“There are two kinds of writers, those who are and those who aren’t. With the first, content and form belong together like soul and body; with the second, they match each other like body and clothes.” (Karl Kraus)
My mouth dried, either I was about to really unload my secret identity to someone other than my family, my agent, my lawyer, and, most recently, sort of, to Bill and Dan or try to lie my way out of this predicament! I didn’t want to do that, especially if I wanted any kind of trusting relationship with Lee Fielding. He was someone special and I wasn’t all that keen on bringing this relationship to an end before it even got a good healthy start, beyond our first day and night of intimacy. Yet, I was tossed and confused, my mind all akimbo, and my nervousness increasing, speculating on the “what if’s” more than just laying it all on the table and letting him be the judge. Would he be accepting what I did for a living? What if he was the type that couldn’t stand being in a relationship with someone who might just have a little more money and security than he had? Hell, I had money in the bank, a good career that paid well, a house, and a nice camper; I had no idea what or if he had anything – well, he did have something, that’s for certain and it was substantial!
Some people are strange when it comes to who has what and how much (other than the size of the cock and it usually seems the other guy has a bigger one). Was Lee Fielding one of those (leaving the cock part out, but if he did I’d give it a little “ah toot” just for the hell of it) who might be jealous of my position? However, if he loved me as I loved him, it wouldn’t make any difference would it?
Lee continued to look at me, gazing deeply into my eyes, not with a desire to know, but one of giving me a choice, allowing me to make the decision on what and how much I wanted to tell him without any negative recourse from him.
“Okay, here’s the deal!” I began, taking a deep breath.
“I’m a writer; not the usual type, but one who writes romance novels; those paperbacks found in book stores, big box stores, and other places. The novels I write are generally straight, not gay, historical romances. Can you imagine, a gay man writing straight romances?”
Lee nodded, “Yeah, just because someone writes murder mysteries doesn’t necessarily mean he or she committed murders or condones it, just writes about it.”
He paused, smiled that sexy smile of his, and carefully asked, “How and why did you get started in that particular venue?”
Lee sounded generally interested and no one bit condescending or critical, almost as one artist, but of a different interest or talent, seeking information from another. I settled back and unloaded my strange story of writing success; the books I’d read inspiring me to seek some sort of livelihood for myself, the books I’d written, and the pen name I used as a writer. He found the latter particularly hilarious! Not once, during my dialogue, did he ask how much I made but did ask if I thought I was a successful writer and a good one!
The first part of his question was particularly easy to answer, if one considered the money I made and fan mail my agent received in “Annie Palmer’s” name. The second part was much more difficult!
“I think,” I answered slowly, “I’m a passable writer, but not in the same caliber as Walt Whitman, Ernest Hemmingway, or others. I always seem to think I can edit and rewrite and do a better job. I would suppose I’m my own worst critic! Readers sometimes correct those errors my editors and I miss, but they are kind about it and I learn from them.”
Writing is hard work; it takes not only dedication and time, but a desire to tell a story; a story that grows and grows in your head until you just have to commit it to print or laptop. However, even though you have this terrific idea of a story that you feel you must tell, there is the research to do in order to set time, place, historical events, and a multitude of other facts, figures, or events to consider. Even then, the story is still just a “story” in your head, not something you wish to present to your readers.
I was once told, the first time you write, you write from the heart; the second time you write the story, it’s from the mind! Writers are artists, craftsmen of storytelling, and weavers of dreams; allowing their readers to enter the fictionalized world of love, daring-do, adventure, heart-ache, and the entire gamut of emotions and experiences the human heart, mind, and body encounters. Crafting the right words, those descriptors called adjectives or adverbs as modifiers, to paint the picture in the reader’s mind of what you want them to envision concerning your story and your characters requires experimenting with those words until you finally decide which one to use.
Finally, it’s time to organize your thoughts and put those down in written form. The opening paragraph or prologue, will set the scene and either draw your audience into your story or cause them to graze in another pasture for something they find more palatable! Written from the heart, the mechanics of writing, those pesky things called punctuation, usage, etc. become the bane of all writers. Thank Heaven for spell check, but it doesn’t capture all of your mistakes.
“Very much like an artist working with oils, water colors, stone, wood, or photography,” Lee observed thoughtfully. “Each work has its own design or story in it; you, as an artist just must reveal it to others so they can see and feel what you do. Can you imagine how Michelangelo felt when his ‘David’ was complete and he stood back and watched people view it; Ansell Adams and his black and white photos of Yosemite or Robert Mapplethorpe and his portraits of black males?”
“Those are talents I wish I possessed,” I confessed, “but I, like you Lee, work for it continually.”
Sitting quietly, facing each other, understanding completely and unequivocally how the other felt, and sharing it without any more spoken words cemented our minds in a similar fashion our sexual union linked bodies, now souls, together. Our thoughts were interrupted by Lee’s cellphone ringing. His mom wondered if he was going to come home today, since he’d mentioned he had some things to store while he decided what he was going to do.
