Monday, July 14, 2008


Dani Greer

Naked Came the.... What?

“Naked Came the Stranger” was a book written in the late 1960s as a critical statement of the demise of good writing in those times. Meant to be a spoof of sex-riddled novels, it was cobbled together by a group of journalists who each wrote a chapter without knowing what came in the chapters prior, then handed the manuscript to the next irreverent writer. The book (not surprisingly and though horribly written by intent), became a bestseller and a cult classic. It also spawned a series of copycat tomes written, we might speculate, as much in a spirit of fun as for the creative exploration. I don't think the idea has ever been explored in the most creative way of all though – by Creatives themselves exploring the subject of creativity. But why not?

Think how a group project like this could stimulate the creative juices. I could start with Chapter One, explaining to readers that very most vital aspect of the creative process, at least to my way of thinking. Then I could hand off my essay to another “imagineer” – all the better if I don't know the person - who would read my chapter and either build on the concepts presented, or flat-out refute them in his own Chapter Two. Then Writer Three would take over, and so on. What fascinating ground the exploration might reveal!

After a dozen or so rounds of progressively more challenging ingredients, some creative cook would have to whip the dish together into a seeming whole. Perhaps an experienced creativity coach could add the final touches. Someone with the flair to frost a dozen opinionated and lively essays, and add meaning to the mix.

And what would we call a progressive piece of writing like this? How about “Naked Came the Muse”? It might not even have to end with one go-round. Wouldn't the concept work as a classroom assignment? A group of writers could as easily use the tactic to write a book about creative writing. The technique would work for painters, too. Or even engineers, some of the most creative minds on earth, despite their bad publicity to the contrary.

Could we have a series as popular as Chicken Soup for the Soul here? Hope springs eternal! Well, who knows where ideas like this can lead - we could have a blast just taking on the challenge for no reason but to see what might develop.

Which just goes to show you that sometimes a really bad idea is the best way to get to a potentially good one. More on that thought in a future post.


Dani Greer, professional artist and writer, explores the heights and depths of creativity on the very flat High Plains. Her new blog, News From Nowhere, will explore other crazy ideas propagated by too much sun and wind.


Lois J. de Vries said...

Dani, you just gave me a great idea for a gardening book. Thanks!

©Hotbutton Press said...

You're welcome... have fun!