Monthly Archives: August 2017

Grieve, She Said

“Everyone I love lives somewhere else
And I have time to look at myself ” ~ Marillion

I sat on her professional (not ridiculous) couch and talked about divorce and isolation and friends being weary of the same old sad song. “It’s okay.” she said, “You have a right to grieve in whatever sense you need. Being told ‘It will pass’ is simply too simplistic. You are in a very painful place and it’s okay to hurt. There are healthy ways to hurt.”

The gift in this is the time alone. the time to really quest deep into the long-unexplored recesses. Pull out my essence and value it for exactly what it is.

“So what if they think you are self serving and odd? You have spent most of your life trying to please someone else. Your parents, your family. Look for ways to please you. You cracked under trying to maintain your mask. Take it off and burn it – there’s a really good soul underneath. Not everyone is going to like it, but live for what you think is right, not what they tell you will be right for them.”

I keep seeing glimmers of the man I really am.

Art from pain, right? Christ, I need a genuine hug.

Grateful for the process. Grateful for the time to study. Grateful … just grateful.

More later.

h

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Weird Kid

For a season in high school, I wore a cape. I didn’t imagine myself a superhero or any such … I donned a floor length black cape with crimson red lining. I had purchased said cape from Morris Costumes, to use at Rocky Horror. It had residence in the trunk of my B610, and one morning I just decided to slip it on and … pretend it was the most normal thing in the world.

The oddest thing: most everyone accepted it without question. “Just seemed like something you would do.” was  the thing I heard later. Lots of my friends wanted hugs, wanted to be wrapped up inside my cape for a moment. Escape the pressure … be silly and whimsical, for a moment, for a season.

For a season in high school, I wore a scarlet letter. I read the book and had a heated debate with a teacher about gender roles and acceptable behavior. I didn’t know the term ‘slut shaming’ in 1982, but the concept was really clear. So I sewed a big red ‘A’ on my jacket and refused to take it off, even when threatened by administration. It caused a stir, but the point got through.  Almost earned me a small vacation. Almost.

I do card tricks now, and sometimes i push an envelope that constantly dares me to push it. This Labor Day I’ll be doing such a thing.

I want to be a safe place. I want to be a shield when a shield is needed and a pillow when a head is weary. I’m walking toward peace, and I’m plucking little bits of joy along the way.

I wasn’t sure where this was going to go, and I’m not sure how to end it.

Be weird. Get a cape.

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On the Eclipse

I wrote a full blog on this … nearly 2000 words, full of feeling and poetry and my views on this event. On re-reading … it was awful. So here’s the nonfiction version.

I asked around and tried to get  together with some friends, but it just didn’t happen for one reason or another, so I made a little picnic and headed over to a nearby park, a rose garden.

I at at a table in the empty garden, smelling the fresh earth and flowers. There were birds singing, distant music. The day became subtly different, slowly. It felt surreal, but comforting.Slipped my glasses on and took a few peeks. As the sky grew dark, the birds faded and the crickets started.  I was surprised by the stars coming out, though I don’t suppose I should have been.

Alone but not lonely, living in love instead of fear, though my mind sometimes tries to make me afraid. All is well, and all shall BE well.

All my senses were engaged, and I took the time to be grateful. In the midst of an astonishing event, I realized how astonishing my very life is.

The gratitude hasn’t faded.

 

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Jokers and Vets

This definitely falls into the ‘I have amazing friends who do magical things’ category.

My friend Donna loves to skydive. She’s a disabled vet who gets her kicks from flying … and teaching others how to fly.  More about this in a second.

When she dives, she carries a playing card with her; a joker with a sticker on the back with instructions on how to contact her. This is the sticker: 19894365_10154714318117113_1161213817_n.png

She releases it during the drop and waits to see if and where they are found. Her team mate drops Aces of Spades. The one time he didn’t he had a malfunction and had to go to his reserve, so now he doesn’t forget.

