Burning Man 2019: Postcards and Love letters from the Playa

This is more so art than it is anything else. Thank you for staring at pieces of my soul that I creatively put into words.

Dear Person who on the daily basis might be as lost as I am. Who may be complicated in numerous ways but has figured out to find who they really are and meant to be is by how they choose to live this potential we call life,

My new year starts at the end of Early August.

I take the year in quarters which means I have 4 New Years. One of them is Burning Man.

The other 3 you can ask me yourself or assume. Most people just assume. So I’ll just assume you’re like everyone else and that doesn’t make us much different.

Before we go any further I want to be clear about something…

I rather you ruin me before you try and change me.

I would prefer to be destroyed as I am and burned in the fire we leave on the playa then to grow into a tree of something I am not and have no desire to be.

I want to evolve, I want to grow, I want to be more than what I am or imagine possible. But I need to do it on my terms of consent and conditions of creating.

I have passionate desire to be better versions of myself. I just never want to attempt to be what others perceive of me.

Humans are always perceiving and then get disappointed in those around them for not living up to a standard they never asked for.

That’s why I like to communicate very clearly I love you in my life immensely I do not need you in this space and please don’t let me loiter in your being if I break boundaries.

The weight of the individual universe in all of us is heavy enough without adding others unlawful expectations to carry.

My metamorphosis is all mental. I like to pretend I have an actual chance of controlling all these thoughts that flow through space in this eccentric head. I’m a beautiful astronaut most days.

We all arrived safely. Put lights on the bike. Mission a go we are cleared for take off.

Simply setting the scene of what I’ve seen this might seem otherworldly or outer space.

I never thought somebody like me, would be in a place such as this, with people like you.

I was the boy they wanted to bury for breaking laws. Now I’m the man still alive but I’m breaking all the rules.

Just like me they can’t kill you.

Even on the days we are broken at least we never shattered.

Doing the same ol’ drugs under a new moon. Patiently waiting for her to be full again. I’ll never be this young again, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be full of life for as long as I breathe.

We burn statues and pray at temples. Look at all of this in front of us asking what does it all really mean. If we think long enough our curiosity goes far beyond this art piece unraveling the strings of everything.

On the surface it’s just the most fun that makes you want to go home but you can’t wait to have it again.

I miss US, I miss YOU and I miss IT.

I appreciate who I am right now and I love who you are in this moment.

Not everyone is afforded the luxury to have such periods of substance like we shared in the shadows of dust.

Some people put their emotions on a budget. Never look at the times you were vulnerable and treat them like currency. I hope around me you always feel no judgments and free.

In this moment I wouldn’t want any of you to be anything else. This is all that I needed. This is all I wanted.

Melodramatic goodbyes we created over the years in small towns that we made feel like the big city. As we go on we realize between all of US this is just an extended see you later.

Time goes on as we travel this clock and the letters change…

I wish you weren’t so heartbroken so you wouldn’t try to slowly kill yourself.

This is not the way it has to be.

You don’t care enough to run away from the thoughts of you destroying yourself. But who am I to tell you how to fix yourself? Every time you are lost you just look for things in other people. So who are you going to run to next?

Maybe you should try crashing into a mirror or seeing your reflection after you drink from a body of lukewarm water.

Trying to defeat all my doubts and conquer my impossibles.

I don’t like watching new paint dry but I have to chip away at this old coat. I enjoy watching angels fly and flutter as if galactic butterflies but I often stare off in the distance as I watch these demons go.

Come and go then came and go again.

The doubts

The demons

The anxiety

The whatever is plaguing you. We all have shit to deal with.

But I’d be a high fool to forget about the love, empathy and warmth.

Stuck in my mind as I snuck into Headspace. Little morsels of substance as a survival tactic I remind myself to eat.

It’s just food for thought as I see the sunrise.

All of this is borrowed land but only the people who visit the dust seem to understand.

I’ll never forget being in front of the crowd with you ecstatic that our ears were hearing words.

All these tabs on the search for something but out here no internet connection. Thoughts splattered everywhere like a universe of confetti.

Drinks of Martini we sit around these tables and pillows cuddled up like family, because even as adults it still takes a Village.

