Posts Tagged ‘preparing for Burning Man’

Let’s meet inside

December 15, 2010

Wednesday, December 15

While I’m at work, my temp job, dutifully entering data in very pleasant surroundings, I want to write. I think the best place, a cure for writer’s block or procrastination, is writing where you shouldn’t, when you’re being paid to do something else. The creativity flows like coffee from the break room. I hear voices telling funny stories, voices not connected to any face or body I’d recognize, drifting quietly across the room. Stories that make me laugh or annoy me or think about something else and then something else and I want to write it down, incorporate it into those pages and pages that are going somewhere, eventually but for now sit in a file on my laptop.

I feel the same way about sleep. It’s so easy and luscious to doze off, when and where it’s socially not the thing to do. At any desk, in any office, in any town, in any country, it’s so easy to give in to heavy eyelids getting heavier, umm, just a few minutes to become refreshed. I have to admit, sometimes at social or family events, I just want to put my head down for a few minutes and check out. Yet, often at night, the click tick tocks, or rather the LED lights progress, showing time’s passing or late night TV shows become harder to find among the infomercials, wide awake.

And sex. Sex. How fun is it to have sex where you shouldn’t, when you shouldn’t, with who you shouldn’t? Very, right?

It’s all upside down – or rather inside out. I know that inside me, and you, is something else. It’s not a tangible organ, or mass of muscles, bones or blood. I’ve met mine a few times, its indescribable and life affirming.

It’s inside, but independent of the body and the mind, but its part of us.

It has no responsibility, except to be known.

So at my current job, which is temporary, until, until…I make sure I pull out my little Moleskine notebook and have it next to me  and as I work and listen and think, I jot down things: the funny conversations, how much I’d rather be practicing belly dancing or yoga, picturing the embellished bra I’m going to make, which tent I’m going to buy, friends, dreams, that guy, anything, to coax and nurture and nourish that pure light, pure creativity, pure acceptance, pure freedom, and the strength beyond comprehension, the immortality inside.

Last night I read or tried to read, the scribbles of a week or two worth of dreams I wrote down. Incredible to read, as if someone else went to those places and saw those things, nothing in my memory regarding them, yet my sleeping self recorded the journeys.

What does this have to do with Burning Man? Only everything to me.

I’m going again this year. Are you? I want to meet everyone.

“Are you looking for me?
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder is against yours.
you …will not find me in the stupas,
not in Indian shrine rooms,
nor in synagogues,
nor in cathedrals:
not in masses,
nor kirtans,
not in legs winding around your own neck,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.”
— Kabir



Getting there

September 30, 2010

Monday, August 30

I drove the whole way, happily. The first hint of indescribable beauty snuck up on us on the drive. We took a slight detour in Reno, rounded a bend and my heart leaped out of my chest when I saw magnificent Pyramid Lake. It’s absolutely one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I was enthralled. We drove around it one way then the other, a sensual and gorgeous thrill. These pictures are off the internet. I’ve never seen water this blue, these pictures are true.

While driving through Gerlach, the town closest to the desert, it rained. We just started laughing. We had not prepared for rain and we no longer cared what happened while we were there, we just wanted to be there and we had almost done it. It had seemed formidable and almost impossible. We (and everyone on the playa, we later learned) were treated to a magnificent double rainbow and could see the beginning and end.

We turned off the asphalt at about 8:30pm on Monday. I’m still not clear if this next part was 4 or 8 miles, but it was 4 lanes of vehicles waiting to get in. Far off to the right we could see what literally looked like Oz. We could make out the Man.

I’ve always thought that driving west on highway 24 at night, through the Caldecott Tunnel, then bursting through the other side and seeing San Francisco on a clear night was like seeing Oz.  I have to think of another comparison now.

We waited in line for about 3 hours but at the time, we had no idea how long we’d be in line or what to expect at the ‘end.’  Cars, campers, and RV’s stretched as far as the eye could see; people walked around, stretching their legs.  We considered we may sleep there and greet sunrise in the car, which was fine, we had all our food, water and our pee funnels and containers. Every 40 minutes or so, there was a burst of activity and we’d move.  We people watched, made jokes about every car and person and laughed a lot. Every time I called one woman who was walking up and down the lines of cars a Bedouin, P would erupt in giggles, then I would. We were giddy.