Donna loves and lives her passion, but there’s more: she reaches out to other disabled vets and teaches them skydiving, too. This naturally poses challenges to some. Double and triple amputees have trained with Donna in order to learn flying. The balance, the alterations to the equipment, everything has to be taken into serious consideration. Worth it? Donna says, “Flying like that is like driving down the road with a trailer that has busted up wheels and you can’t control it. But his face when he first flew stable…

Yeah, absolutely worth it. Donna brings her passion and infuses her students with the joy she gets from diving. Just chatting with her about this gave me chills. What a gift to share with someone. Literally lifting hearts and overcoming adversity.

To be honest, I have written and re-written this blog several times now, and i cannot adequately express how this story makes me feel. With all the separation, pain, and diversity infecting the world right now, here’s a woman who gives great gifts, both seen and unseen, someone who sacrifices time in order to help bridge the gap for veterans. I’m humbled. The best i can offer is to direct your attention to this amazing woman and her team.

And she drops Jokers. I’ve saved up a bunch to send to her, since full decks of jokers can be expensive, and I’d like to call on my fellow magicians and cardmonkeys to do likewise. Save up your jokers and send them directly to: BD Factory Team, 15211 Preston Pass Dr, San Antonio TX 78247

Let’s overwhelm her with gratitude and Jokers.

In her own words, which are far better than mine, here is her more complete story:
Donna Bachler.

Amazing friends, heroes. Doing their part to better the outlook of Veterans, and making the world better daily.

What can you do? Show me …

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For The Fallen

Death is nothing at all, I have only slipped away into the next room.
I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used, put no difference in your tone, wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we shared together.
Let my name ever be the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

 I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just around the corner.
All is well


Henry Scott Holland

 

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A Few Words for a Hero.

He wasn’t famous, not really. Most of the magic community knew who he was, and the wise ones fed on his words like manna.EBSB The vast majority of the public never heard of him, though he shaped and influenced the ‘names’ they do know. He was a legend, a giant, an icon … yet unassuming, introverted, quiet, and deeply observational.

He was the author of the very first book I purchased on my craft, “The Performance of Close-Up Magic”, and I still refer to it today, twenty-five years later. We first met in Vancouver, working at a magic convention together. He was warm, gentle, and kind. His method of teaching, of guiding, was unique and powerful. Every time I was in his presence, or opened the pages of one of his books, I learned something new. About magic, about kindness, about myself.

The last time we spoke face to face was in St. Louis, three years ago. He approached me after my act at the North American FISM contest and complimented me. I was thunderstruck. We exchanged information and he called me later to discuss my process for creating … the man I gleaned so much knowledge from was interested in how I created my act, and (in effect) was learning from me. He was uplifting. He was honest. He was a master at making people feel.

He wasn’t famous in the conventional sense, but he left his mark, and the world was made better because he was in it. My heart hurts from this loss, but I’m joyful that he was a part of my life.

Eugene Burger

June 1, 1939 – August 8, 2017

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Summer Camp

I do one 'kids show' a year, and I wish I could do many more, as long as they were as gratifying, as heartwarming, as the Charlotte MDA Summer Camp. Every summer for the past 11 years, I've been invited to entertain the campers and the counselors one evening, and every time I leave, I'm struck by how lucky I am to have been there.

The children and youth that attend have various forms of muscular dystrophy, but their enthusiasm is unmatched in any audience I've had the privilege to work for. Yes, it's your typical summer camp. There are multiple activities and campfires and sing alongs and home sickness and stomach bugs and everything that makes camp a silver memory that many of us treasure for our lifetime. It's so much more than that, though. As you might imagine, working with the individual challenges of each camper is a daunting endeavor, yet it's done with humor, energy, and style. So much grace …

And there's love. Man, the love in that place is so thick you could spread it on toast. The staff and the counselors bring their best for the campers and everyone looks out for everyone else. Maybe I'm gushing a little, but I'm sincere.

The past three years I arrived wrapped up in my own troubles, and they vanish within the first few minutes. I leave invigorated, happy, and hopeful. And moved. Lifted so high, emotionally.

I'm not …. writing about this to brag, or promote my image. I want to impress on you the value of giving of your ability. Taking your talent, your time, your vitality and using it to enrich the lives of those who need it and see so little in their world. It could be anything, any cause, listen to your heart. Believe this: it's been worth any 'sacrifice' I've had to make in order to be there.

The love you need is where you plant it.

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