My thoughts and thank you’s for the recent Playa Del Fuego event.

I kept hearing references to the dramalamas on facebook before PDF, talking about whatever is wrong or changed with it over the years… Yes, I feel it has changed since I started coming, but also I’ve changed significantly. (My personal theory is that they were only trying to talk new attendees into selling their tickets to them :P) I avoided reading further as we prepped for the event, but it weighed on my mind that Smelly had to post silly and fun posts to try to drown out the negativity, and that some people were trying to divide the community or felt it was already divided. For each group that is usually disparaged in these discussions, I felt either part of or know some amazing people who identify as such.

Part of me may have been expecting to see something different this burn after all the racket, and to be honest, I did think of all those discussions while I was there. But my thoughts were never that they were right, my thoughts were that they didn’t (or couldn’t) see what I was seeing.

I was blown away this PDF, and it was because everywhere I looked, I saw participants.  I saw so many people who brought some aspect of themselves to share and gift and experience with the rest of us. It’s not new at this burn, but it seemed more concrete to me, possibly because of the negative chatter beforehand.

Going to wash dishes and getting caught in the rain, I was able to chat with one of the people who rolled a giant metal frame ball from the back field to the front – they broke a bolt and were waiting on a replacement, and I was able to express how much joy I got from seeing it roll past my camp earlier.

Artwork, interactive items, and decorations among the open camping areas seemed to be in higher quantity this time!

The silent rave headsets…. omg. This blew me away and really made my night. I was struggling because I felt responsible for being at the theme camp at night, yet I really needed a different headspace/music (and where our camp was, it was a constant mash up of totally different music styles!) The headset allowed me to stay seated in camp and take a musical journey (Ironically, the 2 camps participating I could hear from my camp. However, like I said – it was a disturbing mash up where you never heard any ONE camp well). I also enjoyed walking all around almost to the front gate while listening to one soundtrack – and of course, I think everyone who tried this can understand how it morphed a portapotty trip into a tiny dance party for 1 :P or maybe that’s just me.

There’s more. There’s so much more. The oakburners and our invite to the fancy dinner. The friends who were my lifeline when I couldn’t deal with a big crowd of strangers. The amazing people who participated in our theme camp and helped out – where but at a burn can an understaffed casino have 3 legit dealers walk in, ready to work our tables??? :D  Our “it’s only thursday” night at Camp Fogie.  Hearing all the stories from Dusty about Camp Sexy, she always has me in stitches :P

I know some of the great moments are already slipping my mind. But I had the overwhelming feeling that everyone I came across brought so much of themselves to share in unique ways, and thought of the facebook discussions, and really felt that the burn is what we make of it. Each and every one of us. What we bring – internally and externally – is what makes the burn.

If it feels too ravey, then bring something that’s NOT a rave. If it feels too hippy or whatever your complaint is, bring something different.  If a burn ever turns into something you don’t like, it’s because you sat on your ass and expected to be catered to. And if that’s the case, well then, don’t buy a ticket next time.

I don’t know what it is that makes a burn so magical. Wait, I do know, I just don’t know a name for it. I think the culmination for me was at the art burn on Sunday. (Now, I don’t say this to brag in any way. Seriously.) Did you see the Dreams and Demons pagoda? The one with the intricate cut outs encouraging people to write on it?  An amazing person that I’m lucky enough to call a friend made that, with the help of mutual friends. And here’s the reason why I cried through the burn of the piece, and cry now as I type.

Last year, at a backyard burn in NJ the night of Burning Man’s big burn, Random and I created a little temple. It was a lincoln logs version of a sculpture, but the first time we planned, created, and burned a wooden art piece. That night, we invited people to write on it as they do at the Temple at burning man, and they did. The comments they wrote broke my heart and inspired me at the same time. All the people at that burn turned a pile of wood into a true Temple. It burned beautifully, and was a great moment.

And then our friend says she was inspired by that piece and the way it burned, and thus the idea for her pagoda sculpture was born.

Every little thing we do has the possibility to change someone else’s life in ways we can never imagine. I was blown away, honored, and humbled by the fact that our little piece inspired something so intricate and amazing, and that in turn could inspire anyone who passed it and left a message or admired it.

To me that is what this PDF was about. The interconnectedness of all of us. I know that there are the core volunteers who do hours of backbreaking work to make PDF happen and be safe (and THANK YOU) every event, without thanks or acknowledgment. But it’s every single one of us who truly make this event what it is.

I may end this with paraphrasing something our campmate said to me at PDF, I’m not sure where the discussion started, with radical inclusion, jackasses, or what… We may have even just talked about the facebook negativity.   But basically he said “You have to fit in our parameters to be here, if you don’t then you shouldn’t come. But the thing is – we have REALLY WIDE PARAMETERS!”

So – a huge thank you to each of the 1,248 people who shared this amazing experience with us. Thank you to those who were negative on Facebook – your comments may have had an opposite affect of what you intended, but you helped me appreciate and view this burn slightly differently.
Thank you Amy, for making me cry so much, and for an AMAZING art piece.
Thank you Random, Calamity Joe, Nicole, Silver, and Debbie (virgin of the burn award to you!) and Scott/Mark and Nickname for the Fireside Lounge & Pink Elephant collaboration!
Thank you to each person who came and enjoyed it, and double thanks to those who helped by dealing, helping me count when I dealt :P, bartending, or just entertaining. (and thank you for adding the spank a Potter rule :D)
Thank you Blue and everyone who made the silent rave happen.
Thank you Oakburners for the amazing dinner!
Thank you to the people who made the steel geodesic ball, and the people who had the floating round bed all the way in the back fields.
Thank you Ebony for a lovely walk from where we met the geodesic ball to my camp, your infectious smile as you held up a yoga mat in the rain over your head stayed with me :D
Thank you Committee for Public Safety – we always love your tunes!
Thank you CPS and Crystal Castle for the silent rave stream!
Thank you Camp Sexy for being sexy, and for the barstool choreographed dance!
Thank you Dusty for our late night catch up session!
Thank you Patti, for being more amazing than ever, for allowing me to be a part of the dress burning and giving great memories to the dr who shirt :P
Thank you Potters & posse for being potterific!
Thank you to the baby burners, Rowan and Isabelle, and your families for putting up with the heat with you – it was such a joy to see a new generation born into this, and I don’t know how you did it! (er, dealing with babies in the heat while camping that is. I know how you *did it* :P)
Thank you Camp Rumor, for being a sanctuary away from home filled with great people!
Thank you Camp Fogie for “It’s Only Thursday”
Thank you all volunteers (and I suck, I missed my shift :( So sorry! Thank you to whoever filled in for us!!!) and especially Madhatter for being concerned about me (when all I really needed was just having people like you that I trusted to “check in” with, and plenty passed through)
Thank you Rock Inferno – didn’t get to play it but saw it in action!
Thank you always to camp Balloon Chain – LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT
Thank you to the Miss PDF contest – it was a blast having that to watch while we ate our lunch!
Thank you to (you shall rename anon) the women who made out for chips, the woman who gave up her underwear for chips, and everyone who took the barter system as a challenge for fun rather than an obligation :D
Thank you rain for the brief cooling, and thank you mud for almost being absent.
Thank you vets, and especially whichever one of you is related to the dealers who came to our camp!

It’s fast becoming a blur, but this is the first time I haven’t had a post-burn emotional crash – it’s your love and efforts to make PDF special that get credit for that.

With lots of love, Thank you.