ORIGINS: “Drifting Naked” by Sarah Segal

night-swimmingIn today’s ORIGINS, Sarah Segal talks about the inspiration for her flash fiction piece, “Drifting Naked,” which appears in the summer 2013 issue of jmww:

We necessarily make ourselves vulnerable when we’re intimate with others, whether physically or emotionally, and that self-exposure can invite menace rather than affection. While I never experienced or observed domestic abuse myself, I have found myself in situations where I did feel endangered as a result of self-exposure, and that is something I think we all deal with on a variety of levels, wherever we are in our lives.

Growing up, I was physically and safely intimate with my parents and siblings, and that was so relieving to me as a child. That physical intimacy is what made my childhood so idyllic, but also integral to how I relate to others. There were nights when my family and I did swim naked in our pool, as in “Drifting Naked,” and those were nights when we were the least inhibited around one another. My siblings and I felt free to express ourselves (without acting inappropriately) and when we swam, we adopted a sort of “we” mentality rather than seeing ourselves as separate people.

When I came of age and started to date, I came to experience physical intimacy with others outside of my family, sometimes not so positively. However, these experiences were elemental to my current relationship with my body, which is very different from the relationship I had with my body when I was a child. I was a girl, but now I’m a woman. That relationship will always change, and that dynamic is very interesting to me.


Sarah Segal lives in Fairfax, Virginia but spends most of her time working with deaf and hard of hearing students in Montgomery County, Maryland. She has work published or forthcoming in a few publications, including From the Depths, Deaf Lit Extravaganza, (an anthology), and dirtcakes. She is pursuing an MFA in poetry at American University in Washington, DC.

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