I had a hat and a waistcoat.
I put them on, picked up my instrument, and went to work.
It was raw craft, at first. I had a little skill with words and so I used them to hide the flubs.
Raw craft … and then
I missed my mother. I was unhappy that she never saw me perform one effect, never saw what my hands were destined to do. I said so while shuffling cards. I made up a trick that i thought would make her laugh, could she but see.
… and they laughed. And they gasped. And they wriggled a bit in delight.
The laugh exploded and crystallized into art. Laughter through tears.
A marine. (hard and sober)
A goth chick.
A homeless man.
A homeless woman.
A college student.
A superstar athlete.
And several anonymous souls
… have told me that I saved their lives with my words and my art.
Tonight I made a woman weep with my stories.
I reminded her of her son
Who died …
Laughter through tears.
“He would have loved this … thank you for being who you are.”
tonight I drove home.
And I put my instrument down (for now, not for keeps)
I took off my hat and i hung up my waistcoat
and I wrote this to you.
This … is who I am.
My resolution for 2018 was ‘Have Less. Be More.”
In February I reduced my footprint by two thirds and moved to Los Angeles, where i immersed myself in the Magic Castle and the creativity and art that grows there.
Tonight, on the closing night of the year, I’ll be performing in the Hat and Hare Pub inside the World Famous Magic Castle. A spot of honor.
Resolution 2018: Nailed It.
The following was posted on Facebook by Randy Baker, who is my boss/ client/ friend/ leader along with Kelli Willoughby for the USO of North Carolina. I have been super privileged to be a part of the Warrior Reset program for the past couple of years. Kelli and Randy have several extraordinary programs they created for the USO.
Her words moved me, so I’m sharing them (with her permission) with You.
“This will probably be the longest post I ever make but I have had something heavy weighing on my heart for the past few days and I felt compelled to share.
On Sunday morning I was having breakfast at the Waffle House off Western Blvd. in Jacksonville. As I sat there with my friends, recovering after a night out, I started to sit quietly and observe the very young Marines interacting all around us without a care in the world, almost like boys pretending to be men. Even with vulgar sense of humors, they still had innocence about them.
I started to feel really emotional as I compared them to my Marines and couldn’t figure out why. Then I realized that it was because I had never seen my Marines so care free and it actually broke my heart. Of course I have seen them be silly and they are some of the funniest people I know but I have known them all through war, which stole their innocence and that thought caused me physical pain. These are men and women who I love dearly and they don’t get to have that innocence back. They are warriors and they are scarred. Then seeing these young Marines who have no idea that the places they go will change them and I wanted to protect them.
I remembered the infantry Soldiers I met when they first arrived at KAF before they went to their FOB in Afghanistan. So excited and full of life and motivation and so innocent and how their eyes and souls changed when they came back to our base on their way home from R&R. I wish I could give that innocence back to them.
I was then comforted by a song from one of my lost Marines and immediately felt a call to action. No doubt from Jimmy who made me promise to never forget his friends and to always of his Marines.
This week, I have spent my days with 40 service members, some career soldiers but most of them young Marines.Through these thoughts that side swiped me on Sunday morning and through my involvement in our Warrior Reset program, I find an even more renewed passion for caring for our troops. I want to continue honoring the amazing Warriors who have turned into family for me and the sacrifices they’ve made on my behalf and to give new skills to our military’s future leaders so that they can cope with the inevitable challenges they will face. Maybe just maybe, I can help them preserve a little bit of their innocence just a little bit longer than they would have.
Thank you for everyone’s support of my love and passion for caring for our military and for the military itself. I consider myself so blessed to be a part of this amazing family and even more fortunate to be able to support my peers through my work with USO of North Carolina. This is my life. This is why I was put on this planet.”
Courage, Heart, Determination, Action.
She speaks and on it so beautifully.
When I Come Home
The house s full, tonight. There’s restlessness and anticipation. I am welcomed with love and smiles, even from those here who don’t know me very well. We interact, we converse, we dance.
This is my home. I’ve been building it all my life, it seems. The lights are always warm and bright and my audience is sad (a bit) when our time is done. I live here, on this stage. There is love in abundance, where I am.
When I Come Home
The house is empty. It is almost always empty. There is stillness, peace and quiet. There are books to welcome me, and … myself to converse with.
This is my home. I built it over the course of scant months, it seems. Once I lived in a house teeming with energy, love and compassion, but … I ruined that. I destroyed it without even trying. So now I pass the time working toward getting back on stage as soon as possible. I try not to think of what I burned behind me.
There is love in abundance, but I lost it.
In my Magic life …
I have four amazing children. Amazing. Clever, loving, beautiful kids. Well, no longer ‘children’, I suppose. My eldest turns 27 this week. Wow.
Anyway, they were raised in the midst of love and art and encouraging affection. Often one of them will say or do something that reaffirms to me that .. we did okay.
My son (the youngest at 19) recently posted the below. All I have to add is: THAT. IS. MY. SON.
Braiden, I couldn’t be more proud of you.
“So I found this little jem earlier while I was surfing the Internet. So that’s me when I did the rocky horror picture. When I did this show I had a real job. And progressively every day I’d come into work with makeup still on my face, or glitter everywhere, and at one point lipstick marks on my cheek. They always kept asking “what is that?” Or “how hard was the party last night?” You know it’s not easy to try and do what you love while working with normal people. I cannot tell you how many times I just wanted to sell my guitars and say fuck it I’m done. But some people don’t take the time to think what this world would be like without art, or crazy people like me. You’d wake up everyday and work 9 to 5 go home and have any color in your day. But if at that 9 to 5 there’s a guy like me you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but everyday won’t be so mind numbingly boring you won’t have dreams every night about blowing your brains out. It takes even the most talented artist to put on a smile and tell himself he is gonna have a good day. The least you could do is help him have a good day by letting him know the picture he paints is worth a thousand words, or the stories he tells are worth a thousand pictures. Why not start creating a life of art rather than looking down at entertainers for being artistic.”