Tag Archives: Inspiration

My Green Grove

September 24, 2017

Festival in the Park is a yearly artisan even in Charlotte. Arts and crafts, live music, and variety acts. For the past twenty years or so I have participated at the ‘Magician’s Stage’ in one capacity or another. I started off in my early magic days, doing two twenty minute spots as part of the local magic club.

The stage has changed locations, management, undergone blistering heat and flash flood. One year the chairs and the stage disappeared under water in less than thirty minutes …

The stage is humble: just a wooden platform with the Festival banner as a back drop. Two floodlights on a metal pole are the entirety of the lighting. No sound system. Our hall is a cathedral of trees. It’s very green. This little grove sits in a small hollow, just off the main path. The sides of the hollow dampen the noise of the crowd and the live bands.

It’s really a magic place, all by itself.

Over the past three days we gave hundreds of audience members pure magic. I stood, bathed in sweat, pouring out my heart to several packed ‘houses’. All through the hot afternoon and into the dark of warm fall nights. They stayed, and they helped, and they gave us ovations and cheers. We danced together.

This was my last year with Festival in the Park. Next fall I will be living across the country. I know I’ll miss it. I know I’ll cherish the memories. I saw some friends I haven’t seen in years. I reconnected with some very precious souls that had been lost to me.

It was magical, it was beautiful.

It was green.

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Be a Star?

Chicago, September 2017

Walking back from dinner, looking at all these old buildings, the old shops, the heart and soul of Chicago that still beats in the middle of everything. I’m anonymous. No one gives me a second glance. I made a few new friends in the pub I had dinner in, did a few card tricks and made some people laugh. None of them knew me before tonight, but I gave them a little joy for the end of the day. The gift that I got from them is bigger than the gift I gave them. Sometimes I feel a little selfish that way.

There was a time when I wanted to be a “star”. I walk out on these big stages and I feel I could hold my own up-against the best of them, but I simply never followed the paths that led toward fame, and so it hasn’t happened to me. I have a good life, a great life – and I don’t get bugged by idiots (much) while dining out or walking in the street.

I do the show I want to do, when I want to do it, and I’m free.

I’m free.

The fans I have are loyal and awesome, and I would be happy to relax and have a drink with most of them. There’s a lot of love in my corner. In these things, I am wealthy beyond my wildest dreams.

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Mark Me

The Monday Night Tease Adventure, Part Two.

One of the first things I decided was to present ‘The Naked Truth’ with a slightly new twist. Yes, i still wanted it to focus on self-esteem and giving up hateful words, but I also wanted to add in fear. The world has become a very scary place, and it’s so easy to listen to all the doom in the air and just despair of everything. So i was going to also ask them to write their fears on my skin. To let them go for a short time.

In truth, once I settled on this scary idea, I didn’t think too much about it. I trusted in my ability and focused on centering myself.

So I prepped, and practiced the magic I would open with, looked at flights and budgets and … and then everything changed. Quickly.

One afternoon in late August i got a text from Lili: “You busy?” So I gave her a call. “What’s Up?”

“Well … due to stuff I’m not going into right now, the show will be closing two weeks. i just gave the club owner two weeks notice and … the last show will be September 4th. Just wanted you to know.”

We talked and I tried to be supportive and the friend she needed right then. She wasn’t showing it, but I knew she was frantic, sad, and upset about this news. She said she was going to try to call some people in and give it the best she could. When we hung up, all I could think of was … I wonder if she still wants me in this and was being polite, because: She knows i have one of MY shows booked that night and airfare is going be outrageous this close to date and whatever else. On my hand, i wasn’t going to presume I still had a space. But I looked up flights, anyway. I did math (yeah, it was that serious.) and sent a note to the owner of the club I had booked in Charlotte. I called her back … and to my delight, she did still want me for the final spot of the final show. She offered weak protest about me cancelling my gig, but I could tell she was happy.

Have I mentioned that I’ve been underestimating my strengths, lately? The honor of this was not missed.

I kept the secret, for the most part. Lili dropped a few subtle hints over social media, and a few people understood. The event was going to sell out, regardless. The only person i really let anything slip to was my friend, Andrea. I let her know I’d be in town for the MNT show and, if she was interested, it might be a good idea to catch this show. I even offered her my comp, but she insisted on supporting the show and buying her own. So I told her the secret, but she had already guessed before my confirmation. Truthfully, it was comforting to know I’d have a friend in the audience. Eddie and Lili would be dealing with work and emotions of their own, so I was glad of this addition. Coming down from ‘The Naked Truth’ is rough, so friendship and care is coveted. She was able to get one of the last standing room tickets, so thank the universe for small blessings.

Megan was concerned that Monique might show up, or try to get in touch, but that honestly didn’t concern me. That boat has sailed.

I made little posters for FB, I kept my anxiety in check, made my travel plans, and I meditated over the event. I wanted to make a good statement, i wanted to be there for my friend’s last huzzah with her baby, I wanted to bask in an awesome show, but most of all, I wanted to entertain Them. Give Them my heart.

To Be Continued …

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Self Blocking

I consulted friends on this and we all agree: there’s a story I want to tell, and it’s the truth, but it has potential to drive an even bigger wedge between me and my estranged children. They are all adults, and responsible for how they react to things, but fear has me stagnant.

I’m going to relate the entire story of the closing of Monday Night Tease from my perspective, and in doing so i must include a certain story, because it’s powerful and relevant and can help other people over their own hurdles. And it hurts me, still. I’m going to tell it. I just don’t usually struggle this hard with the keyboard.

Why am I afraid? I was accused of cheating (among many other things), it was read into the record in court that I had ‘multiple affairs in multiple cities with multiple women’ and it was presented without evidence, because it isn’t true. I was cornered by a friend during a wake and repeatedly pressured: “You can tell me. You cheated, didn’t you? It’s okay, I won’t say anything. Seriously. Seriously. C’mon, tell me, I’m your friend. Are you telling the truth? Really? Really? C’mon …” relentlessly until I had to forcibly remove myself. He would not accept my “No, I never cheated.”
No one from my former church family reached out to me. Not to get my side, not to comfort me, not even to say “I believe you’re guilty, but I care about you anyway. How can I help?” Not. One. No, they all believed the lies and rumors and I lost them.

Part of me fears the loss could happen again, but …

Shit. I’m a writer.

Damn the Torpedoes. Full Speed Ahead.

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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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