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Not the Best News, Not the Worst News

My heart and my art are about being honest, telling my stories and making sure they are rooted in truth, even if the stories themselves are pure Fabrications.

Here’s some harsh truth.
One morning this week I woke up and was having some trouble tasting things on the left side of my mouth. At the moment I chalked it up to the food I was having, but then:

As the day progressed the left side of my face became more and more numb, and when I woke up the next morning I found that it was completely paralyzed. I panicked for a moment or 10 and then got on the phone to try to get an appointment to see someone.

It turns out that I have contracted Bell’s palsy. It is a viral infection that is not permanent, but it may be 6 months before anything resembling normal. It is difficult to eat, it is very difficult to drink, and my speech is quite slurred. Also, the left half of my face is completely Frozen. Not the greatest thing in the world for performing artists.

I have medications to take, and by all accounts this is only temporary. I’m making this gently public, because I live my life in a spotlight … And maybe this part of my journey will be helpful to someone else.
Honestly, even though I am assured it won’t last forever, I’m somewhat terrified.

Anyway, that’s my news.

I hope there’s love where you are.

h

If you would like to help support this artist, please visit www.Patreon.com/MagicArtist
Every little bit helps me survive.

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Bliss

I am standing in the kitchen, letting the water run into the sink.

When I turn off the tap, the sound does not stop. I raise my eyes to the window and look out into the rain. The trees in my garden, in my peaceful little place, are exploding in the way that green does during the afternoon storms.

I want to climb through the window and become one with the verdant heaven I see before me.

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My Role

In a moment of whimsy I quoted Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on Facebook:

“Know your role and shut your mouth!”

I was met with mirth and gifs and whimsy in return … and then …

I was called out and questioned about what my role truly is. This was from someone who had been in the audience during a USO program I was part of. In that show I expressed hope and healing. This fellow human chided me for posting things that he deemed hurtful and divisive. Finally he asked me: “What is your role?”

I stopped and thought. I consulted friends and mentors. I examined my heart and my soul, as well as my gift. I point blank threw it to the social media and asked what role my friends saw me in, in their lives. After much thought I determined this:

My gift is my voice; my ability to communicate. Not card tricks, not magic. Voice. My responsibility is to hone that gift and use it in a way that is pleasing to the giver.

So my role … is Storyteller. To reveal my heart demonstrably in the service of the giver of my life and my gift. The giver and my master is Love. Love must sometimes stand up for justice. Love must sometimes raise its voice against tyranny and oppression. Love must stand in the gaps of division and insist on truth.

I have been given a voice, and I do my best to raise my voice for Love. That’s my role.

… but I will not shut my mouth.

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Brown

I was born in a bookstore. An intimate bookstore. All raw wood and paper and that smell you get when books are allowed to co-habitate and age together. The new, important, crisp Gore Vidals and Stephen Kings, the venerable professors Twain and Dickens and Woolf. The mad uncle Hemingway. The brooding cousin Poe. The taboo aroma of the pulps: McBain and the Destroyer, Conan the Barbarian and Edgar Rice Burroughs. It was warm and inviting and time slowed and bent, and I was born alongside a million universes, stories and worlds.

I was born in my grandfather’s backyard. He brought in dark soil to enrich his vegetable garden. After spreading, but before seeding, he had me kneel with him in the dirt. “Get your hands in there, Buzzard. Break up a few of the clods and put a piece of yourself into the earth.” So saying, we plunged in, wrist deep and let the dirt flow through our fingers. Working the soil, giving thanks and requesting fat tomatoes and squash. The aroma from the broken soil was a promise of life, of food.
My hands … are still dirty.

I was born in the shade of a large oak, among the roots. Regal, masterful and knowing. Everyone praises the tree for its garments: green and then red and yellow … gay and beautiful and heart lifting. Underneath its clothes, though … that’s where it happens. In the gnarled roots and rough bark. The hands of the roots plunged deep into the earth, feeding and nurturing and creating fruit. The time traveling tree, having shaded your grandfather and his grandfather … has been told secrets and has witnessed history, yet stoically remains quiet, maintaining foundation and changing clothes every now and then.

