Excerpts from the Burningman Bulletin Board

These are excerpts taken from the 1997 and 1998 archives at burningman.com

Oh, how I miss the playa.....why is it that after-burn sets in so completely...yesterday I felt like crying all day long, in fact, I did cry on a few occasions. Deep sobs directly from the soul...I love Black Rock City and its citizens. I love you people. You restore my faith in humanity, which can be sorely tested from time to time.

Once again, a life-changing, life-enhancing, purely beautiful experience... We can indeed allow the Burning Man ethos to carry over into the rest of our lives. In fact, we NEED to. Living life as a participant among beautiful and caring people-- it doesn't get any better than that! I spoke with many people out there about how it is easy to have a "perfect time" with 20-30 of your closest friends. The amazing thing about BM is that same togetherness can be felt among a diverse and previously unacquainted crowd of 15,000+. That is real community! There are plenty of people there who may not seem to be "getting it"-- but that's part of it also. I truly believe that the 'culture of Black Rock' urges people to get it... and get it in their own way. Aye Gahd, I can't even express it! … I'm walking on a cloud, just like I did after last year's BM, and that cloud will persist, in some form, forever.

I am still having flashbacks to that state of grace that existed within Burningman... how I miss and love you all. It was a wonderful experience that I hope to repeat someday, but the memories of this trip will last with me forever.

I cried while in my van going to burning man, and I cried while waiting in the line to leave. My experience was fantastic and moving on so many levels. I am glad to be part of the crowd who "gets it"! the Man, an entity we all created, becomes alive, with it's own conciousness. This flame becomes part of us all, and helps us change and grow. Don't let the flame die---Ever!! I want to be able to go to Burning man when I am eighty years old, and feel the flame, and vigor. Last year I was changed when the man burned. And this year, seeing the pure white light eminiating from the man changed me again!

Burning Man 1998 was my first. It was an experience like none other. So many amazing people, theme camps, works of art (how about that galloping horse??), performances. I didn't want it to end. And I cried as we left the Black Rock Area, through the lightening and thunder. Rain erasing our tracks in the desert. I am near tears while reading the experiences of others. Experiences similar to my own, yet still so different. Unique. Individual. Creative. Community. These are words that I hear about the BM experience again and again. All are true and applicable. Each time I think about my experience, I am filled with joy, my eyes fill with tears (happy that I was there; sad to leave), my body tingles with the electric feeling that

I had while being there. People ask me, "How was it, what is it about??" and I tell them that they have to go there to know; they have to experience it for themselves. I would not trade this experience for anything.

Remember the openness, the understanding, the acceptance. Remember the generousity of the artists, the makers of food and trinkets, the mixers of music and drinks. Remember those things when you go into places where the commercialism is overwhelming--remember THERE IS ANOTHER WAY.

My first time. BM '98 was one trial after another. I was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm of those that spoke to me about it (especially my fiancee'). I had no idea whatsoever . I became skeptical. Getting prepared, getting out there, getting set up, acclimating all had what seemed like major troubles. I even had a toilet explode on me. During all this, I felt the magic building, a hum, like the 18hz pedal tone of a pipe organ. I finally thought I started to understand what everyone was trying to tell me. If everyone is a participant, and there are no spectators, you all get linked in something that is greater than the sum of its parts! The magic was happening, and the hum got louder. If only you could take it with you... The love, the people, the beauty and the magic... You can take it with you. In fact, the only way I can keep burning man alive is to take the changes in me out of Black Rock City and into my everyday life.

New to the experience...speechless Kind of an oxymoron...speechless and here I am typing a message...well I guess I didn't put "typeless," so it's okay. I'm still numb...I want to go back. Those cartoon characters with the little whirley spirals in their eyes...that's me. I went this year worried that I might be seen as a "spectator," and quickly learned that there is no such thing. Being there makes you a participant, and I wish to express the emotion I feel towards the Man...not love, or anything I've ever felt before...it is a melding of positive emotions...why do I try...words won't do it.

