Posted on the Burning Man 98 experiences message board:
Wow. From the way friends described it I had a rough idea of what Burning Man was all about, but it's hit me a lot harder than I expected. Thank you all, artists and participants, but especially the organizers who give so much of themselves to make this come off as wonderfully as it does.
It was so bizarre today to exchange e-mail with a coworker: "If while searching the newspapers you see a picture of me showering behind a water truck, I'd like to see it", "Great, I'm looking for one taken of me with eyeballs painted on my breasts..." This is not normal in the land of the cubicals, and I like it.
We arrived on Wednesday, and the change in energy on Saturday was palpable. The obvious physical things happened: More trash around the Porta-Potties, more middle-aged guys in Bermuda shorts with dangling Nikons, the couples who looked like they were dressed for tennis looking on disapprovingly, the appearance of all the Budmilloors cans on the ground. By Monday morning the assholes in Ford Destroyers pushing through the lines of cars and honking came close to ruining the magic. Luckily they didn't succeed, but...
As a participant, I feel an obligation to leave the place cleaner than I found it, but we trucked home more crap in my overloaded car than we brought, and I still feel like I didn't make a dent. I don't want to play enabler for the dickheads who think the world is their trash can, I'd much rather not give them the opportunities to leave the cities and let them drown in their own filth. Has thought been given to charging an outrageous amount for tickets, with some steep sliding scale for those willing to give back and volunteer?
If there isn't a way around it I may only feel comfortable coming for the week and leaving on Friday or Saturday morning; I'd miss a bunch of things that don't get completed 'til the end, but I'd get the best part of the energy, and a cleanup weekend afterwards would still be with the cool people.
Again, thank you all for a potentially life transforming experience, the organizers, the Rangers (it was nice to feel like the cops were on my side!), even the Sherrif's department (which seemed a little intrusive at times), the creators of the Water Woman space (I want so bad to connect to your web site, but MCI seems to have a busted router! Not like that's uncommon...), the sculptors and artists I don't have space to name individually, the guys who built the sanctuary and let us decorate a square, our neighbors from New York who brought the popsicles that melted but we managed to refreeze with dry ice and hand out by the mist tree, the neighbors on the other side with the tomatoes (yum!), and on the other side with the great costumes ("burning bush"!), Bianca's for the glitter nail polish, even everyone playing over-amplified techno which I've become sick of from too many high tech trade shows but realize is necessary to provide a counterpoint to the sanctuary of other spaces.
I want to use this energy to change things, in my life, and in the world. I can't think of any higher compliment, except maybe if I manage to actually do so; make the potentially life transforming part reality.
Gotta stop now, think I'm gonna cry.
Wednesday, September 9th, 1998 firstname.lastname@example.org