Who knew a Bar off to the Side would give you the feeling of being home for the holidays.

We don’t talk about money or politics. If the world ended we wouldn’t know until it was too late. We always go through the proper door when trying to figure out what’s in Pandora’s box because properly is how we are raised.

We are not savages, we just do really well at acting the part.

Why do you wish you were here with me? Be as weird as you dare to be. As we get older why do we choose our family? It’s important to recognize who do we send all these mental postcards to? Even when home feels far away I hope you remember all these personalized love letters.

“ There’s a place in the desert where the end of the world meets creativity, chaos, and passion. A place where you can find peace and calm then turn and find lasers and dance. A place where friends are family that touch your heart and change you in ways you didn’t know you needed, but are forever grateful that it happened. A place of comfort and discomfort for learning, exploring and bonding. A place we call home. A place in the dust.”

“My first year was 2006. I attended burningman for the party atmosphere, but quickly came to appreciate the creativity and energy of the art and giving culture. I continue to love the innovative and creative atmosphere, but I have come to appreciate the people I interact with the most. Martini Village is my family and it is due to the awesome people that I look forward to Burningman each year. Love you all!”

“Fav sayings:

-Dis puppy’s riiiipppiiin

-What’s in the box?!

-Are you pre-dome?! Post-dome?! If you haven’t been domed – we can’t be friends

-Make me a driiiiiink!

-You look like you’d be good at servin me drinks

Favorite feeling:

Waking up each morning anxious to find all my favorite people at side bar to giggle with and share our experiences from the night before. Doesn’t matter how hungover you may be feeling, getting to walk outside and have those moments together makes burning man our special place, our home.”


“balls and feelings balls balls and feelings feelings balls feelings balls feelings balls and feelings”

“ I’m gonna go put on a jacket without sleeves, anyone else want a jacket without sleeves?”

“Watching your face when I put the vibrating ball from the cluster on your head”

“Look what I’ll do for a sticker!”

“ In thirteen years of attending Burning Man consecutively I’ve seen sadness, confusion, lost, love, and happiness. Every year there’s something new…similar, but always different. Burning Man was…”is” special to those who embrace it.”

This year was a tough one for me. I wasn’t excited and lost my way after receiving some difficult news prior to heading out. The playa always seem to provide and when my group of friends, my playa weirdos, but most importantly my Martini Village family congregated to be like me… be like “____________”… It was one of those moments when you feel like you belong and are loved. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of family and friends to share in this heartfelt experience.

Sorry I don’t have any photos of this year’s event to share, but my decision to keep what I remember, what I witnessed, and what I shared with all of you in my thoughts and heart “

“Kissing party”

“ ¡Whoaaaaa bubba! “

“ These are the good people “

“Rolling up to this song during diplo set “

“ I think it was Monday night. We all got separated. We all asked what happened. There was some biking out to deep playa to who knows where, chasing Mayan warrior, then heading back to camp realizing we all did the same thing minutes after or before each other yet we all still ended up in the same place at pretty much the same time “

“ Some of us watched Mayan warrior roll by, some of us got stuck at it “

“In a high stupor I thought; I operate at a high velocity and being with my friends in a setting that enables us to be genuine to ourselves reassured me that I can take on any challenge I’m presented with in my own unique way. “

“ Just feeling so comfortable and safe and loved and understood at absolutely all hours of the day with any of you. Laughing til I cried over and over again. Hugging all of u man just so much love deep goofy beautiful love “

“ Yep the people. Sunrise or sunset, sidebar or deep playa, I was always at ease with the homies, laughing and acting a damn fool”

“Those who saw me Thursday morning recognizing I was in a very bad place and immediately showing so much love and understanding. Without asking questions, helping me pack up my shit when I couldn’t even get my sleeping bag into my car with out collapsing into tears. I can’t begin to express how much that meant “

“ Also the moment when Cluster ______ realized he wasn’t who he was before we set out on that Monday night ride. Sometimes you get on a bike and set out on a ride, and come back a different person. A new person.

