Monthly Archives: August 2015

Found While Organizing

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Cotton Street Diner was one of the very first restaurants I performed in regularly. Carlaysle was probably five or six at the time. I’ve saved all the letters and cards from all of the kids….

Silver, shining, heart-wrenching memories indeed.

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On Splintering

A very good friend wrote to me this morning. He’d caught wind of some of the things happening in my personal life and extended his sympathies.

Off topic: I’m very torn about how much to share via this medium. On one hand I don’t wish to hold anything back; I want to write honestly and with raw feeling. On the other I don’t want to bring pain to anyone, most especially the people I hold close and dear. My personal viewpoint would almost certainly do that. What to do …

At any rate, my friend closed with the sentence: “worlds are collapsing all around me”. This sentiment touched me deeply. The events happening around me are hard and full of sorrow. There are goodbyes and longing and … seeming endless hours of waiting. Waiting for a word, a gesture. But my world, my journey isn’t collapsing. I’m losing some very important gifts. Stories are ending much sooner than expected and I feel powerless to change things, powerless to heal the wounds on myself and on others. It hurts, make no mistake.

But … it’s a semicolon, not a period. My sentence, my story isn’t over yet. There are chapters ahead. I still have my talents, my personal gifts of laughter, magic and storytelling … these gifts are still mine to share. I’ll keep moving forward and striving to love with all my might.

You can, too. This isn’t the end.

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h. atred

“Now why so cut and dry?
A simple concept missed
Give tolerance a try
This confusion still exists
Ignorant mongers, no area’s gray
Couldn’t be any wronger in this age and day.

Why were we put here?
What for? We’re unsure
We sure weren’t put here to hate
Be racist, be sexist
Be bigots, be sure
We won’t stand for your hate

Let’s try to erase it, it’s time that we face it
If we don’t, then who will? Shame on us” ~ The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones

Hate. I don’t really have a place for it. I learned long ago that so much negative energy (and it takes a lot to actively hate) is very bad for my health and any relationships I strive to maintain.

A friend mentioned last night how boring hatred is. And she’s correct: there’s nothing glamorous or attractive about it. It becomes a monotonous raving with no substance, after a time. In addition to all of the negative energy, it’s uniquely self-destructive. It can literally make you sick. Do your utmost to not foster it.

Now that I’ve said that, I have a hatred I cannot shake. This hatred stems out for one individual person. I’ve tried for over twenty years to shake it, to let it wear off. I’ve tried to forgive. I’ve literally been on bruised and aching knees, pleading with the universe to allow me to forgive, and the truth is … I simply cannot.

It eats at me, friends. It colors my relationships and causes me, at times, to loathe myself. I can point to it as one of the major causes of my depression and over-introspection. It causes in me fits of anger that I choke on and hide. It’s always there, not far under the surface. Sometimes it rises up unexpectedly and distracts me from everything else.

It … does not entirely rule my life, but it certainly does influence it. I recognize its unhealthy hold on me and I swear, I’m trying to let it go.

I really shouldn’t be writing about it. It doesn’t serve any purpose other than to purge a little. I can’t see this being helpful for anyone, and possibly there are those that will use this pain against me. Go ahead, I guess. Get in line with the false rumor spreaders and haters of all ages. This is my pain and I’m leaving some of it here.

My Mother was murdered, and her killer walked away without any repercussion. Worse, he manipulated me in my grief to enable his alibi. I’ve spent over twenty years now feeling the guilt he apparently never did. I’ve learned to not hate myself, and I’ve done my best to forgive myself, but I haven’t forgiven him. He hasn’t asked for forgiveness, so I’m not really under moral obligation about that (I’ll tell you my views on forgiveness another time) but the hatred I feel towards him hasn’t abated, either. It kept me up last night, seething.

Here’s my ugliness: I wish him pain. Suffering. I would wish guilty feelings, but it seems to me that guilt is beyond his sociopathic understanding. I wish … I wish I could make him answer for his crime. If I believed in the religious afterlife, I might take some comfort in his ‘ultimate judgment’.  I don’t, however. So in my point of view … he got away with it.

I’m okay. I’m not about to do anything rash or stupid or violent. I just wish I could let this ugly, dark emotion go. It won’t bring her back. It won’t punish him. All I’m really doing is punishing myself, and now I’m doing it publicly.

Forgive me, friends. PLEASE forgive me, family. This seemed like my only option to get the rawness out. I’ll be better soon. I promise.

