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A Year of A Burner Lexicon

Posted in A Burner Lexicon, Burning Man, and Website

The effigy vanishes into the dust. Black Rock City, 2004. Photo by Kit O'Connell.

September 1st marked the one year anniversary of my successful series, A Burner Lexicon. First suggested by Lauren Rothman of DefyAuthority.NET, we originally planned to publish the feature on her blog as an ongoing guest poster.

Our blogs moved in different directions soon after so I moved the Lexicon back here , where it has driven more traffic and readers to this blog than anything else I do. The main lexicon page has become the most visited page on my site, beating out even the site’s main homepage.

In the last year of defining the slang, catch phrases, and cultural ethics of Burning Man, the Lexicon has defined over 100 terms. Even after a year’s work, I still have a lengthy list of words I can still define. The entry on shirt-cocking ranks, as always, as the most popular entry by far. I hope my parents are proud — based on Google ranking, I have become one of the leading authorities on the topic of shirts without pants.

I’ve gotten a lot of great comments, feedback, and even fanmail. At Burn events, I often run into my readers who take the time to thank me and I am very grateful for this. It flattered me a great deal to see a stranger refer to me on a Burning Man forum as ‘the lexicon guy,’ as in ‘The lexicon guy has an entry about this topic…’ I value every comment I get on this site or elsewhere.

Not only has this series made me feel more connected to my tribe, it has made it clear how badly I need to return to That Thing in the Desert. If A Burner Lexicon has been useful to you, consider one of these ways to support the lexicographer; donations will help send me back to Burning Man next year.

And if you went to Burning Man this year, I’d love to hear from you — tell me about your experiences and what you observed of the language and culture of the playa,  and especially any great words or catchphrases you heard out there. This project continues to grow because of the input of my readers.

Follow Kit on Twitter or, for more entries in A Burner Lexicon, visit