needed to take the photo in natural light, before our early morning meeting, and she was getting up early to go running, a wholesome choice. She has a blog, a sense of humor, and a cool tattoo. And she's efficient. While our colleagues were still milling about after breakfast in the big living room of the B&B, she slipped away with me to one of the covered porches, where she stripped off her clothes despite the chilly air, posed for a photo, and then got dressed and back into our meeting room before anyone even noticed she was missing. If you read my blog carefully, you'll be able to figure out who she is, but I am trusting you all to keep it a secret. I promised her that my readers know how to be discreet.

Another naked blogger

Anonymous blogger, watching through the curtains for the first morning light.

(Readers who want to know the history of the naked photo tradition can check it out here and here and here and here and here.)

38 comments:

hoardedordinaries said...

Wonderful pillow-placement! You're a master of artful and discreet nude photography, like a local charity calendar a few years ago that featured naked men & dogs (?) posing outside, with well-placed things like tractors and snowshoes to hide the naughty bits.

Thanks, too, for the blog-mention...with my name! I'm assuming that's intentional since you mention Chris & Chas by name as well; it just struck me as interesting given your usual use of pseudonyms.

Mona Buonanotte said...

You're just the best at naked blog photos! All your subjects look so...serene...like you've caught them at a pensive moment. I should hire you to take my naked photo....

jo(e) said...

Hoarded Ordinaries: You know, I didn't even think about the fact that I was using names instead of pseudonyms. I think it's because we were discussing you all as writers, not bloggers or friends, and I am used to using authors' real names. I don't use a pseudonym for Audre Lorde or Joy Harjo, for instance.

Mona: When the day comes that we finally meet, I will definitely take a naked photo of you!

heidi said...

How is that all your friends are always so beautiful?

YourFireAnt said...

So, Jo(e), are you starting a life list for naked blog photos too?

;-)

FA

Anonymous said...

What a hoot.

I can't believe you actually get people to take their clothes off for you.

No. I do believe it.

liz said...

Heidi said what I was going to.

Lorianne said...

Nakedness aside, I'm chuckling because I posted that first comment using my WordPress rather than Blogger login, so it posted my blog name rather than my "actual" one. It seems a bit ironic given what I said about pseudonymity, etc.

But yes...isn't it funny how we automatically use names for "writers" and screen names/pseudonyms for "bloggers," as if the two are distinct & separate things. This reminds me of an online literary journal I once guest-edited that features many contributions from bloggers, and a "real writer" once gave it a scathing review because in her estimation, "real" writers & poets use their real/full names whereas bloggish dilettantes & "wannabe" writers use only first names or pseudonyms.

I suppose this is exactly the kind of (pseudo?) distinction that's relevant to a conversation of "blogging as nature writing." I think I need more wine, with or without freshly ground pepper...

Ampersand said...

I'm loving the naked blogger tradition -- both the humor and the beauty of it.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I love how sweet these posts are. :-D On with the naked bloggers.

I'm a blogger who is often naked, but I doubt you'd want me on your blog, LOL!

Most of your naked bloggers look young, thin, healthy.

Yankee, Transferred said...

I'm so glad you can keep getting bloggers to get naked for you. I'm afraid I will remain clothed if we ever pull off a meet-up. I can give you "bare elbow" if you'd like.

richard said...

Well, that photo came out very well!

And indeed I did go very quiet when the conversation came up - though I don't think I said much about the tradition needing to be upheld....

jo(e) said...

Mary: Oh, I definitely *do* want a naked photo of you. We need to get together in warm weather and do a nature photo ....

Lorianne: Well, some bloggers are writers, but not all of them are. (I look at lots of photo blogs, for example. And I have many blogging friends who would not call themselves writers.) And some writers are bloggers, but certainly not all of them are. So I see it as this Venn Diagram -- two overlapping circles.

I use a pseudonym when I put text on my blog, but when I read that same text aloud at a conference, I use my real name.

jo(e) said...

Richard: I can hear your voice now when I read a comment or email! Such a lovely accent.

And I think that at the Friendly Green Conference held on Most Beautiful Island in the Country of the Maple Leaf, the naked blogger will *have* to be Canadian ....

kathy a. said...

well, "richard" -- if that's your real name -- i think you have volunteered for the next time.

i'm with YT -- my arm is ready for its naked shot. i might even reveal the very shy feet, with the right inducements.

Gretchen said...

LOL. You can take a picture of my naked toes if you'd like.

Gawdess said...

Someday I want to pose for one of these for you - because you do such a wonderful job and I can't imagine coming out as looking anything short of wonderful.
She looks marvelous.

