I'm home from Burning Man, which means I have showered, eaten something that wasn't pulled out of a cooler and sniffed to see if it had gone off, and slept blissfully in my own bed, but it doesn't mean much more than that. I still have to unpack, and the Hall of Rectitude has four days worth of messy super heroes to clean up after.
But when it comes to my readers, I just can't quit you, so I pause in the process of the massive de-dusting and catch up to give you a quick life update.
- If the artistic goal is to feel alone in a crowd, this year was an unmitigated success. The loneliness went up to eleven, and I experienced it early and often. Despite being a very difficult Burn for me on a mental and emotional level, it was phenomenally crucibleish (it's totes a word). I got more out of the sense of isolation this year than I ever have before. Arguably even more than I could handle. Lots of deep introspection...and then lots more.
- The benefit of this is that I think I'm ready to start a major piece of fiction about Burning Man. It's an idea I conceived two years ago, got ready to write last year (but then, suddenly....baby); however, now I have really spent some time in the head of the character, and I'm ready to get to work. It will probably take me at least until next year before it's ready (and 2015 might be ambitious) but I feel more focused and less distracted than last year.
- Every year I take my Kindle (wrapped up in plastic baggies to protect it) or a book and never end up having time to read. This year I took one paperback figuring that it was probably unnecessary, but what the hell. I ended up in camp due to a misunderstanding and I was waiting for someone I thought was going to be back "any minute now" for the entire day. I realized that I have been so busy, I haven't really done much binge reading lately, and I vowed to set some time aside for that.
- I had the most surreal language/feminist moment at Burning Man (so naturally I must share): I thought going to be one of my friends (who knew my proclivities) saying "It's okay for you to look, Chris," when she had on nothing but fishnets and underwear; however, it actually happened the next day in the line to the porta potties when a woman caught me trying very hard to look at anything but her, she struck up a conversation with me and we talked for a while about male gaze and unwanted attention, and the line between dressing to impress and wanting to be admired but not leered at. She asked me if I would like to stare, and I think I blushed and nodded or said "Uh-huh" or something stupid. She responded, "I *want* you to objectify me." I quickly (and clumsily) changed the subject to how that word probably actually meant GRAMMATICALLY objectify rather than some sense of treating them like a physical object and how if she wanted me to objectify her, it made her the subject of that desire and might destroy the universe as easily as dividing by zero. She didn't let me get away so easily though, and playfully insisted I tell her how hot she was in very...explicit terms. I was probably a deep shade of purple in the middle of a graphic description of oral sex before she finally let me off the hook with a very huge hug (and a bit of a wiggle). This is just shit that happens out there. Like...every hour.
- There is always one more piece of art you haven't seen. Always.
- The weather was almost impossibly mild this year. Seriously, I feel bad for people who think that's how it's always going to be.
- Sleeping three to a full bed is possible (and not nearly as risque as it sounds like it should be), but the person on the edge is going to have dreams that they are Tyrion Lannister in the Eyrie Sky Cells for pretty much the entire night.
We'll kick back up Writing About Writing's update schedule in earnest starting tomorrow.