by Edmond Manning
Lost and Found Series #4
Buy link: Amazon | Allromance | Goodreads
English attorney Alistair Robertson can’t quite believe an astonishing tale of kingship and transformation he hears at Burning Man, the annual counter-culture art festival in the Black Rock desert. Who are the Found Kings? Is “being kinged” as magical as it sounds?
Determined to find the mysterious garage mechanic named Vin who helps men “remember who they were always meant to be,” Alistair catches his quarry amid the extravagant sculptures, fire worshipers, mutant cars, and lavish costumes. After searching for three years, he’ll finally get to ask the question burning inside him: “Will you king me?”
Wandering together through the desert, Vin Vanbly and Alistair explore Burning Man’s gifting culture and exotic traditions, where they meet the best and worst of their fellow burners. Alistair’s overconfidence in Vin’s manipulative power collides with Vin’s obsessive need to save a sixteen-year-old runaway from a nightmarish fate, and the two men spiral in uncontrollable, explosive directions.
In this fourth adventure of The Lost and Founds, beneath the sweltering summer sun and the six billion midnight stars, one truth emerges, searing itself on their hearts: in the desert, everything burns.
Guest Post: Learn the Language, Broner
by Edmond Manning
If you’re going to show up at Burning Man, learn the language. You don’t want to be a broner (describes men who display the same “douchy” behavior one might see in a night club or at a rave).
The unique vocabulary did not spring up overnight. The words reflect years of an evolving Burning Man culture. Like any unique culture-based lexicon, they are informal ways to express approval and disapproval, reinforcing norms and values that Burners want respected.
It’s easy to see how a word like broner evolved. In the early days, Burning Man was considered a unique cross between spirituality, anarchy, and radical self-expression. Those who value those qualities were dismayed when, during the mid- to late-nineties, Silicon Valley dotcommers showed up en mass and began turning Burning Man into their own networking rave. Broners is a criticism, judging those who do not treat Burning Man as a special place.
There is other less flattering nomenclature, too:
e-tards / e-nnoying
Someone acting like an idiot on Ecstasy.
Usage: “That e-tard is trying to hug a canvas tent.”
This word can be negative or positive, depending on how it is applied. A sparkle pony is most often a beautiful young woman, displaying her…um…beauty for all to see. Could be nudity. Skimpy costume. She’s a goddess. She’s wearing glitter. She’s young and beautiful. On the other hand, a sparkle pony is almost the cousin of broner. A sparkle pony could be that same young woman who didn’t bring food, didn’t bring gifts to exchange, brought barely enough water…it’s someone who didn’t prepare and expects their good looks to carry them.
Usage: “Check out that woman who just offered those guys a dance with scarves if they give her a burger. What a sparkle pony.”
The burner is acting like somehow they are the only person who embodies the true spirit of Burning Man, and luckily, they are here to show us all how to live it.
Usage: “You know, it’s funny you should bring up Burning Man. I actually wrote a book about Burning Man, myself. It’s called King John.”
“Okay, geez, don’t get all burnier-than-thou. I get it. You danced naked in the desert. You’re practically an earth spirit. Waiter? Can I get the check please? This first date is going nowhere.”
Someone who watches and doesn’t participate.
Usage: “Hey, yahoo, instead of filming people dance, why don’t you set down your iPhone and dance, fucker.”
Burgin (pronounced: bur-jin )
First time attender of Burning Man.
Usage: “You forgot to bring sunscreen? What are you, a burgin?”
A drum circle. These are generally considered to be quite annoying.
Usage: “Ugh. No, let’s not go in that direction. I hear a circle jerk I’d rather avoid.”
The very outer street in Black Rock City. The very innermost street is called the Esplanade. The Assplanade is its less popular cousin.
Usage: “Where’s that camp that washes your feet? Out on the Assplanade? Oh, fuck it. I’m not walking that far.”
Blue room bolt
Ditching an unwanted companion (traditionally someone you just met) who is busy using a porta potty.
Usage: “Hey, that Sparkle Pony is only wandering with us because we have water. She just went inside to piss. Let’s blue room bolt.”
This describes the unfortunate condition of having sunburned your genitalia—one of the side effects of wandering the desert naked and forgetting sunscreen.
Usage: “There’s no way I’m going dancing tonight, not with these family rubies.”
Playa vampire / vamp (pronounced: ply-uh – the type of desert terrain found at Black Rock)
Someone who parties all night and sleeps all day.
Usage: “Better not wake up Peter. He was out until dawn. He’s a playa vamp.”
Short for Fucking Around For Fucking Forever (acronyms don’t have to follow the rules at Burning Man). When you want to leave and go explore the playa, and your camp mates are taking their sweet, sweet time delaying. C’mon. Hurry up!
Usage: “Hey, we want to get out clubbing! Quit faffing around!”
Someone who will sleep with you just so they can crash inside your air-conditioned RV for the night instead of their dusty, hot tent.
Usage: “Edmond rented a luxury RV for Burning Man, counting on trailer chasers to flock to him. What a broner.”
TTITD / That Thing in the Desert
Burners often feel judged, when discussing Burning Man, by those who have never been. Out in the real world, when they want to speak in code about the event, they simply say TTITD or perhaps, “That Thing…” without getting scornful glances or eye rolls from nearby tables.
Usage: “At the coffeehouse this morning, I heard the table next to me discussing That Thing in the Desert and before I left, I told them I thought Burning Man sounded wonderful, and to have fun next year.”
Edmond Manning is the author of the romance series, The Lost and Founds. The books in this series include King Perry, King Mai (a 2014 Lambda Literary finalist), The Butterfly King, and King John. King John takes place at Burning Man.
He has always been fascinated by fiction: how ordinary words could be sculpted into heartfelt emotions, how heartfelt emotions could leave an imprint inside you stronger than the real world. Mr. Manning never felt worthy to seek publication until recently, when he accidentally stumbled into his own writer’s voice that fit perfectly, like his favorite skull-print fuzzy jammies. He finally realized that he didn’t have to write like Charles Dickens or Armistead Maupin— two author heroes— and that perhaps his own fiction was juuuuuuust right, because it was his true voice, so he looked around the scrappy word kingdom that he created for himself and shouted, “I’M HOME!” He is now a writer.
In addition to fiction, Edmond enjoys writing nonfiction on his blog, http://www.edmondmanning.com. When not writing, he can be found either picking raspberries in the back yard or eating panang curry in an overstuffed chair upstairs, reading comic books.
Feel free to contact him at email@example.com.
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