TC said...

I *thought* I read your blog carefully, but alas, I can't figure out who that is. I was hoping your commenters would have been inadvertently indiscreet, but no such luck.

Sigh. Curiosity is going to be my downfall one day.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

My thought process on reading this post:

a.) Hey! The next Friendly Green Conference is in my Beautiful City on Beautiful Island! I'll get to meet jo(e)!

b.) Did she just say that the naked blogger will *have* to be Canadian?

c.) Uh oh.

landismom said...

Lovely photo! Remind me never to drink wine with you, you silver-tongued devil!

jo(e) said...

Queen of West:

First thought: Oh, I am looking forward to meeting you!

Second thought: Oh, I bet you look great naked ....

richard said...

1) Hey, Queen West is in Beautiful City just like me! Cool!

2) Hey, how come Queen West doesn't know about Friendly Green Conference coming to our town? Am I that bad at outreach?!?

3) Thank goodness there'll be Canadians other than me at the next Friendly Green Conference to take the pressure off me....

jo(e) said...

1)Queen of West knew about Friendly Green coming to Beautiful Island because she read it on my blog last June.

2)This means I am better at outreach than Richard.

3)Therefore, he owes me a naked photo for my blog.

AF said...

Great photo--you had lovely material to work with on this one too, so some of the credit goes to the subject here.

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Wait a minute! Richard and I are at the same university! That's cool and insane! (And now makes sense why jo(e) and the Friendly Greens are coming to my city!)

And I did know that Friendly Green is coming to town! And I'm going to find ways to check it out, even though my research is neither Friendly nor Green! (And I'm addicted to exclamation points!) That's how good jo(e) is at outreach.

I am seriously giddy about the idea of bloggers coming to town. I've been complaining for years that no one comes anywhere close to here, and so everyone's having cool blogger meet-ups and everyone else has met jo(e). And now people are coming here!

(So, I have about a year and a half to get out of having a nude picture taken of me? What if I mentioned my mother is a lurker on this blog?)

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Correction: jo(e)'s expertise at research has nothing to do with my exclamation point addiction. But with my desire to attend a conference that will only marginally have anything to do with my research.

jo(e) said...

Queen of West: Both my mother and father lurk on this blog, so that's no excuse! (I once posted a photo of me sitting naked on the kitchen table -- it was supposed to be this meditative, zen-like pose -- and my mother called that afternoon to say, "I hope you washed the table."

I am looking forward to meeting you in 2009!

jo(e) said...

AF: Oh, and you're right, of course. She's beautiful -- it would be hard to take a bad photo of her.

Anonymous said...

i go to the wrong kind of conferences. no one has ever offered to take a naked photo of me.

kathy a. said...

i recall conferences in my youth when people wanted to get me nekkid -- but in that creepy way. thanks a lot, mr. professional mentor! i'll never forget you!

it goes without saying that a 50-ish mother gone to gray, a lumpish figure, and "sun damaged" skin is no longer bothered by silly old boys.

Sue said...

Another lovely photo to add to your collection!

Silver Creek Mom said...

You never cease to amaze me. Great photo. All these maked (way my son says it) make me smile.

I applaud

julieunplugged said...

Your naked friends have gorgeous bodies.

ranaverde said...

What is it with teh menz never wanting to be nekkid? *grin*

(For the record, it is in fact possible to be female and spend time with jo(e) and NOT end up naked on her blog... well, so far.)

About the use of names... I think there might be a _bit_ of sense to the "real writers write under their real names" logic - only in the sense that it's difficult to get professional or monetary credit for your work if you're writing under a pseudonym.

On the other hand, many of the things I've written over the years on the blog were public/personal and NOT for money (just like I'd never sell photos of my family, nor publish an unedited version of my journals).

I think for some writers the personal/public boundary is very crisp, so they can easily see all of their writing appearing under their Real Names; others of us need to make the decision from piece to piece, and having a separate name for different sorts of writing makes sense.

Of course, by now my pseudonym probably has more cachet than my real name - how ironic is that? - and I find myself contemplating "outing" myself as a way to link up the reputation with the professional and for-sale work - offline at least, where there's a modicum of control, if not online.

Wayfarer Scientista said...

gorgeous

Picky Mick said...

Your conference, and conference mates, sound like great fun. And at least one looks good naked. I'm green with envy.

jo(e) said...

Picky Mick: Well, if my conference travels ever bring me to your part of the country, I hope you will pose naked for the blog. My readers would love it ....

Picky Mick said...

Make it in summer, please. Winter in the Prairie States can be rough.

I don't want to suffer from exposure . . .