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This year’s story is inspired by an image a young female friend posted on her Facebook this summer of a young female acquaintance of hers who attended a Rammstein concert in Québec City topfree. Not completely. She wore electrical tape pasties. I don’t know how old she is, but a mutual friend (male) is 20.

A few things struck me. First, she had to convince security she was legal. Her post has since been deleted (a shame she probably incurred abuse) but I believe she confronted them rather sternly. Yeah! Second, I was there. I didn’t see her, and I didn’t attend the concert; but I was exactly where she had her confrontation outside the gates.


Rammstein fans lingering around the fountain in front of the Québec Parliament building


My wife and I were visiting the city that very same evening . We were on our way to Toronto and I wanted to see the Parliament (my 2011 novel has a scene at the fountain). The property was all dug up and many of the statues removed, but we walked the grounds amid the crowd of heavy metal fans. The Plains of Abraham across the road were packed, and thousands more were walking up the hill to try to squeeze in.




Somewhere out here a young Saint John woman is going topfree and having a blast

Third, I’d like to consider myself a fighter of equal rights for everybody. A woman, any woman, should be able to pull off her top and enjoy the weather just as any man can. Why they cannot speaks to the growth we have not yet attained as a  human race. It’s one thing for a young Canadian girl to do this in a large crowd in Québec City, arguably the most progressive North American city. It’s quite another to do it in America’s Jesusland where she might be severely ridiculed or jailed or in a Muslim country where she might be killed. Fourth, she was young. My research suggests most women who go topfree are a bit older. Not much but they are more mature, are wiser, maybe have worked up their courage over time. I don’t really know. I am a 55 year old white male with almost no credibility to write such a story.

My story is about a young 17 year old school student who goes top free. I am writing it in three parts: the father, the girl, and the mother. The same story from three points of view. I should be able to write the father okay, except he is totally not me and I am struggling with his words and actions. I consider myself open-minded, socially liberal (fiscally conservative), agnostic, and … meh when it comes to such things as nudity. You want to run around town buck naked? That’s how we used to do it before we left Africa. Go for it. As long as you keep your pecker to yourself. Listening and fighting with right-winged fundies has helped me, especially during this election season. I think I can see their binary, authoritarian, idiotic minds, but I really don’t understand them. When I write a man objecting to a woman breastfeeding in a coffee shop,  I feel like I’m writing satire; because I see absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Writing the girl scares me. I haven’t started yet. I have had discussions though with both young women and young men. I might be scared, but I am looking forward to writing her. My beta readers will have a field day with me. The tricky part is finding the situation where it can be accepted as natural, and not on a nude beach or behind gates and fences. Out in the open, in public, not in protest.

The mother I have yet to settle on, but so far she’s turning out to be a mess. She capitulated to her desires for freedom by marrying the young, white, privileged rich kid. Her life’s been easy but empty. She’s an alcoholic and … much more. She could be a lot of fun.

I don’t know how this will turn out. The first 5,000 words have me excited, but writing a novel is a long road. If it gets published — two more years at least before submission — you can read it and maybe understand what I am going through. If not, let’s just say I now look at women differently. I think I’ve always been pretty progressive. I treat women with full respect. I admire, appreciate, and am attracted to them as well, and there are battles. I’ve been raised with this religious-dominated view that nudity is desirable but wrong, attractive but repulsive. A bag of mixed messages. I think I have just about sorted myself out.