At Burning Man, we were all Ted. We each introduced ourselves as “Ted,” and we all answered to Ted, and Ted became the way we were described, and Ted became an object of study for some biologists we met on the playa, and Ted is still how we address each other when we want to return to the state of loving community that Ted brings.
In Love’s Body, Norman O. Brown writes "love is all fire." The Teds read passages from Love’s Body out on the playa, crouched in an art piece that looked like a pirate ship escaped from grandma’s attic with a layer of memory held fast with chicken wire.
“Love is all fire; and so heaven and hell are the same place. As in Augustine, the torments of the damned are part of the felicity of the redeemed. Two cities; which are one city. Eden is a fiery city; just like hell. Cf. Augustine, De Civitate Dei, XXII, 30.
The truth concealed from the priest and revealed to the warrior: that this world always was and is and shall be ever-living fire. Revealed to the lover too: every lover is a warrior; love is all fire. Chandogya Upanishad, V. iii 7. Heraclitus, frg. 29
Broken flesh, broken mind, broken speech. Truth, a broken body: fragments, or aphorism; as opposed to systematic form or methods: 'Aphorisms, representing a knowledge broken, do invite men to inquire farther; whereas Methods, carrying the show of a total, do secure men, as if they were at farthest.' Bacon in McLuhan, Gutenberg Galaxy, 102-103”
We are all Ted, Love is all Fire, Writing is all Truth and Truth is all Broken. Only the warriors, who are lovers, and the lovers, who are warriors, see.
I am Ted, then, burning, writing broken.
I live in a Dollhouse now, and sleep some nights in a loft bed that creaks when I roll over. I turned 30 at the San Diego Zoo, talking to my elephants with my Anth and my Linz. My elephants have no predators, and no prey. Therefore, they have time to dance, solve puzzles, ask for attention, and explore the world with tender trunks. I miss them all today.
What does it MEAN, that love is all fire? As I watched the Man burn in clouds of white-hot shocking billows, I thought I knew for an instant. Anthony to my left, vowing to burn his own false words. Janet in my lap, burning away the false friendships. Me, burning the little lies of exaggeration and omission I’ve told to appear less guilty, less cravenly selfish, more approve-able. An instant of searing hope. Hope that branded us with its demand for action. This is the Beauty and Terror of my favorite Rilke poem. Rilke tells us: Let everything happen to you.
Let Love happen to you. And be willing to burn.
This means my work changes. My life changes. There's no getting ready, or getting set, there's only GO!