Smiling at me, Lee nodded his head, answering, “Mom, I’ll be home in about an hour. Oh, by the way, I have someone with me I want you to meet!” and hung up.
Grinning, he asked, “Does that offer to join you on the Pecatonica still hold?”
I answered by leaning over the table and kissed him!
Riding in the passenger seat of Lee’s pickup, rolling, clicking and clacking over the metal-decked bridge crossing the mighty river, we were treated to not only a panoramic view of the wide river, but it’s bays, sloughs, wooded islands and lowlands, but to the cliffs and tree-clustered bluffs and small plateaus where sufficient topsoil existed for growth and sustenance. While we traveled, I discussed the possibility of him illustrating my books, saving me some money, yet earning him some as well! He seemed amicable to the idea. It was a beautiful day and a delightful trip!
Lee turned left up a winding county road bordering the Upper Iowa River and about twenty minutes later, we drove down the short lane to his parent’s home.
“We actually farm three different places,” he explained, “this is the home place where I and my brothers and sister were born, and two others my older brothers live on and farm as well. It’s all owned by a corporation my dad formed to take advantage of tax breaks and ease any losses which might occur. So far, we’ve been fairly lucky. Of course, Dad is one hell of a farmer and manager, so that helps!”
The two older brothers were the active partners in the corporation while Lee and his sister, an attorney in La Crosse, were minor partners since they weren’t active in the day-to-day operations and work. They were compensated according to what their contributions were, but did receive a yearly stipend from the corporation regardless. It wasn’t a great deal, but seemed agreeable to all concerned.
I didn’t need to ask what type of farming this branch of the Fielding Family was engaged in since my agent informed me when I visited with her earlier. Her information was confirmed as we drove past a fairly substantial herd of Black Angus cattle pasturing in a fenced in area next to the lane. A large hog confinement building, along with outside pens, and the sounds of squeals, snorts, and metal feeder lids banging was sufficient to convince me of the hogs they raised as well.
Lee’s pickup barely finished rolling to a stop when we were greeted, not by barking dogs, but, bounding down the steps, one arm in a cast and sling, his younger brother Luke. He was every bit as handsome as his older brother! Grinning from happiness, eager to see his older brother, running toward the truck, Luke came to an abrupt halt, took a tentative step forward, and proceeded slowly, shyly after he spotted me in the front seat. Lee quickly climbed out of the driver’s side, moved rapidly toward Luke, wrapped his arms around him, and hugged him lovingly!
“Luke,” he said, “I’d like you to meet my boyfriend, Chad Bentley.” Turning to me, he said, “Chad, I’d like you to meet my brother Luke; my best friend and constant companion when I’m home and the most handsome Fielding in the whole valley!”
Luke bowed his head slightly, clearly embarrassed, yet pleased, by his brother’s remarks. He shifted his position so he was half-standing behind Lee, as if seeking his protection from me, before extending his good hand toward me in a gesture of greeting, and said a soft, “Hi!”
Taking his hand, I smiled back, and offered my own “Hi!” in response, adding, “I thought your brother Lee was the most handsome man on the planet, but I think he has some competition.”
I stepped back, nodded my head in thoughtful consideration, and added, apologetically, “I’m sorry if I offend you when I say, I think I’ll stick with my boyfriend; okay?”
My remark engendered a laugh from Lee and a soft giggle from Luke. Lee nudged him, “Looks like you’re out of luck little brother!”
A man and a woman stepped off of the porch to greet us.
“I’m Becky Fielding,” the woman said with a welcoming smile, “mother to these scamps.”
“Bob Fielding,” the man said, “these two trouble maker’s father.”
Lee quickly hugged his mom and dad, announcing with strong pride in his voice, “Mom and Dad please meet my boyfriend, Chad Bentley.”
As I shook hands and made my verbal greetings in return, I thought how ironic it was during my visit and here again at the Fielding Farm, no one in this entire conglomerate family of Fielding’s, Sorenson’s, or Iverson’s so much as raised an eyebrow or clucked their tongues at an announcement of someone being gay, lesbian, or anything! Perhaps they really don’t care since that’s what they’ve grown up with or have Bill and Dan had that much influence over the family? Society hasn’t always been so accepting and when Bill and Dan were growing up, homosexuality and the accompanying sodomy were against the law, bringing imprisonment or sometimes even worse to the alleged offenders.
The Fielding home was a well-kept two story frame home, roomy and welcoming. Lunch consisted of burgers on the grill and homemade potato salad. Becky and Bob, during our conversation at lunch, didn’t seem to pry concerning what I did for a living, although Bob did ask where my home was located. He seemed to be well-acquainted with the fact I was here to prepare a story of some sort concerning Dan and Bill and didn’t venture far into that area at all. He did comment they’d seen me at the celebration in the company of Lee and once Lee and I started to dance, figured I’d be a house guest in the near future.
“Lee’s never brought anyone home to meet us before,” Becky added.
“I never met anyone I wanted to bring home before,” Lee said quickly.
