day two of constant white outs…. sand dunes form around us. we lay out in it on the same pillow and pull a coat up over our heads. “wanna have a tea party?!”
today i navigated empty streets by bicycle as if in some lored game. i could barely see three feet in front of me and the dust was pelting me from all directions. i went in search of adventure but found a skeleton crew of early arrivals huddled in airstreams. porto-potties were being knocked over. my goggles began to fail and i just had to stop and laugh at my situation. out in the middle of a desert, lost in a storm. i eventually found my way back to our camp and curled myself up inside our trailer listening to scarly things being thrown against my metal tomb. it was about that time, lying on a metal dusty floor with my nose against our camp stove that i remembered the mutaytor show tomorrow in truckee and the hotel room confirmation numbers with our names on them. showers and a bed and a quiet place to lay my head…. it felt like cheating but screw it, my face was windsore, i had welts on my body from the sandstorms. my limbs were cracked dusty pink things, our tent was all but wrecked and there was no end to the wind in sight. the sun made various appearances but the wind was full on doom!
nighttime in the desert, a soft breeze, sharp stars and a glowing half moon. i am content, relaxed, in want of nothing but this. today i daydreamt a lot. when i am quiet and calm there is space inside me that opens up, causing more of the same. i’ve been here a week and the event hasn’t even started yet. these are watchful days, setting up days, the calm before the storm.
windy again… we are but small vessels of fun in an enormous uncontrollable vacuum of nature. the switch flips and we are pummeled, flipped once again and we are tricked into thinking that the calm is foreseen. we are slaves to the weather in our chosen playground but revel in it with music, friends and explosions.
….thoughts born of wind….
days are just days without something to fight for or against. the raging sound and sticky chalk make for panic and gratitude. if not for sickness would we know what it means to be truly healthy, all systems go and all working together toward perception and adventure. likewise, if not for raging winds would we not appreciate the still alabaster realm of our choosing.
the event is halfway over and i realize i don’t need to be here. i live the essence of this event 365 days a year. i am not learning anything here. i am annoyed by the gawking, older spectators, disappointed with the energy in my camp. i am sensitive to the harsh sun, 120 degree heat. i am drained and suffering in the daytime. i am shocked in myself that i am having such a miserable time at burning man this year….
in golden hours, i am a camera. when the sun slides behind the mountains i am more alive. i shake off the heat and conjure adventure… but time spent has been met with predictable energy and projects that i can just as easily support at home. the man burned down prematurely on monday night during the lunar eclipse, a victim of arson… this has put a damper on things. i feel stuck in a perpetual sunday.
highlights so far though…. before everyone arrived, brady and i sat in the open playa. blue moonlit dust all around us as we talked for hours, realizing we could talk for hours longer. another highlight was cruising out on splat’s art car, a huge chinese take-out box. we drove out to nowhere where i danced in a field of metallic pinwheels at sunset. i also enjoyed moment hunting at 2am this morning, randomly stopping at art and playing with long exposures. it felt like secrets. but beyond that, i spend my days thinking of all the things i could be doing if i were home. my mountains and plateaus are at home currently, not here. strange to realize that. most people save up all their energy and excitement to cut loose out here, to make their art and affect the masses. i live this already. i am full…. i fear i am at risk of taking creativity for granted… i need something to compare this to…. i need empty space and a different perspective…
friday morning 3am
i dreamt that the house at the corner of the street that i grew up on was for sale. it was the house that we all feared on halloween. dark, mysterious, circular orbs, stained glass and trees shrouding the front door. none of us had ever been inside. but in my dream the real estate company had cut the trees down, changed the windows, replaced the carpet. there was not one hint of mystery in the house… except on the top level. i kept climbing stairs in the renovated house until i reached the top where the sterile carpet gave way to beautiful antique dark wood and a thick banister. there were many rooms on that level but only one where the door was open. it was a room filled with unfinished paintings, dried pallettes, torn faded paper with quotes from books i knew well.