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a Dad’s moment

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We’re sitting in a Steak N Shake and discussing card tricks and art and

A young father comes in on a date with his little girl and they are playing games and laughing and so full of love the place might as well be empty and

I used to long for this before I became a Dad. I honestly did. My own princess who thought I was the greatest and

I had it. I owned it three times and we went on dates and played games and laughed and I was a king with my golden, beautiful princesses and we were so full of love and

Now? I’m the lonely old man watching his past with tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat and

They still love me. And I did have this, and it’s still silver.

And …

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Robin.

A year ago today I lost a friend. A friend I never met.

Now … he never met me, odds are he never even heard of me, but he affected my life and he was there in my happy and dark times as only a close friend can be. I bought his first comedy album and it scandalized my mother. She thought of him as Mork, and family friendly, but he introduced some adult humor and dark thoughts into my young brain. She took the album away, and it took me a very long time to find it and steal it back. (I swapped the record and kept Robin in a “Sound of Music” sleeve.)

He introduced me to poetry and Hemingway. Wolfe and Van Gogh. All day today these fractured souls have been entertaining me. All suicides. Mad men and women who lived with such incredible passion that it seemed to burn them. Eventually, for whatever reasons, they took their exits.

The pouring out of soul is crucial. We, the entertainers and poets and storytellers and artists all have a need to share our love and yes, our pain, too. From personal experience it heals. It heals me and it heals many of the people I touch with my silly card tricks and ‘witty’ patter. I’m privileged to have this gift.

One of the drawbacks, and it’s a big one, is that my family has had to share me. That isn’t a picnic. Being recognized and stopped in public became a really sticky issue very early. I kind of enjoyed the spotlight, but it was too often foisted on my loved ones who didn’t really want me to be Hannibal all the time. Also, in my blogging and social media, I’ve shared with you … not exactly secrets … but personal feelings and thoughts that they felt should have remained within the family circle. Alas … this heart gets worn on my sleeve and the older I get, the redder it becomes.

I never bought my wife a proper engagement ring. In fact .. I’m not certain I ever proposed. We just decided and leapt.

People ask why I decided to become a magician, why this particular craft? But it really just happened. I found I was good at it and I leapt. That leaping changed my life. After years of struggle and heartache and fears and really hard work … I found success. Monetary, okay, sure … but way more than that. I found that my sharing of myself helped people. Changed and saved lives.

Robin and Ernest and Virginia and Vincent … they shaped and changed and saved my life. I never met them, but they touched me and millions of others. We … the artists and magicians and jugglers and painters and seamstresses and poets … here we are and here are our souls. Life is hell, sometimes. We take the shit of life and, as artists, we strive to create something that gives you genuine joy.

I often state “I hope that there’s love where you are.” And I genuinely mean it. All of us deserve love and sadly not all of us get what we need. That phrase, uttered and typed in love, has been used as a weapon against me. I’ve been mocked with it. Put down and called a hypocrite for it. That doesn’t make my intention any less true. I do hope there’s love where you are.

Robin took his life one year ago today and he left a massive hole in me that I haven’t been able to fill. He didn’t say why, or if he did his family has decided not to share. I miss him. I hurt for him. I’m still mad at him. (If you are ever hurting that badly, call me or contact me – even if I don’t know you.) If you consider me your friend … here I am.

I’m going forward, now. Things in my private life are somewhat catastrophic at the moment, but I’m going to keep breathing. On the very first show I did after Robin lost his battle, I made him a promise that I would pick up his flag and carry it. I may never be as well known, but I am giving you my heart from the page and the stage, and I won’t give up. If this post rambles, well, I hope you can carve some sense and comfort out of it.

Robin said “keep a little madness” and I am sticking with that. This means some of what I do won’t make sense. That’s life, right?

My friend, I miss you. I couldn’t be there for you because you didn’t know me at all. But maybe I can be there for someone else, and every night on my stage, I’ll be throwing magic as hard as I can to my unseen friends. For your attention, I’ll give you heart-wrought silver.

You, the beautiful one reading this? You’ve stuck with me for 815 words, now. Thank you. You can affect lives, too. You can save a soul. Please, find the love, find your path and walk it as far as it takes you. For what it’s worth, I believe in you and I love you.

Robin … and Ernest and Virginia and Vincent …. and Rene’ the Maestro … and Joey and Dee Dee and Tommy and Johnny … and really hundreds of other friends and shapers: Thank you.
I sincerely hope that there’s love where You are.

h

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