19 Days and Counting

August 15, 2011

Click below for Parts 1-7 of my  Burning Man essay:

Part 1    Part 2     Part 3     Part 4     Part 5     Part 6

Part 7

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Unlike The Man, I am uncertain what fate lies ahead.  But I am alone, like him, standing on a pedestal, watching thousands of people staring up at me, looking for some truth, some answer, waiting for me to burn, wondering how long it will take before I crumble and fall.

The BM festival is essentially about survival.  Surviving the harsh winds of the desert, the sun that scorches your skin, making you delirious, confused, like that game where you place your forehead to the butt of a bat and spin and

spin and spin then try to weave your way back to home base, running into opponents, trying to make out your team’s shouts to lead you back.  Even with all the people running around you and your own team calling you home, you are still alone on that playing field.  It is up to you and you alone to find your way home.

Instead of overcoming life’s realities I merely found a place to escape where those fears were not present.  They still existed, but were stifled by acceptance and the magnitude of art and creativity.  The burning man festival will change you.  It’s hard not to be affected in some way by the massive art pieces, bass-heavy electronic music, costumes and commune-type life-style.  But it will not equip you with the armor you need to go back into the real world and face your real problems.

It’s depressing to go back home, to realize the festival is a living breathing entity that can’t exist forever, disappearing into the dust storm until the next year when it is resurrected again, just like the Man.  I went to burning man with the hopes of returning empowered, but in the weeks that followed, I was more depressed, more worried about my future.  This is what i called Decompression.  The BM website claims it is about returning home and reconnecting with friends and family, sharing and creating new art.  For me, decompression was depression, realizing I would only feel accepted and self worthy for that one week.  That a majority of the people back home wouldn’t understand the appeal of this type of lifestyle.  Months after being home, eyes gloss over when I talk about the festival as if I just returned the week before.  Coming home made me realize how alone I truly am.

And i can’t wait to return.  To be amongst like-minded people.  People who share their map with you and escort you to the bathroom.  People who will hug you just a little bit tighter and a little bit longer than normal.

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Dubsteppin’

September 19, 2010

Once a month, there is (sadly, only) one place in Cleveland you can go hear dubstep music.  I have been looking forward to this night at Touch ever since my return from the desert.  I’ve been grasping for anything that will recreate even a second of what i experienced at Burning Man.

Headliner DJ Chef laid out some wicked beats, which did take me back to those nights on the playa.  Music has that amazing ability to transport you into a euphoric mindset.    But music wasn’t the only element that made Burning Man so great. 

While i was in the restroom, i met a girl who happened to be from San Francisco.  About 95% of the people i met at Burning Man were from San Francisco.  Not too surprising as that was where the event originated.  I immediately loved this girl.  We chatted about how awesome the music was and our Burning Man stories.  All i want to talk about is Burning Man.  Talking about it keeps it close.  Keeps it alive.

Later that night as i moved up towards the DJ booth, i found myself behind the SF girl.  She turned around recognizing me and jump-hugged me.  I felt so at home i wanted to cry.  And i loved her even more.  I miss a lot of things about Burning Man.  One of those is the hugs.  You can’t meet anyone without getting a hug.  There was even a booth devoted to giving out free hugs.

I knew the dubstep would temporarily rekindle my Burning Man flame, but the hug, that one hug from pretty much a stranger, that will carry me just a little bit longer.

Burned by the Burn

September 10, 2010

There are so many stories, thoughts, concepts, and musical revelations i want to share, but i’m still processing it all, trying to come to terms that i’m back in the “real world” and grasping for anything that will take me back to the desert. 

I foresee many posts about my virgin burn.  I don’t know if i’m capable of fully encompassing my experience with words, but i know i have to try.  I can’t thank my campmates (and those i met) enough for making my burn extraordinary.