Have You Ever Been Experienced?

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I was at a meeting of travel writers last November in Niagara Falls, and there was a man at lunch who was talking about being at Burning Man. This festival of weirdness, drugs, sex and nudity takes place a week before Labor day in Nevada’s Black Rock desert. I wanted to publish a story about it on GoNOMAD, but what he sent was too heavy on his own sexual conquests and too light on practical and useful stuff.

So today I found what I wanted back then, and posted a story about this amazing event on GoNOMAD. It might even run in the Valley Advocate, it’s really up their alley. Here is a snip of the text written by Molly Steenson.

“You belong here and you participate. You’re not the weirdest kid in the classroom — there’s always somebody there who’s thought up something you never even considered. You’re there to breathe art. Imagine an ice sculpture emitting glacial music — in the desert. Imagine the man, greeting you, neon and benevolence, watching over the community. You’re here to build a community that needs you and relies on you.

You’re here to survive. You slather yourself in sunblock before the sun’s rays turn up full blast. You bring enough food, water, and shelter because the elements of the new planet are harsh, and you will find no vending.

You’re here to create. Since nobody at Burning Man is a spectator, you’re here to build your own new world. You’ve built an egg for shelter, a suit made of light sticks, a car that looks like a shark’s fin. You’ve covered yourself in silver, you’re wearing a straw hat and a string of pearls, or maybe a skirt for the first time. You’re broadcasting Radio Free Burning Man — or another radio station.

You’re here to experience. Ride your bike in the expanse of nothingness with your eyes closed. Meet the theme camp — enjoy Irrational Geographic, relax at Bianca’s Smut Shack and eat a grilled cheese sandwich. Find your love and understand each other as you walk slowly under a parasol. Wander under the veils of dust at night on the playa.

You’re here to celebrate. On Saturday night, we’ll burn the Man. As the procession starts, the circle forms, and the man ignites, you experience something personal, something new to yourself, something you’ve never felt before. It’s an epiphany, it’s primal, it’s newborn. And it’s completely individual.”