I had dressed to feel somewhat festive and free on the drive and it was working, an old gold knit sparkly camisole that had a hole in the hem, so I trimmed it, capri yoga pants and my boots. It was cold. At sunset I put on my sweater.

We finally reached K on our walkie talkie and he gave us the camp address, E and 7:30.  And then we were somehow at  the head of the line!  The car got searched, and we got hugged repeatedly, encouraged, made sand angels and rang a big bell proclaiming the loss of our virginity. Then we drove in.

Surreal doesn’t begin to describe it; dark streets, people and camps everywhere; music thumping from every direction. We found our camp.  K. was exhausted from setting up his huge camp that he was generously sharing with us and others, we told him to sleep and we’d set up our tent. It was about 35 degrees. I was freezing, exhausted, overwhelmed, but got through it. We got the tent up, got the sleeping bags and pillows in, dragged in some needed stuff, put on our sweats, I brushed my teeth, smoked a few bowls and we closed our eyes.

In the morning, we met our other campmates, figured out how to clean up and get out and got on our bikes. The dream I’d had in my head for 10 months was a reality. I was riding my bike on the playa.

Desert, Burning Man, Burners-do what you do to me

August 23, 2010

Monday, August 23

One week, ONE WEEK!

It’s challenging to find any other words than, “one week.”

Part of me doesn’t quite believe I’ll actually be there, at Burning Man, at Black Rock Desert.  Part of me is nervous about the unknown and simple things like how often will I visit the port-a-potties. On that note, I now have my lovely pink Freshette Feminine Urinary Director — aka known as the pee funnel– which gladdens my heart, (and thrills my mom).

Another part is truly ready to embrace whatever I feel there with kindness, humor and awe. I’m tempering my expectations, but I have a range of hopes and even thinking of the simplest thing, like sitting in the shade the first day, absorbing, letting new thoughts take over old ones is very beautiful to me.

I’m curious about the first few minutes or hours. Will I tie on a playa outfit? Or will I arrive in one? I’m interested in the transitional beginning. Does it feel like a game at first and then become real life? I’m exploring these things.

I haven’t shopped this much in a year, honestly. I still have more to go, but I truly believe I’m at the end of the list. Bike shop, final drugstore, camera shop, final Target (I’d like to be boycotting, I really NEVER shop there, so after this adventure, I’ll resume my Target celibacy), final thrift shop, then food.

I can’t wait until this part is over. I think I’ll enjoy packing more.

This is definitely “oh you had a plan?” situation. I decided to go in October, bought my ticket in January, plans fell apart in May and then I sat with the disappointment quietly doing nothing until two weeks ago a new, improved, marvelous plan and people emerged.  For someone who is dealing with over producing anxiety hormones, an amped up nature teamed with numbing out who prefers to plan slowly and steadily, this has been a physical test.  I’m proud to say, I’m passing.

At least every other day I’m in my car driving to a store and spending money, knocking things off my list, watching the pile of interesting and fun objects grow. There have been exciting moments, but when I get home, I almost deflate; I’m so weary of the consumption.  I hope I love it, cause I want to reuse and enjoy this stuff I’ve gotten.

I must get going now; I’m all ready way behind:  yoga, meeting, shopping, and writing.


Pink duct tape and safety pins

August 18, 2010

August 17, Wednesday

I’ve turned the corner and am racing towards the playa. The same wise and knowing friend, who gave me the fur jacket, emailed me today and wrote, “The playa provides.” And it has and I’m not even there yet.

Burner friends, how do you even function these days before the journey? I work my list on excel many times a day. I try to do/buy a little each day.  There’s so much to do and it’s all I want to do. I’m currently extremely underemployed; frankly I don’t know how people holding down this default world find the time to get it all together

I’m going to be the type of burner wearing thrift store finds, Target stuff; scarves tied every which-way and treasure I’ve discovered on the back of shelves or in boxes under more boxes. So far a few day looks and night looks. Boots for day and boots for night. And stuff and more, I think, I guess. Green eggs and ham.

The fellow we’re camping with seems to personify the playa doctrine of fun and generosity. I’m stoked that we have a little camp now to experience it with.

I’ve noticed:

  • I want to give people stuff, my time, smiles, I’m super patient and am cracking myself up
  • Compulsion to start my paper Burning Man journal tonight, I want to write it with pen & paper, I have another paper journal (and another blog of course), but this needs to stand alone.
  • Drawn to Henry Miller’s “Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch,” the community he lived with there sound like the first Burners to me.  I read little snippets all day. I might bring that along with me.
  • And I just want to keep talking about it, even if I just say the same things over and over. I also like dragging people inside so I can show them my inventory.