We saw all the clusters that night”

“Seriously everything you guys are saying is spot on. I’ve never felt so much love and magic between a group of people. It was awesome cause this year _________ and I said fuck it and completely let ourselves go. It was truly beautiful to lose my mind with some of the most amazing humans and to just be in each and every moment. I literally can’t stop talking about what an incredible week that was “

“ I think ______ was the only one that saw this but when ____ and I were in the magic triangle that reactions to the magic rain stick and then all of a sudden _____ and I decided to leave and I dropped something and we bumped our heads before leaving then the rest of the week _____ and I would look at each other and yell uhhhh “l’m out.” And pretend to bump heads and fall back a little”

“When _____ found the rain stick and we all started chanting “

“ I fucking knew about the rainstick but couldn’t find it but thank god _____ did “

“ Burning man for me is an annual reminder that you get what you give “

“ I asked a cop to taze me with my tazer. He laughed and politely declined. You could tell he wanted to have fun tho. Do a line, chill out”

“ When cluster ______ convinced randoms (and us for a moment) that the metal flower in the ground did something to the lights when it actually did absolutely nothing”

“ When I get home it’s always so difficult for me to tell people about one moment that really stands out for me or captures the essence of BM (might be because my brain is completely fried by then…) But what I think I’ve come to love most about burning man is the thousands of unique opportunities it creates for you to live in the present and enjoy so many special moments. Whether it’s getting lost in the dark places of Head Maze, doing body shots off of ______, tearful group hugs at the temple, listening to a violinist play at sunset, or taking intro to foreskin shots with ______… being able to share so many amazing experiences, in such a profound way, with so many beautiful friends is what I loved most about Burning Man this year, and hopefully for many more years to come. Thanks again Side Bar fam… love you guys”

“ Random grand piano performances, meat shots, getting domed, tazing people when their drugs stop working. To continue on this, I agree, its the little things. Love you all”

“The people are definitely what makes burning man special. But there are those random few moments when the playa just seems to go quiet and you catch yourself staring aimlessly out into the city. The world kinda stops and you get a genuine moment of clarity before a random bass drops and you get sucked back into the madness. Those few moments that only last a couple seconds each are the moments I go back to when life gets tough in the real world.”

“ As someone who goes out early, I find myself looking back to building a home for everyone to come to and welcoming them with open arms when they get here. That shock and amazement factor and that pure joy really makes me love what I do for the village and sidebar. Welcoming everyone’s new energy in, is what raises my energy levels and gives me the drive to continue on because I love seeing everyone’s smiles and excitement as we cruise around playa and check out all the amazing things that playa has to offer us. The best part is knowing that I get to spend an entire week with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met in my life. “

“Here come tears of joy. “

“ Honestly ________ you are pretty much my savior every year. Love you! Also, can you help me with something in here? Please bring your nose “

“ Yeah sure bro we can make that stuff disappear. “

“Oh and blacking out… every time you bartend Martini Bar. “

“One for you, one for me”

“Doc Lillipop shots really get the people going”

“One of my favorite moments was when I climbed up to the top of this sculpture of two bees. I had been a very busy bee myself up until I reached the top and held very still (for obvious safety reasons). Suddenly I was washed with the most peaceful quiet feeling. The contrast was so powerful and beautiful as I looked out over the Playa at night.”

“One of my favorite moments was ________ thinking the nasal spray he was handed was just nasal spray and using it. Then going “oh shit, I was wrong” “

“Oh and _______ being so excited to greet _______ and I that he threw himself and his bike to the ground to come hug us. Your battle wound makes me happy. “

” This seriously put the biggest smile on my face. _______ and I had the best time with you. Thanks for all the great memories dude! “

“ I love riding out into the playa not knowing where it will lead us suddenly being surrounded by a 360 of lights, lasers, love, and the best friends you could wish for can make you feel as though you are a puzzle piece to a masterpiece. Burning man provides you with what you need not what you seek..you can seek and find but truly it’s the littlest things that you need that stay with you forever ”