I was born at the taste of cinnamon apples on a girl’s lips.
I was born again when I looked into Her eyes and saw deep, mahogany history.

My life is stories and dirty hands.

I am surrounded by love, warm and nurturing … books, earth, and roots.

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Mother

All of a life, summed up in a dash between the dates. Her work, her art, her children … her unrelenting vitality.
She inspired, she loved, she encouraged. She sang …. no, more than that, she made music.
She saved lives, she nurtured. She gifted me with the fine art of sarcasm.
My faults are my own. My virtues came from her.

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Athazagoraphobia

The fear of being forgotten or ignored, the fear of being replaced.

I felt it before I knew its name, and it’s still in my top three.

Listen: You cannot be replaced by anyone. You are a unique human being, and there is literally no one else like you.

Trust me, I have friends who are scientists … there’s never been anyone exactly like you. Roads merge and split off … love the road you’ve been put on.

You are unforgettable.

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Quest

Like .. a never-ending one.
Way back, pre-magic days. I was working my last job, at Heritage resort. I was asked to accompany my boss on a walk through the property. We chatted and walked, then sat beside a lake in a really green place. We were building a lighthouse stage there …
He complimented me on the work I was doing (writing scripts and executing them via live acting and puppets) and praised my efforts as an employee, husband, father, and human. You know that meme where it says that giving me compliments is like trying to put a wrinkled dollar into a vending machine? Yeah .. was then, still is true now.
And then he said something that still echoes in my head: “You have a really great way of reaching people, showing them your heart and loving them, that’s a real gift, but I never see you take much joy in yourself. Where is your happiness?”

Later in my story (couple of decades later) in the midst of an argument my wife accused me of being chronically miserable. She told me I could be happy if I could just act like I used to … find the ‘real me’ that I used to be. “You’ll be happy when you decide to be.”
My friend Andrea reminds me that I still create art for others and … it’s amazing and I’m really good at it. I’m dedicated and I care. All of these things are true.
Yet … I sink into a hole when I walk off stage. I give everything I have and I empty myself. I will get very still and quiet. On the best nights, after the best shows, and almost every single time I’m driving home from the Castle, I weep uncontrollably.
I’ve looked, I’ve meditated, I’ve quested for happiness through several therapists. I’m still sitting here with all this weight pressing down on my shoulders and i still have not recognized joy in myself.
Chronically miserable, though you’d not really know it unless I told you. Unless I foolishly laid out all the words about how painful life is. The persistent loneliness and certainty that I am unworthy. Not capable.

There is art to be made and art can be a forge that turns my grief into sunshine for someone else. So I’ll do the shows with all my might, all my heart.

Even when my heart is just a tiny, bitter, green pill.

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Musing in Nashville

I’m broke, but no longer broken. I’m weaving the scars into tapestry. Art heals.

Nashville appeals to me in ways I didn’t expect; there is art and music everywhere. From new architecture to old country. The city has embraced the art that I brought to it and seems to genuinely like me. Granted I’ve only been here for six days, but after the initial fiasco with TSA in Los Angeles, it’s been a really incredible and Uplifting week.

Because you asked …
I stopped posting pictures with the hex fastener because I found out that the gift it was based on was an utter lie. I believed in it and I had faith in it for a very long time, (and I have deep regret) but I can no longer display it because I discovered its falsehood. Many people have asked, and that’s your answer. I was used, I was lied to, and I put it behind me.

It still nips at my heels, but I refuse to let it control me anymore.

I’ve decided it’s time to wake up. Admittedly I’ve been coasting for quite a while, but it’s time to seriously take the reins to walk my path as true as I possibly can. More proactive in my heart, my art, and in my life.