The conversation switched to Lee; what was he going to do now he wasn’t teaching. Was he going to seek another teaching job? Did he want to work here, at the farm, until something came along? Any plans at all?
“I have a couple of things in mind,” he answered. “I might be able to do some illustrating for Chad and I’ve never given up on the notion of an art studio, framing shop, gallery store someday. I do need some time to work out all of the logistics of the operation including funding and I do need to build up my inventory of personal art pieces I’d offer for sale. I’ve thought some of the wildlife I have could be offered as signed, numbered prints, if I can find a publisher. There’s just a lot to think about before I commit fully to the project.”
The entire time Lee was talking, Luke never took his eyes off of me! If I was reading him correctly, there was a certain sense of jealously in those eyes for taking his hero, his brother, from him and a deeper fear of never being able to see him again if he moved away with me. The questions and uncertainty flowing from him would have to be addressed- and soon, I thought!
“Lee,” he said suddenly, “when we’re done, I’ve got some things to show you in my room.” As an after-thought, he added, “You can come too, Chad, if you want.”
Of course I wanted and when we were excused and the table cleared, I followed the two of them through the living room to the stairs leading to the second floor. On the way through the living room, noticing a nice looking upright studio piano against one wall, I asked, “Who plays?”
“I do,” answered Luke and bounded up the stairs two at a time, “but not very well.”
“Not very well, my foot,” snorted his brother. “He does all of the accompanying for school programs and music contests as well as competing too.”
“That used to be Lee’s room,” Luke said jerking a thumb over his shoulder at a room across the hall from his.
I thought Luke’s room would be reminiscent of a typical teen boy’s bedroom; bedlam, messy, and highly ripe from clothes that needed laundry. How wrong I was! He was no different than his older brother, fastidious, neat, and orderly. The walls were nicely adorned with framed photos of landscapes, farm animals, wildlife, flowers, and a general assortment of subjects. Scattered here and there were several art works, which I assumed were Lee’s.
“Look,” Luke said to Lee as he pointed at an absolutely adorable photo of a newborn fawn, resting in the grass, it’s head raised, nose reaching out to contact the nose of its mother, as she appeared to be welcoming the newborn into the world. The lighting, centering, color, and design of the photo seemed professional in every way.
Lee studied it, rubbed his chin as Luke waited in anticipation.
“Really nice!” he said, nodding his head, “I think this is one you should enter for competition at the county fair.”
“Are all of these yours?” I asked cautiously.
“Yeah, all the photos; the other sketches and art work was done by Lee.”
Luke was a damned good photographer for a person his age. It must run in the family. While they were visiting about his photography, I looked around his room some more. In one corner, resting in stands were a five string banjo and a flat-top acoustical guitar. On his desk, was a violin case which, I assumed, held a violin as well.
Lee saw me looking and before I could ask said, “Yeah, he plays those as well. Luke is one of those people naturally gifted it seems, but enjoys the instruments as well.”
We visited some more, Lee and Luke sitting on the bed and me, I sat on the desk chair. I could sense Luke wanted to ask more of his brother but seemed hesitant with me there. Finally, I decided to leap into the breach and broach a subject I knew had Luke troubled.
“Luke,” I said, “Lee might be moving in with me over at my place on the Pecatonica. Would I embarrass you if I asked if you would ever want to visit or stay with us sometime? I know it’s a great deal to ask, but I’m certain Lee would miss not having you around and so would I. In the short time I’ve known you seem so talented and fun to have around, it really would be an honor to have you over – if you ever wanted, that is.”
Clearly, that pleased him by the grin on his face!
“Anytime?” he asked.
“Anytime!” I responded. “Of course, I hope you’ll welcome me here when Lee and I come over for a visit as well!”
Again, Luke just grinned his happiness and acceptance.
We finally said our goodbyes, with promises to come back soon, since I didn’t know when I would be done interviewing Dan and Bill.
“Those boys can talk forever,” Bob reminded me. “They’ve got quite the story to tell.”
Our drive back to the campground was interrupted when Lee suggested we stop at “Danny’s Rivers Edge” for a beer. We cozied up to the bar, got a couple of long-necks, and was going to sit there and enjoy them, when we were hailed by four older gentleman seated at a table to join them.
We pulled up chairs, the gentlemen nodded their greetings, and one asked, “You’re that writer fella’ aren’t yah?”
I nodded and waited!
“Trying to gather up all you can about the boys, right?”
Again I nodded, not quite expecting where this was going, but patient enough to find out without pressing.
“Did the boys tell you about Bill first coming to school and Danny getting his ass tossed out for a good week when he stepped up and beat the living b-Jesus out of another kid?”“Hold on,” another of the group interjected quickly, “it wasn’t for fighting, it was for what he did afterwards.”
Thank you for reading “Fielding Boy” – Chapter Twelve- “There are two kinds of writers, those who are and those who aren’t. With the first, content and form belong together like soul and body; with the second, they match each other like body and clothes.” (Karl Kraus)
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