Tales From The Playa are dreams and memories of events that took place at Burning Man, as told by its participants.
Feels a bit like, “it has been 3 weeks since my last confession,” doesn’t it? My sins in the ‘default world’ are mounting and perhaps it’s time for a cleansing, except that, well, someone moved the confessional. Someone moved the church, the city; everything. There’s a bit of it spread here and there, all over the world; in my costume bin, in Suzanne’s garage…
I have been thinking lately about the nature of the dullness that crops up; rises oh-so-proportionately to the length of time that stretches out from Terrible Tuesday. I am beginning to realize that it is the slow and arduous death of inspiration.
I’ve been thinking about the nature of inspiration. What is it? What does it feel like? Where does it come from? Where does it go? Why does Burning Man seem to activate it? And as it pertains to a tangible result that might matter to me, if only for one inspired instant: what is the nature of the discipline that takes over when the excitement of inspiration has breathed it’s last breath, so that result might actually come to fruition?
What is inspiration? According to Funk and Wagnall, circa 1961:
The inbreathing or imparting of an idea, emotion, or mental or spiritual influence; the elevating, creative influence of genius.
Inbreathing. Yes. We must all breathe, mustn’t we? Yet, breathing is and must be bi-directional. Perhaps there is a clue for me here. A clue of sustainability and balance required for survival. Even so, I feel thoroughly un-satiated by this definition.
I see that Funk makes no mention of a required result or product from this state: Ooh! Ooh! I have an idea… Fuck it. That qualifies. Great.
Inspiration. I spent days (and nights) meandering the playa in a constant state of inbreathing. What did it feel like? Well, it wasn’t necessarily wrapped around a specific idea. It felt more like the potential to create without limit, without boundary. Oh, and the boundaries; like my own head, my own self, telling me it (whatever it is) cannot be done, or if it were to be done, not without great difficulty.
Where did it come from, this sudden notion of all things possible? It certainly didn’t hurt to be surrounded by the generous creations of a cast of thousands. (You can do what with latex/plaster-of-paris/nylon/steel/fruit cocktail/old remote controls?)
It certainly didn’t hurt to be surrounded by love, expressed in as many forms; a hug, a smile, free beer. But if the secret that releases each of our muses is as unique as apples before grafting became prevalent, why are they all set free in Black Rock City? (They are, aren’t they? or am I being presumptuous? You were inspired, right?)
Could it be that when you take a creative risk in BRC, and your eyes are shut tight in fear of judgment, but after a bit you hear no laughter, so you open one eye, just a little, and what you see is acceptance, listening, and interest in it’s stead?
And what about the connection between an idea and its execution? None of us here is a stranger to curtailing the production of an idea because the inspiration to create it waned. So I would simply like to state the obvious: We have 330 days before we can breathe in again. I am making a commitment to keep the creativity flowing, even though its influence might be napping.