I’m wondering about a playa name, not feeling that yet and wondering if anyone uses their real name?

I love this picture-

Pee funnels and thighs of steel

August 11, 2010

Wednesday, August 11

My actual inventory is growing, I have purchased: huge tub of flushable wipes, 2 feet ziplock bags, a bike lock, goggles (nothing fancy), dust masks, flashlights, a couple great rings, and the best hat ever –the huge sun hat I’ve been lusting for, for so long.

Still need some funky clothes, the funnel and container, bike adornments…I’m getting there. Where is there? For a virgin, it’s like going to the moon. What am I heading towards?

I just read in John Curley’s blog how the playa conditions are crunchy and it’s windy and white. What am I expecting? I’m simply expecting to deal with whatever it is.I want to be enthralled by works of art I couldn’t have conceived, I want to ride my bike, I want to feel good, I want to rest and chill out if I feel like it and not feel pressured to be anything other than I am. I want to just be and accept whatever white and wind and dust comes my way, and say, cool, now I’ll do this…

I want to journal and look and gawp and think and not think.

Do only virgins get this nervous? Why do I feel it’s so insurmountable?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: Always do what you’re afraid to do.  I believe that. I don’t believe courage is an absence of fear, it’s climbing over it, slashing through it.

It’s Shiva and Vajra.

Keep the lights on

August 4, 2010

Wednesday, August 4

Silence interrupted.

Although I didn’t put my ticket up for sale, I was forced to admit to myself that not having a real friend to plan, get excited, nervous and ultimately adventure with was eclipsing the unimaginable experience. I didn’t want to go to Burning Man alone. I didn’t want to have to figure everything out for myself.  My mind created a perfect neurotic trifecta of defeat, fatigue and cowardice. All that research for nothing? Where else could I strut that fur coat? Where could I experience the extremes, the desert, the art and people and occurrences that were waiting to happen? I felt like I was wrestling with myself.

On top of that, rational and practical obstacles reared up. Not working full-time for six months has taken its toll and every dollar counts. Honestly, I was kind of relieved, now I could say, “Oh, yes, I was planning on going, but now I can’t afford it.” No one could argue with that, including me.

And so I sadly and gently closed the door to Burning Man 2010, but left a tiny jagged crack between fear and spirit to let in a glimmering sliver of light that would allow a solution, if there was one, to be illuminated.

And now less than four weeks away, I’m standing in a dazzling dappled patch of light.

After everything I’ve been through in the last 18 months; accepting and learning that some things will stay with me to be managed, the renewal process of being on the playa; however it happens is very symbolic to me. The excitement is building again. I’ve pulled out my lists.

I’m meeting with my potential new playa mate on Friday to talk it out. Yay light.


June 26, 2010

Friday, June 26

Last night I went to Mission Rock to hear artists present what they were creating for Burning Man this year.

I looked around at the groups of friends who came to listen and the teams of artists who all seem to know each other and I felt a real longing for Burner community.  It very much seems like a group effort although I’ve read of profound solo treks. And once there, is the solo traveler really welcomed in? What a challenge.

The words, images and artists themselves have played in my mind all day, becoming things I can see and begin to think about all ready.

I was mesmerized by sculptor Marco Cochrane’s presentation of “Bliss Dance.” He explained he’s exploring the feminine energy within the masculine structural materials that sculpting requires. I felt very dreamy as he spoke about his vision and showed slides of what will be a magnificent, sensuous and beautiful illuminated 40 foot dancing woman. He said participants will be empowered to dance freely in this space. He said something like, there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman dancing when she’s completely comfortable and free. They’ll have belly dancers and hula-hoopers too.  I’ll find this one.

Another one that caught me was “Syzygryd” by Interpretive Arson, False Profit Labs and GAFFTA. This will be a huge  music, light and fire interactive sculpture. Participants will create music on panels, each unique composition will become part of the collective symphony that’s being created by others at the same time. It will be a place where friends and strangers create “melodious compositions.” This sounds fantastic and marvelous. It reminds me of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” when we considered music was the universal and peace-making language of the cosmos. It made sense to me then and certainly does now. I can see participating and hanging out listening and watching the lights and fire for hours.