” Story: ______ and I were in line at the head maze with some of our peeps but ______ and I were 1 person behind. This man and _____ started talking and found a common connection with their love for skiing. I listened and would comment when necessary. This guy ended up being from Colorado where my mom is from so I thought that was pretty neat. ________ and him kept talking, now about backcountry skiing and “huts” and how cool they are to backpack to and then backcountry ski from. Then all of the sudden this guy brings up the “10th mountain devision huts” that honor the 10th mountain division which is part of the army..in Colorado. Well my grandfather I never met was in that infantry and that’s when I knew.. it’s a sign! Simple conversations with a total stranger can have a larger connection that you can imagine. We are all connected “

“ Burning man brings me back to who I really am. In SF/ the corporate world, I become a different version of myself and need to be reminded every once in a while that it’s not me. Burning man allows me to be who I want to be, have fun doing the coolest but also simplest shit (hanging around at camp, riding my bike around), and connecting with so many amazing people. It’s basically my New Years where I can reflect on myself and the last year and go into the next year “renewed””

“ My other favorite part is the way our camp is a family and we get closer and closer every year. The dust, heat, and sleep deprivation (among other things) allows us to spend amazing quality time with each other. You would think it’s one big party and we just have surface- level convos, but it’s the opposite. I love all of the hilarious things that happen but also the deep emotional talks we will never forget (“what’s in the box?!”, me drinking fake shots, having deep family convos and crying together). It’s so special. “

“ Man, hard to put it better than that. I was having a conversation last night and describing it the same way… it’s not one specific event, it’s the culmination of all the little things, from just BSing around camp, to hugs in the crowd on the dance floor, to after the temple, and more. More to follow later.”

These are the brief memoirs from other complicated humans that are just like you. So doesn’t matter where you are in this world. When the dust settles. Please know and be rest assured that you are never alone.

The sunrise is majestic it’s those who made it through the entire night just coming home or those who are starting their day about to ride out. The sunset is where I feel most human. It’s where everyone meets and is still balanced.

Later on in a city constructed by lights we look at the oldest thing in existence. We look at the stars above and think; what if everything is just a dome?

Who do I vent to when it’s 5 a.m. and all that’s running through my mind is thoughts of you? As the night jogs into the the horizon of day it seems like the sun is chasing me. The moon is always by my side out here.

If we should ever fall apart always remember in the moments we held each other’s sanity together.

We are all lunatics for our cozy memories

You tell me all your secrets because you know I’ll never wipe the dust off and or reveal them to anybody.

I don’t have anything to gain by lying, I rather lose you to the truth. Out there they don’t realize it’s more complexities than default. They tell fabricated prophecies out there to get who they want. Not realizing in the end it just means they’ll be surrounded by people they don’t need.

You could be sleeping next to the devil and technically still make the argument that you are laying with an angel. Enjoy illusions of peace. I hope they keep you warm like beautifully designed clothes. I put a prayer in the air for the bridges burned. Bless to all the wishes I wasted on shooting stars and the lessons learned. It’s so much easier to see people’s intentions when there’s light at night.

I like seeing you for who you really are. Conversations like this mean we don’t have to assume like everyone else does.

Still nothing compares to the fire that burned in your eyes. I love seeing who you want to be. Before the world got ahold of you. I love you riding on a bike and screaming as if nothing could hinder your pureness. No expectations that we received from parents early on, no boxes that a teaching society has tried to instill in you, no forms of love that you would later on realize were toxic. You are the you from your dreams.

As I observe I wish you could all see yourselves the way that I view all of you.

As if a kid that has never been let down or had any innocence taken away.

You were riding that bike in the climax of the night, laughing like you never have before. The only constraint you had was the wind and even that felt like freedom.

Your thoughts were so clear it felt empty.

Everything around you was moving but there nothing coming or going.

In that moment it doesn’t matter if that feeling was brief or you carry a tiny bit of it with you forever.

You were nirvana.

I hope you found puzzle pieces of yourself as you were in this wanderlust of a timestamp with me.

I genuinely don’t care if you hate me or love me. I wish you were here because you deserve to be.

Thank you for joining me as I ever so casually lost my mind.

Now please excuse me as I go and kiss the sky


Thank you for your visual contribution to this art piece. All the following names are linked to their instagrams feel free to give them a follow

Cover Art: Avalon

Cody Bishop

Kenny Payne

Casey Simon

Casey Joyner

Kendra Hess

Breanna Hess

Sarah Smith

Jayde Reid

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