In So Many Words
A man is on a journey. His car breaks down near a country gas station in the middle of the night. A beautiful woman awaits him. As a consequence of his entanglements with her, she disrobes. The traveler comes unraveled. Writing several lines of poetry prior to being committed, he spends his time in a psychiatric hospital composing many more. At novel length, they detail how far the people around her would go to cover up a naked woman.
“I’m fifty years old, somewhat overweight and naked for the summer,” Andi Everson writes in a message when describing herself in The Sketchbook. Andi’s ordeal is recorded in the drawings and notes of the artist, Caleb Mackay. He takes her to stay at his cabin. She finds a new life in the neighboring town. The details of it are told by the writer friend upon whom they bestow Caleb’s sketchbook and who makes it the basis of his novel. Will Andi lose her nerve or prove how the sight of a body is harmless after all?
Los Angeles, California: A nude woman recorded in a series of photographs starting in 1899 hasn’t aged a day by 1946. Her timeless allure causes a death that year. The pictures stop. A cosmetic surgeon recovers her image in 1974, becomes another victim and exposes a boy to the mystery. The child of four, by 2019, is a grown-up artist who renounces the figure, depicts only objects and doesn’t know why. The answer lies at the heart of a horror and the dawn of a city more than a century earlier.
A Short Story: The Choker Alone
Angelica, the most talented artist in her class, agrees to pose for the group when their regular model is absent. Her boyfriend, although having pressured her into wearing revealing outfits in the past, turns out to be her biggest critic. Can she endure the humiliation?
Will and Testament
Eventually, the figure studies in a sketchbook were fewer than where the lines of writing had taken over. They formed a shorter piece of fiction yet, a while later, grew into the introductory chapter of a novel (how it happened is recounted in A Story Born Again). As with the rest of In So Many Words, a rhythm and rhyme artfully elevate a rejection of — and obsession with — the nude.