So last Friday I was at Midwest Men’s Festival with extremely iffy Internet access and so…no Furry Friday. I could have gone ahead and done it a week ahead of time but then I was thought I might not have access at all and then it would have been posted here and no one would have known about it. Therefor to make up for it, I thought I would present some Faeries, some real ones, for you this post. There are some beautiful men here of all types and ages. No poll though. I think they are all perfect and no need for a favorite!
So, it’s just two days until I head to Midwest Men’s Festival. And in fact, the event doesn’t truly begin until Tuesday, but for years R and I have set up our “camp” early. We sell sarongs at MMF, it’s the only time we ever “vend.” Turns out in weather as hot as July you really don’t want to wear much of anything and there aren’t too many actual naturists in the group of men who attend each year. Sarongs are ideal. They hind your privates and keeps you free. After discovering a sarong, I never understood why anyone would hate skirts and prefer pants. No way. Nuh-uh.
Anyway, to set up all the clothes lines and everything so that they are displayed in a nice place and be seen, you have to get there before the throng or those good spaces might be claimed already. So years ago we started going early and setting up and then going home. It’s a little over an hour drive each way. But then it occurred to me. We were set up. We had to pay for those extra days. I didn’t work Sunday and Monday in those days. Why shouldn’t I go ahead and stay? It gave me some private time and I also got to see everyone arrive. It was wonderful.
And in time, more and more men did the same thing. This year fully half the registered attendees are arriving by the first day! This is a ten-day event. A lot of faeries can’t come to the whole thing and only do a long weekend.
This year I am working a different schedule. I have to work Sunday and Monday and Tuesday, plus the next week early days as well. I didn’t have enough vacation accrued. So…I am working Sunday, and as soon as they will let me go…I am outta there and on my way to Camp Gaea Sanctuary. I also know that a number of men who show up on Sunday each year *aren’t* this year. And while that is a little sad, I am also kind of excited. It’s going to be like those years where I was one of the very first on the land.
And it will allow me some alone time. I can walk a woodland path…all by myself. I can go to the sacred places—just me and…nature. I can commune. I can go for a swim. I can get up that first morning and sit on the porch of our cabin and write.
This last year has been rough with a lot of stuff going on. But I have also grown and become a more fully realized self. I have been growing happier and happier and more fulfilled. And I need some magick time.
This is going to be an amazing festival. And I can’t wait!
BG “Ben” Thomas
Only five days and I will be heading to Midwest Men’s Festival and I couldn’t be happier. If you have read my book Summer Lover, I have fictionalized the event in that book. It is my spiritual home away from home and I cannot wait!
Before I sign off, here is everything you need to know about the fictional version of Midwest Men’s Festival! Enjoy!
Book Two of the Seasons of Love Series
Scott Aberdeen doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. Or love—at least, he knows no one will ever love him. After all, he has carried a torch for his best friend Sloan for a decade, hoping his feelings will be returned one day. But when Sloan finds springtime love with another man, Scott’s fantasies are crushed and his skepticism confirmed.
Cedar Carrington, raised by rock star parents, leads a free-spirited, nomadic life, never staying in one place for long. Due to a dark past he refuses to share or even think about, he is willing to let men into his bed for sex, but never for the night.
When Scott finds himself camping in the middle of nowhere with over a hundred men who all believe in love—and faeries and a magickal gay brotherhood—he’s pretty sure he’s in the wrong place. And when Cedar connects with cynical, critical Scott, he wonders how he could be falling in for this man of all men. But hearts and lives have been transformed at the Heartland Men’s Festival before, and it might be just the place where two very different men can release their pain and find true love at last.
Tomorrow is day two of the six day stretch of enforced overtime, but thanks to Jan Valdez I am going to start counting down to Midwest Men’s Festival instead. It was way too great an idea.
For those of you who have read my book Summer Lover, the “Heartland Queer Men’s Festival” is patterned after the Midwest Men’s Festival that I go to each year. Over ten years now!
I actually get to Camp Gaea two days before Festival starts and observe happily as my fellow Faeries arrive. It’s wonderful.
R helps set up and then head home for a few days. Doesn’t usually arrive until Wednesday or Thursday ad that’s okay. He doesn’t love the nature seclusion as much as I do and I get a little alone time. And one on one time with a few of my very favorite Faeries like Domi and Cim and Greg. I love that too.
I will get up the first day and write write write and hopefully get a lot of writing done! I also hope I finish edits on a certain well anticipated book before I leave, but that depends on how many more overtime days there are left. Send me some good vibes.
And now I will think of my brothers and how much I love them and now I can’t help but smile!
Gentle Ben (my Faerie name)
So I am home from the Midwest Men’s Festival 2014.And I had an amazing time! So very wonderful and so hard to come home!
I walked and walked and walked! I can hardly believe it! There were times I was in tears with joy and gratitude knowing that I COULD WALK! And for those of you who don’t know, in the last few years I have had both my knees replaced. It used to be that every single step was agony. And now? I can walk!
So much wonderful fellowship and new friends, including the simply amazing young man named Cameron.
I had my official release party for my new book, Summer Lover, and within ten minutes sold every copy that I brought with me! I can hardly believe it! And it was my first release party! It was so exciting and everyone was so supportive. Sold a chunk of my old books as well.
See, what was so exciting for me is that this event, Midwest Men’s Festival, was the inspiration for my book Summer Lover. MMF changed my life.
Here is what MMF says about itself:
Begun in 1982 as a regional gathering for men exploring changes in their lives and roles, Midwest Mens Festival has grown in size and scope over the years to encompass men from many parts of the nation, indeed the world, who represent diverse walks of life, age, and personal experience.
Although the Midwest Men’s Festival is attended primarily by gay men, many of whom are involved in earth-centered spirituality, men of varied cultural or ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, or spiritual beliefs are invited and encouraged to attend.
Festival provides a place where men can come together for sharing and individual growth, and it fosters interpersonal interactions and community building, while respecting boundaries and encouraging supportive, non-competitive self-expression. Festival is a pleasant place to have fun and create friendships. Whatever your sexuality, race, or creed, Festival can provide the opportunity to explore personal and collective growth, joy, nurturing, and change.
And Festival has done all those things for me and more. Which is why I had to write about it–sort of. I took liberties. But I have also had friends who attend and who read my book say some wonderful things about Summer Lover. Including that if he were to want to help someone who had never been to Festival what it was all about, he would have them read my book.
So how wonderful and miraculous that the official release party and release date happened at Midwest Men’s Festival! It was an amazing blessing!
Happy to be home but sad it will be a year before I see my close friends again!