Saturday, September 09, 2006

Burming Man #3: Interludes & Backtracks

Before I delve into the craziness of last weekend, the meat of my Burning Man adventure, I have to add one little element I neglected to write about. (Don't worry: I'll wrap up the chronicle by Monday. Then I'll post about my current trip: I'm writing from a hotel in downtown Chicago.)

Shortly after we arrived that Wednesday, two men set up camp next to us. They had a shade structure and a little Buffet-style bar. Here's a picture. You can't see the bar, but it's on the other side of the white tent thingy.

They also had a fire pit (self-contained, of course: Leave No Trace) and we all gathered around it for a bit, introducing ourselves and chatting about our lives in the Default World.

One of our neighbors was a now-retired Internet millionaire. He couldn’t have been more than 40, maybe 45. He and his friend had just finished camping somewhere down near Lake Tahoe and then had gotten fitted for custom ski boots before heading on up to Black Rock City.

They asked what we did for a living. The others—techies & landscape designers & marketing guys—took their turns and then it was my turn.

What did I do? Or, as the question always implies: what am I? With which “Camp” do I identify myself? Am I an academic? An accountant? An artist? A teacher? A stripper?

Well, I started to say, my husband and I have a small media imaging company and we write press releases and website copy but also write copy for and design brochures, etc etc blah etc blah etc blah. Which is technically true.

But something just fucking didn’t feel right but before I could say anything—I mean I think I was in mid-inhale--my good friend M. jumped right in and said “No!”—like a knight he was, I swear!—“She’s a writer. She wrote this novel called The Jar-Born Sage, he wrote one, too”—pointing of course to R. He stopped and looked straight at me. “They’re writers.” (It was his eyes. They were outraged. What was I saying?)

Oh yeah. M. had me caught out. What had I been doing? After all this time, after all the sacrifices I’d made, all the things I’d done over the years to carve out enough time and space to work, all that effort spent feng shui-ing my mind so that I could birth first that novel, so that I could make room for the one now gestating, here I was denying it all! In a blink of an eye! Blithely. Like it was nothing. Like a Judas I was. Identifying myself not by who I am but by how I earn my money, how I pay my rent.

But this is how I came to Burning Man, you see—only a week and a half ago, but it seems like eons… That first novel hasn’t sold yet. I’m 33, soon to be 34. I’m starting the next book, but: my metaphorical bones are older and when it rains parts of my body ache.

But now? After I saw the things I saw there? After the things I felt?

I’m a writer. That’s what I am.


Blogger Karen said...

Be true to your heart. You ARE a writer.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Red said...

Right on, girl! Strange that sometimes we need other people to remind us of our destiny. And that post was beautifully written, by the way... you truly are a writer!

(The link to your media imaging company doesn't see to work for me. Is anyone else having trouble or is it just because I'm the poor cousin with no Blogger Beta?) :-(

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you were a writer!
I love how you have been stringing words together to tell the tale of Burning Man.
I have become truly interested.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oops,...that was from me, Healing Room.

2:28 PM  
Blogger Camie Vog said...

The friend saves the day! No matter how you pay your rent, its your words that count.

These books you speak of...are they published? I mean, can I go out and buy copies? Hope so...

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Mick Gordon said...

You are exactly what you say you are when you are off travelling.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

UM, EXCUSE ME!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you still in Chicago????? If so, PHONE ME!!!!

Yeah, I'll give ya my number....

These are incredible posts...I was a little under the weather all weekend and took some extra just catching up. What incredible notes and images. That "pick-up-sticks" club is incredible!!! The photos are so amazing, the clean air...I can feel cold and heat. Well done.

And I love the epiphines!

9:18 AM  
Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

You don't have to be published to call yourself a writer.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey all,

Red: updating the link after this.
Karen: Yes, you're right. Why do I keep forgetting this?
Camie: Unfortunately, not yet. Jar-born sage is doing the rounds and The Chemist's Husband still exists in fragments and notes and daydreams.
Mick: True. But we have ways of outing outselves, no?
Candy: Just flew back this morning. Chicago is cold. And rainy. At least it was yesterday. But I thought you were in Toronto??
Coyote: Of course. But the more years that pass, the harder it gets to do work on something no one but my inner circle may ever see. Still. I keep doing it. And don't seem to be able to stop. If I could, I probably would. (In Bizarro World I'd be a lawyer with a Nancy Drew streak, I think.)

-Minerva Jane

8:59 PM  

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