As a reminder, I do what I do for the beauty of it. For the satisfaction that it gives my heart. Not for contests, not for accolades, not for anyone else but myself and the giver of the gift. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that what I do pleases people. I hope that it inspires them to chase their own curiosity. That’s how things change for the good, right?

This journey has been enlightening and amazing. The VisionQuest I didn’t expect, nor plan. I’ve gotten a little closer to my own truth, and that makes my heart very happy.

I hope there’s love where you are

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An Apology

Who hurt you?

I know you were at the end of a long shift. I was taking the red-eye and my gate had changed three times and the plane was delayed twice and the people I was in line with were gruff and frustrated. For some reason you singled me out. Do I remind you of someone who was rude to you? A former friend? Someone who hurt you with words?

Who hurt you that you decided I should pay for it? Now … I don’t take it personally. You didn’t pat me down or even make eye contact during the twenty minutes we spent together. You unfolded all my clothes, opened every deck of cards, examined all the coins and various other props I was traveling with. Went through each pocket. You pulled cards out and flipped through them, spread them on your table seeking … something. You declared that the cards were ‘suspicious’ and told me I’d have to leave them or check the bag. Given that I had just a few minutes to get to my gate, mostly because of time I spent with you, I let you take them. Fifteen decks. Ten of them my favorite green monarchs … which run about ten bucks a pack. You left me with literally no recourse.

When you finished, you crammed all my things haphazardly into the suitcase and then broke the zipper trying to close it. Shrugging and smirking, you walked away. “I’ll let you take care of that” you said over your shoulder as you left.

Dismayed, I talked to your supervisor, who promised to look at the video, but wouldn’t take my name or any other information. One of your coworkers sheepishly wrapped my suitcase in packing tape to hold it closed.

Whoever hurt you and however they did it, I’m sorry. No one should be made to feel that bitter, because inevitably it gets passed down to someone else. I’m going to let it end with me, though. I’m putting these words out … not in anger or in frustration (those feels came and went) but as a caution. It’s so easy to pass hurt along, so breathe and maybe … don’t. Next time.

And … who hurt you? The nice lady who came up the aisle smiling until you saw you would be seated next to me. I was in my aisle seat and there was a lady in the window seat. None of me was spilling into your middle seat. I had the armrest comfortably down. Yet … you refused to sit next to me. Demonstrably. You summoned a flight attendant and demanded to be reseated “because just look at him!”. She declined. You made a scene. They found you a place, and I enjoyed an empty seat beside me for the flight. (Thanks?)

Am I so hideous? Was I scowling because of the earlier incident? Did I remind you of someone unpleasant?

Whatever it was … I’m sorry you were feeling that way. I hope your flight was better, wherever they put you.

I’ve purged my negative feelings over these incidents … hopefully today will rise above.

h

If you’d like to support this journey, please visit www.patreon.com/magicartist

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What’s Coming Up

Largely due to professional help and long, honest conversations with Sarah about art … I’m going to be more productive on the other arts I offer.

Blog, Podcasts, Video diaries, and more. Much more publicly.

Exercising creativity begets more creativity. I’m striving for excellence, and opening the sluice is the way to do it. It won’t all be silver, but it should be interesting. I hope you’ll watch what happens.

The Podcasts:
https://soundcloud.com/magicartist  The ongoing saga and viewpoints of an artist.

https://soundcloud.com/tinyspider Poetry and ASMR for relaxing bedtime listening.

Video Diary and Select Magic Moments:
https://www.youtube.com/user/HannibalGroup

To support these offerings …
www.patreon.com/magicartist
Venmo: @magicartist
PayPal: info@themagicartist.com

Yes, there are perks for being a Patron, but they are largely based on simple support. There will be exclusives, and some early gifts … but supporting the art is the focus. My humble thanks in advance.

I didn’t come this far to only come this far.
I’m glad you’re here.
I hope that there’s love where you are.

h

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