I’m an entertainer. I’m a showman.
Yes, I wear the magician label, but magic is the vehicle my hands found. Or … perhaps it found me.
I’m of an age when my heroes and mentors and friends are falling. I give my grief a season, but I will not let it stop me. Johnny would insist that I work, demand that the show is the important thing, point out how much I’ve given to be where I am.
So i will grieve, and I will mourn. Ashes and sackcloth. But then I will polish my shoes, hold my head up, put on my armor and make art.
With all of my heart behind it.
Tag Archives: Coping
I’m an entertainer. I’m a showman.
I feel myself worthy, I’m full of confidence I know exactly who I am. Onstage.
On stage I make people smile, I lift their spirits, I show them miracles. On stage we are one, and they believe in me.
Off-stage, not so much. I’m still the 10 year old who does not get picked. The last kid, awkwardly standing alone while cool kids choose someone else, because I just don’t measure up. I’m not quite good enough. Off stage.
It’s lonely off stage. At the end of the day I am by myself, and left to comfort myself. I am quite aware that this is the life I set up for myself.
And perhaps that’s how it’s to be. I’ll use this time to make my time on stage a little bit better. I would have liked to have been chosen, I no longer expect it.
I still have the stage, and I’m still kinda important there.
Indianapolis, performing tonight for Park West Gallery, extolling the virtues of art and the pursuit of excellence.
The day is bright and cold.
Coincidentally and harmonically, my heart, soul, and head are in a very bright, peaceful place, though I am in more perilous debt and stress than I can remember.
Life is magic.
And now, the bad news:
Monday morning I received a subpoena from Dawn’s attorney. This was for contempt of court hearing number 5.
Because Wells Fargo took $2500 out of my account on February 15th due to old bad debt. The money was set aside to pay alimony and attorney fees. In addition a couple of show checks were chasing me around the country in search of my new address, and they were later than expected. So … I was late on February alimony and arrears. It was paid, it was just late. So they hit me with contempt.
On May 21, I have to appear in Mecklenburg county court to defend myself against criminal contempt charges. I will have to cancel two shows and come up with airfare. I can’t seem to make the opposing party understand that this will cripple my ability to pay my monthly due. I contacted the clerk of court about changing the date, but that was a no.
I just need a break from the persecution … and a few shows to get my momentum back.
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.
There are days I wake up and feel like Sisyphus.
Do you know who I mean?
Sisyphus was an ancient mythological figure punished for all eternity to roll a boulder up a steep mountain, only to have it roll back down to the bottom when he reaches the top. Albert Camus called him an absurd hero; he struggled perpetually and without any hope of success.
That describes me on some days. Broken promises, lack of perceived ‘progress’, low bank accounts and good old self doubt are my boulder. I struggle daily to push it forward and upward, only to watch it roll back at day’s end. In the reality of my profession, the boulder is mine. I am aided and supported by an amazing set of friends and family, but the responsibility is on my shoulders. Sometimes this burden is crushing.
When times like this occur, I stop and breathe. I count my blessings and I look at my situation from a different attitude. Picture Sisyphus smiling.
The idea is so simple: here is Sisyphus, the wretch, interminably pushing his boulder up the hill, watching it roll down and repeating. In my mind he was always completely defeated, hopeless. And then, as I read Camus’ book on the ‘Myth of Sisyphus’, everything about the picture changed. Imagining Sisyphus smiling, embracing his situation as his reality, not wanting a different past or a different future, but accepting the present, the scene totally rearranged itself. He was no longer hopeless, but happy in his acceptance of the situation.
He must, in order to accept the absurdity of the situation, adjust his attitude and fulfill what has been put before him.
On the road to your dreams, there are certain absurd truths you must acknowledge. You must work as hard and as tirelessly as you can. There is no guarantee of success, but the burden and the struggle contain a successful measure of their own. To simply be doing what you love, and to master it, may be enough. Our ultimate fate is all the same, so why be miserable? Live your passion in the task at hand, and find satisfaction in your minor successes and your crushing failures.
Like Sisyphus, some see no other option than the mountain and the rock. Burdened with obligations, lack of control, hopelessness, low expectations and no alternatives, they continue to toil in dead-end jobs and uninspiring environments.
You, however, can see opportunity in obligation, freedom in failure and hope in hopelessness. You are unique, as are your burdens. Keep shouldering on, and be thankful for the journey.
Knuckle down or Quitsies?
My law and your ducks … mostly prits and cats-eyes; my aim is true and your hold is beauty.
No stomps, you are free and the circ is not your limit. Bombies are cool, you’re strongest on your stage, and I love your style on a leaning topper.
Colored magic glass – the first valuable gems I owned. (and I scooped most of ‘em!)
it is okay for me to be upset when You leave
it is okay for me to want You to stay
it is okay for me to have a hard time
it is okay for me to be affected by my mental illness
it is okay for me to make mistakes
it is not okay for me to throw a fit
it is not okay for me to get angry at You
it is not okay for me to let myself dwell on my emotions
it is not okay for me to pick a fight because of a temporary feeling
it is not okay to for me to hold onto hurt feelings
i can get through these emotions
i can be patient with myself
i can apologize when i make mistakes
i can explain my actions without placing blame or making excuses
i can let go
I believe that my work is important, vital even, to some people.
My fellow entertainers and I bring relief to the machine. Levity to buoy the spirit and return it to flying … or soaring. We inspire, we enlighten, we save lives at our very best. We change them, too.
One of the most difficult things for me to handle is praise. I don’t know how to accept it graciously. I feel gratitude and thankfulness for those that take time to tell me their thoughts on the show and how it moved them, I just don’t know how to respond properly.
A friend recently wrote the following on Facebook about meeting me and getting to know me offstage. (We recently worked together in a play about Jack the Ripper called ‘Whitechapel’)
“I knew of you long before i actually met you… but Whitechapel sealed the deal.
Upon first seeing you, I thought: “He really sold his soul to the devil for magic.” And that’s amazing. And pure. And true. And omg that was amazing.
What do i like most about you? You aren’t afraid to bare your absolute soul to the world. You are an artist in the truest form. There was a day, i think it was the second to last or maybe the last day of Whitechapel, i parked next to you over off of 36th by Rat’s Nest, i got out of my car to wave hi to you in your van. You were listening to music, I’m not sure what song, but you were crying. Sobbing. I knew things were difficult at the time…with life and things, but to see you expose the emotions so fully, so unabashed, so freely brought me peace. Knowing that it’s ok to bare our troubles in such a way, to music even. I will never forget the day you made me love being human.”
I will never forget the day you made me love being human.
On the one hand, how do I express how grateful and happy I am that I was able to give her such a gift? On the other … words and letters like this let me know that I’m on the right road, doing the right thing, and using my gifts well.
Don’t be afraid to live fully. And love who you are.
The past year has been draining. Emotionally, physically … I am seeking help in the form of professional counsel and friends.
The people I relied upon for inspiration have removed their support. I’m not asking for pity, I can see my own mistakes leading to their decision, and I do hope for forgiveness and love, in time. This depression has led to my business and art faltering. The responsibilities I have are suffering and I’m all but broke, financially.
I have been bearing my burdens and trying not to wear them on my sleeve. Tonight, I am peaceful, thanks in large part to a friend with a smile and food. Food for my mouth and for my spirit. I will overcome this, I will book the shows I need (in abundance) and I will make art direct from my green, magic heart. I will take care of those who need, and … I will do card tricks that may well change your world for the better.
I will. I have faith that, though my road is rocky, it is still MY ROAD.
Pray for me, readers. Pray for continued strength, patience and understanding.
I hope that there’s love where you are.