I was prepared for my first Burning Man only from graphics and text from its www site. Tuesday night’s arrival was full of schoolboy giggles upon seeing our naked neighbors and judgmental statements concerning mankind’s lost morals. Wednesday I still played the role of judgmental spectator but started to grasp the amount of energy people were putting into projects and relationships, not for monetary profit, but just to express. By Thursday, my watch was history, I was bartering with the neighbors, I had test drove three exciting new medications, got naked, seen 1001 new things in a new “non judgmental” light and was learning to see people without my old “score card” mentality. Friday morning, I rode all the way out past “the man” to the orange fence. I could see from the tip of the South side of the playa where I had spent some time the night before in the “Smut Shack”, to the tip of the North side where some guy had been rolled around in some kind of “stereo ball” last night and, I could see every thing in-between. I realized to see things “in-between” was what I lacked. I had been experiencing people on a G, PG, R and X scale. By Friday, I was done rating people, everybody was “in-between”. Not good, bad, ugly moral or a sinner, but like I was and am, somewhere “in-between”. I hope my newfound knowledge of “in-between” I learned at Burning Man 98 will last here in the real world until I can get a re-fill at Burning Man 99. THANKS TO ALL!!!!!!!!

Second Burn, much like the first. . .  Only different. Tons different. I had 7 days to meld into our city, to become a playa-zen. 7 days to dispense with clothing, cubicles, computer screens, telephones. . .should I go on? I saw a few folks burn out on the full 7 days this year, and I wonder if the time is a little long for most. But for me, the only downside is that it made it that much harder to return to the land of the Dilberts.

After last year, I thought I could never feel again the complete dismissal of all things mundane and stressful. But this year proved me wrong. I felt it again, and I'm still feeling it. Unfortunately, I'm feeling it most as I struggle up the same old stairs to the same old cubicle to listen to the same old telephones and the same old co-workers without a single clue among them. The most outrageous thing to them is that I went naked in front of people. They don't wanna hear about the immense energy that brings you in and embraces you in Black Rock City. They weren't interested in hearing about the sunsets, or the way the desert sun drives you into shade to pass a day in near delirious torpor. I can't judge them, because I am not them. But it's hard to spend most of every day in the midst of people who can't understand and feel what surrounded me everywhere in our city. Thankfully, one of them lives with me and she does understand.

Thanks to all for an AMAZING week.... parched and coated with Playa dust, cooked in the slow fires of the sun, mercifully misted by raindrops and fellow

travellers, scoured by tears, broken open and burned, glowing, incandescent.... I am still staggering about, unable to make sense of any of this, nor (especially) what I have returned to. "Civilization," hmmmm... well, it IS more humid...

So much appreciation to each of you who contributed to this discussion ... and for your words that touch me so endearingly. My first year will not be my last. I'm in withdrawal, finding it very difficult to be part of the society that I currently reside in. If only BRC can last longer than 8 days. I'd like to see the playa experience last two weeks or so. Nonetheless, I will hold onto my memories. As well as, apply the newly acquired love from BRC to my lifestyle each day. Next year's recharge will be here before I know it. Love you all, my new friends. You've touched me physically, spiritually, and with a cleansing manner that I see more of me today than I've ever seen before. Hugs and Love to each BRC citizen.

I thought decompression was a joke. Then the tears started rolling somewhere south of Reno. By midnight I was dreading the LA County line marker like never before, and that's saying quite a lot. In past years I've looked at BM as a marvelously funny, frivolous charade. Today I feel the opposite, like the charade's not funny anymore and it's 360-odd days long. What happens when you realize that the people you love and the potential significant others you'd like to love and the values you love and the ideas and the art and the engineering you love are nowhere to be found 98 percent of the year? Am I supposed to just get over it, or re-examine my priorities, or am I simply supposed to get the hell out of LA?