“Home,” by Michael Christian intrigued me. He spoke about the beauty of maps and called them “lace-like,” -a small poem. He expressed how he feels about cities and maps which struck a note. As I understood him, he explained how cities in reality can be disharmonious, not where one wants to be, but knowing cities through maps can connect a person to the city in another way. He’s exploring his love/hate relationships with cities. To know “of” a city versus knowing a city.  I also liked how he described how he works, “in process.”  He doesn’t have a lot of slides and drawings because he creates as he goes.

Tasty food for thought.

The theme:


June 20, 2010

Saturday, June 19

On what path am I meandering, on what sight just beyond the horizon have I set my mind’s eye?

This morning I took a car-camping class at REI. It made me want to go to a campsite within 200 miles with a favorite person, set up a cool little camp, hike during the day and have magical nights at our personal little campground.

(shaking my head to clear stardust) I’m not going to a campsite and I currently don’t have a favorite person, so maybe that can be autumn’s dream. Must stay focused on the task at hand which is me planning and following through on my solo trek to the playa.

Of course, the class wasn’t Burning Man centric but had lots of good tips.

My favorites:

  • cots  for the creaky
  • the image of playing frisbee all night in a meadow using glow discs and headlamps
  • hobo pie maker
  • rectangular vs. mummy sleeping bag
  • wearing a warm hat to bed
  • the importance of coffee
  • stainless steel margarita glasses
  • the two half-hitches knot

But the piece de resistance was the display outside where I saw this little sparkling jewel,

NEMO Morpho 2P

It’s NEMO’s Morpho tent, very expensive, but other than that minor detail, it seems absolutely perfect for me. I love it! The reviews say it’s worth it, it’s a keeper.  And I could dream my autumn dream…

Has anyone used this? I’d been planning on renting a tent, I haven’t checked yet to see if this is on the rental list, I sense that would be too good to be true.

All in all, I came away inspired.  Now all I need is a patron, a coach to keep me up and on task.


June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14

Inspiration’s been sleeping, maybe it’s on the fence, enjoying the weather.  Here’s what I’ve been doing, just so you know.

I attempted to go to a burning man event in Alameda a week or so ago, I thought I would try to work a hoop. Swirl the energy up from the earth with my womanly magic. I may have messed up. I thought the email said, reply back for the location, I did, but never got it.

I heard from Universal Babel Service, saying hi. I love them. I like old typewriters too. People and machines.

Every now and then I need to open the closet that holds stuff– including linens, wrapping paper, Christmas decorations, a lamp, clothes I can’t bear to part with and out of season threads – and I see the fur coat.

It’s awesome.

There’s been art and sunshine.

I went to a house party this past weekend featuring a blind wine tasting and a shy artist. His work was pleasing; it was hanging all over the house and covered a few subjects.  I particularly liked what I perceived as globs or globes of light among flowers in a vase. There were several depictions. Although I saw him watching me, he didn’t seem interested in chatting with me when I found myself near him and asked whether he liked whatever number wine we were tasting.  Just a watcher I guess.

The week before, I went to my good friend’s open studio. I loved hearing her talking about each piece, what she was thinking as she painted.  I bought this:

Saturday, all morning, the wind was careening down hills, through streets and pushing in windows. The window blinds were rattling each other, the metal levers and glass, the capiz lamp shade became a wind chime and the actual chimes for the doorbell swung gently into each other. Doors slammed until I secured each one.

It was a magnificent symphony, in one movement, courtesy, wind.

fertile dust

May 3, 2010

Sunday, May 2

On beautiful cool sunny Saturday  I walked along the lake to the farmers market, bought carrots, looked at many things and smiled at people as we passed.  I very consciously tried to stay open and receptive and breathed deeply and slowly to encourage that.

Trees in bloom bent and danced in the breeze, clouds of life holding pollen blew, travelling great distances on wind in search of places to thrive.

I’m wondering how burners feel all year long when people seem corked up like  half drunk bottles of wine, only letting a little air in and a little out.

How do they replicate an inexplicable aura of a vast swath of desert filled with people who believe in unlimited possibilities when they leave the playa?

 Playa dust travels far distances like pollen, some on the skin and belongings of Burners returning back here. Are Burners the fertile wombs the dust seeks? For 51 weeks does playa dust alchemize their lives?

 Otherwise, isn’t it simply heartbreaking?