the house was endless, with many hidden hallways and rooms. brady and i walked hand in hand into another antique art room. this one had science equipment too. while he became absorbed in trinkets and baubles, i found my way to a balcony overlooking a rocky cliff. in the churning water below was a buoyant triangular bubble made of parachute material. inside it were people dancing, oblivious to their surroundings. people in leather and fur. from high above them, i could see that they were going to crash. the triangle bounced towards the shore, hurled violently by angry waves. i couldn’t watch the rest. i ran from the balcony just as my neighbor, mr robb came into the room asking what was wrong. brady was still absorbed in science toys and i was in such a panic that all i could do was point toward the sea. soon the three of us were rushing down the back stairs out over sand dunes to where a mess of dark fabric lay like a huge sleeping bag. mr robb bent down with small scissors to begin the herculean task of sorting out what it was and what had just happened. i remained mute, unable to voice what it was he was about to discover… but i knew. brady and i stared at each other, agreeing psychicly not to look at what he was going to find. we blinked away the experience. his eyes had sunflowers in them… i got lost in them…. and then i woke up… to this hotel room in reno… to the hum of the air conditioning. brady was holding my hand. his sunflower eyes were still dreaming…
yesterday we left the playa. we couldn’t take it. so many negative experiences left us both in tears. we packed up quickly and after a hellish night we were on the road, on a mental reconisence mission.
today is our anniversary. three years together…. we know we need to return to the desert in a few hours…. shows and obligations…. two more days there and then we can leave and begin to process all the circumstances that led us to this abandoning, to this sadness. our playground, the one that brought us together, the one we revelled in for so many years has turned on us.
we are back on the playa. we are heavy-hearted but rested. he leaves to set up drums. i ride out in the other direction to photograph a performance. entering back through the gate i ask him if there’s any way to change this around. we have two more days. he wants to pack up as soon as possible. he asks about hotel confirmation numbers for our show in vegas. we are sad, in need of even more rest than our reno trip has provided. we are in need of permanent escape. nearly 3 weeks has proven way too long… we are not thinking clearly…
5 september – las vegas
in a bath, listening to sitar, drinking good wine straight from the bottle by candle light in an oversized hotel room in las vegas. i am playa-battered, both mentally and physically. my body is covered in bruises and wounds. i miss my cat. i miss my bed. i don’t want to talk to anyone. all of my belongings are beyond me. my playa gear was left next to the band’s truck before our mad escape 2 days ago. my car is at the band’s rehearsal space. my cat was being watched but then i just found out by email that he was neglected. an attentive neighbor saved the day. my inbox is near to overflowing. i have no right to lay here naked planning gallery shows… but i am… and i make no apology for missing the show tonight. i am consumed right now by what comes next.
i meditate in darkness to mum. i visualize my strongest images as they fall out from a tarot deck, shaken loose and scattered like i ching on a plush carpet floor. mutual content is unneccessary to create a story. it is like poetry. one element will spark the others. the important thing is to begin. to hover over one and attach another… and another… until, like life, the story, the show, emerges…
elbows on porcelain, fingers as blindfolds, i turn into rooms inside myself. the places where all dormant dreams lie in wait. i shine on them and ask them if they are ready. two of them shimmer in kind and fall at my feet. advertising and gallery shows… my next mountains… trepidation and acknowledgement of learning. i rely on friends with connections to these worlds. i rely on my work , on binding the shiny ones into portfolios, something i haven’t had time ever to do. the work is strong. i just have no perspective on the scope of it. the stories are written. i must make time to see them. everything flows outwards.
my influences are life and music. i don’t research or emulate other artists work. i have too much within to keep pure, to act on. i am influenced by nature. i take most of my lessons from it. the tides, the cycles, the way things churn and morph. pop culture means nothing to me. popularity even less. i listen mostly to the quiet ones. i make decisions based on temperature. ideas and people are like heat to me. the longevity of my friendships are like the familiar revisiting of roads in springtime, always amazed by their growth and inspired to journey down with them. we are all growing so much, almost everyone currently in my life. from this base, i feel constant strength and cause for new discovery.
all comes from within. and if it’s pure…. the years, the numbers, the age, they all become meaningless… because without something to give, to show for the cumulative space we all share, we would all be overlapping mirrors, devoid of purely unique essence.
all learning is a story. it all falls into patterns that make sense only to its intended student. brady asks me of karma and of reincarnation often lately… i am careful not to provide answers for him save questions to spark his own perceptions of his life. i know why i am afraid of cars. i know why so many friends died within a short amount of time. i know why i agreed to a controlling marraige. i know why i had an abusive childhood. and most importantly, i know why i am happy now. my karma is clear to me… and it continues…. and it is unpredictable sometimes…. and that is beautiful….
at this point in my life i cannot go backwards emotionally. i can only recognize the pattern in others intentions and react instinctively. i recognize desire and pain, passion and complacency. i recognize my place inside it all. i base my friendships on it but my inspirations… they are mine to keep… and now to share… i will finish my book soon…. i will create my gallery shows….