This time we were prepared.

    For Burning Man 1997, we headed into the desert armed with a rental truck, a cooler full of dry ice, several miles of PVC pipe, a flag, three huge pads of paper and magic markers.

    This year, we made fray camp.

    See, last year, I took a bunch of photos of Burning Man and posted them on for the world to add their experiences to. It was, in fact, the fray's first story.

    This year, we took the posting forums to the playa. Armed with three easels, a box of magic markers (the kind that smell like fruit – remember those?), and three pads of paper, we set up camp in the middle of the desert, in the middle of approximately 12,500 other Burning Man participants.

    We asked three simple questions: Why are you here? What have you done? And how do you feel? Participants were asked to write, draw, or do whatever they felt answered the questions.

    Sure, we saw stuff burn. We saw the freaky people. We had fun. But beyond the hoopla and the headlines, there were the real people who felt that unintelligible, passionate yearning that drove them into the desert. We asked them to talk about it. Here is what they said.

    And, of course, if you were there, you're invited to answer the questions, too.

    See you next year,

    – Derek

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