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Coming Home

Posted in Burning Man, Life, and Media

I’m back from Chicago, at my home in Austin, and getting ready to return Home for Burning Flipside.

Mom is doing fine. Her doctors, who seem very skilled, are essentially telling her that the stents they put in her clogged artery have fixed her. She has no more congestion in her lungs and her heart is essentially healthy and undamaged from the “cardiac event.” As long as she starts taking better care of herself, she should be fine for a long time to come. She seems to be taking it seriously too: she’s not smoking, she’s finally been to see a doctor for a checkup and blood work, and she’s about to enter heart rehab. In the long run she could end up healthier than she was before.

Greg Bear’s City At the End of Time

I am glad to have been able to visit Mom in Chicago. Though physically well — we were taking nice walks around her neighborhood and having fun during the visit — she definitely needed someone to talk with her about her recent experiences. The cold weather was a struggle, and at times I was very homesick, but it was where I was needed most.

Travel is always hard on me and this time I seem to have brought a yucky but not too serious head cold back with me. I’m sniffly and sneezy, but using my neti pot, taking vitamin c as well as generic Mucinex. I’ve also been lying around and reading a lot, which is always a good sick-time behavior. My reading is in part thanks to Mom’s gift of her old Kindle — she uses her iPad exclusively these days for almost everything including book reading. For all the legitimate misgivings people have about Amazon’s e-book policy, I can see that having this device is actually going to make me read more.

The first book I finished via Kindle was Greg Bear‘s 2008 novel, City at the End of Time. Though I have been a fan of his work for a long time, I had fallen out of touch with his last few books. City was thought-provoking, complex, and incredibly engaging. It was not a book which held the reader’s hand, but expected active engagement and observation. Like much of Bear’s work, it was disturbing on multiple levels; reading it left me with a disquieting sense of fragility about what is real and what history and time mean. The best books are the ones which change the way we look at the world around us, at least for a while.

The titular city from the novel is the last hold out of humanity after the death of the rest of the universe, a place outside of time and space. The book’s protagonists, at least the ones from our own time, all have vivid dreams of this impossible place. This was especially appropriate reading, since I am spending this week preparing for my annual visit to Pyropolis, home of Flipside, our own experiment at creating a community outside of normal society. Between events, many of us have vivid dreams of our Burner Homes.

This year I will be camping with Pet, Grace, Honey J and De’Juan at Halloween Town (#72 on the Theme Camp Map, part of Kink Row). This is a new camp, inspired by Pet’s intense love for Halloween and her humongous collection of holiday accouterments. We have the following events planned:

  • Trick or Treating for Grownups (ongoing, anytime we are here): Come by in your finest costumes and say Trick or Treat! We have candy while it lasts. Tricks possibly also available.
  • Fire is a Bad Idea: Saturday night we’ll be setting people on fire. De’Juan and Kit, both trained in fire play, will be using alcohol to “safely” light you on fire. But can fire ever really be safe? No.
  • Lady Gaga Afternoon: We ordered our ghouls and zombies to build us the world’s largest speaker system! Unfortunately, we substituted ” for ‘ on our plans. On Sunday, we’ll blast Lady Gaga and other high quality pop music from our tiny battery operated speaker system while painting faces or applying glammy makeup. Seem like a bad idea? Join us!

If you’re going to this year’s “Bad Idea” then you should stop by.