“What’s broken can be mended. What’s hurt can be healed. No matter how dark it gets, the sun’s going to rise again.” ~ Dr. Meredith Grey
The plot line or trope or whatever you would call it that I enjoy most in stories is the redemption narrative. I first encountered it in ‘Watership Down’ via Bigwig. A mild arc, but it spoke to me nonetheless.
Then Vader, and later still Shawshank, and countless others; the most powerful being ‘The Wrestler’. The title character seeks redemption and forgiveness from his daughter, and does not get it. So he pulls it from inside himself.
Redemption: Coming from the dark and finding the light, the love … the redemption of a new and better life.
This speaks to me in my life because a redemption narrative says: no matter how broken or wrong or bad or stupid or ridiculous or harmful or sad or terrible you are … you can atone.
There is still a road back. It might be rocky and steep, complicated and messy. Walking it may take your entire life. You may lose your foothold, slip and fall back into the abyss, but the wall is still there. The ascent is still there. Hard is not the same as impossible.
You are never too far gone. You are never beyond saving.
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.
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. 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.
June 1, 1939 – August 8, 2017
Hannibal is Creating Stories from the Road
Hello, friends and loyal readers!
Here’s what’s going on in the Hannibal world: a more intense focus on work and art, eschewing a social life for awhile, so that I can get my business and creativity back up to acceptable levels. My heart is for the performance and in helping other artists get their road underway. I cannot accomplish the second until the first is taken care of. (Secure your own mask before assisting others with theirs)
The past two years have taken a toll on me emotionally and financially, but, thanks to love and time, I am recovering and getting myself and my art back together. To these ends, I have launched a Patreon account. Rather than just crowd-sourcing or funding, Patreon allows artists and fans to connect on a more personal level. Supporters become investors in the very personal work of the artist in affordable amounts. There are two main reasons i launched:
- Divorce. Lawyer fees, alimony, and a thousand other little things that added up to a money pit. I am doing fine in my business (and improving all the time) but the added expenses have crippled me. Put plainly, I need help in recovering from this disaster.
- Expanding the art. I am working on writing projects, podcasts, and videos to both entertain my audience and to encourage other artists. There will be programs on finding success in the entertainment industry, stories from nearly three decades of life in showbiz, and learning to love yourself enough to truly love others. Finding small joys to enrich your life. I’m not going to the Tony Robbins level of rah-rah, but I do have some experience that will be valuable.
The investors in my Patreon account (or Patrons) will give me the opportunity to fill the debt, have time to write and record, and take my show to more public venues. In return, my investors will get early access to media and projects, and exclusive rewards for your support. I’ve set goals on the account itself (when I reach 50 Patrons, everyone gets an e-book sample of my upcoming book “Across the Table”) and these will continue as we move forward.
Your investment? You can pledge as little as one US dollar a month, and that will let me know that you are there rooting for me. I’m asking for a minimum of five dollars per month, as this will help me with the goal of whittling down the debt, producing a podcast and public shows, and getting published by the end of 2017. There are substantial rewards for deeper investment, and those are all explained on the account.
The account may be located at patreon.com/MagicArtist
Thank you for reading this far, and thank you for your consistent support and love.
The Fool is untested potential, neither positive nor negative yet containing the possibility of both. The Fool is the unconditioned soul about to come into manifestation for the first time to start learning the lessons of the world. Though mocked and derided, attention is not paid, and the Fool simply walks on. Perhaps what they say can be justified, since this ignorance of the world can lead the fool to do things that more experienced people would never imagine. But in these things can be found knowledge and enlightenment. The fool does not care what others think or say, because of a galvanized faith that the path followed is absolutely the correct one.
This approach to life is a strange, unconventional one, because the Fool does not always do what is comfortable. This is a viewpoint not often supported in our modern world, in which “do as I say” is the commandment most followed, and the easy path is the road most traveled. To those who have lived their life under this philosophy, the approach of the Fool may be extravagant, shocking, even frightening. But this approach is all that the Fool knows, and because the only approval they require is their own, they will continue to live this way, despite what all others think. There is simply faith in Self.
The Fool does not hide from the light, because the Fool is the light – the wonderful light that shines out of every child before they see the world and are forced to build so many walls and barriers to protect themselves. The innocence of a child, sadly, is something rarely found outside of children, even though a lot of people could use it these days. With this innocence comes perfect trust, fearlessness, and total self-reliance. It allows one to see the world with new eyes and learn new things every day of one’s life. It’s a shame that only children, and the Fool, see this light.
New beginnings, new experiences and new choices; the first steps along a new road and the first words written onto a blank page. Where the road and the story lead are not your concern, because when a journey begins no one can know (or should know) what will happen on the way to the destination. Never let another person control your life. Live in the present and trust in your own abilities – this is the road of the Fool.
(Featured image by Rhienna Renée Guedry)
In the leaner years, pre-magician days, I drove a truck and delivered furniture. The days were long and exhausting, and the work … largely unfulfilling, though it had its moments. I looked at my co-workers and I used to wonder where they would rather be, what their dreams were. Sadly, I learned to not ask, because it made some of them angry. “What’s wrong with this job? Is this too good for you, ‘Mr. Actor’, ‘Mr. Artist’??” Mocking the dreams I had shared …
Some days I rode a bike to work, so that she could have the car. Only about 8 miles, and most of it through the green shaded back neighborhoods. I dreamed of big, ivy-covered houses. Later in the day, I might even see the inside of some of these, as I delivered their bookcases and beds. I loved the peace, and the exercise the bike gave me. Just as a boy, when my bike took me everywhere, from the corner store to the Death Star, fighting off TIE fighters as I flew through trenches to save my friends.
Returning to our little house each night, with the attic fan and the big metal grate in the floor that served as a heating system, there would be love and laughter waiting. Stories to tell and stories to keep. Books to be read and re-read aloud.
If the magic thing went away? I’d like to drive a bus, cross country, long distances … deliver people to new adventures.
… or bring them home.