Tag Archives: loss

A Bar

Musing thoughts on a surrealistic bar. You know … you’ve heard about it.

There are hundreds of ‘guy walks into a bar’ jokes, there’s even a youTube channel dedicated to them. An establishment that could be a real bar. A guy walks in, or a girl (usually blonde), A minister, a priest, and a rabbi, and some humorous exchange takes place.

But where is the surreal bar, and what does it look like? The one where a horse walks in, or a bear, a sandwich, a piece of string. How startling and fun it must be, not to mention Happy Hour!

For me that bar looks the same in every joke: A room of about 20 feet square, the bar itself on the left and a bit too close to the door. Tables are scattered throughout. The barkeep and timeline is around just prior to prohibition, and the clientele is pretty sparse. (Except for the odd crab, sipping his beer in the corner)

What does the bar look like to you? Would you buy the depressed horse a beer?

Best made the observation earlier: Bars are the place you go to drink poison out of fancy glasses. And I’ve justified it in the past because the poison took the edge off the pain, helped me bear the loss. (see what i did there?)

Have I been the weird, persistent piece of string? Not me. I’m a frayed knot.

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Joy in the Moment

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.

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Validation

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.

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House

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.

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The Cups

The opening scene of “LIAR!”

There was once a street magician …

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August 1, 2013 · 12:53 am

Joy?

This career I’ve taken on is frustrating, grueling and at times completely unrewarding. I often wonder why I’m doing it. The answer always comes immediately: My joy is here. There’s something very addictive about living your dream.

Tonight I had the honor to once again entertain and refresh some of the most amazing people I know. I’m talking about you, Laura. I know you are reading this. The opportunity to do what I do for such a brave soul as yourself and you your INCREDIBLE family is what feeds my addiction.

Image

Take away the awards. Take away the fame. Say goodbye to the Magic Castle and all the goals I set for myself. I can take it. As long as I can serve you, I’m wealthy.

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Sell. Be.

This took a long time to get from my head to my hands. Sorry gang.

It took me a long time to find joy in my work. On stage, in the brief time I get to spend there, I found bliss in the journey. More often than not, I have to ‘sell’ myself to the audience: They come with expectations of what this ‘magic show’ is going to be, largely due to the widespread acceptance of mediocrity among my magic brethren. So I sell. I pull out all the stops and give my everything to my audience, baring my soul and making my case. In the past few years, I’ve learned (and it’s been a slow process) to find happiness in the off stage time, too. The planning, the rehearsing … the editing and execution that must be done are all part of the road. I’m traveling it, and I’m enjoying the trip.

There’s a guy I know. Over the years we have become friends, though I only see him once a year. The internet and Facebook have brought us closer, but still … nothing like good old fashioned face to face. He’s an artist, working with clay and creating uniqueness out of dirt. I’m a fan of his (and his family’s) craft, as much as they are fans of mine. He does not settle for ‘good enough’, mediocrity does not exist in his hands. He has battled dragons and emerged victorious. We create ‘something out of nothing’, and he has enriched my life. Not to long ago, his path turned dark: he was diagnosed with cancer. The bad kind that comes with a timeline. The kind that took my father.

I’ve been grinding my face into the ground in prayer for him and his kin. I ask and plead, cry and curse at God on his behalf. My ‘invisible friend in the sky’ listens, and chides me for my foolishness. If the soul is eternal, then this is just a short time suffering, and gold must be forged, right? Still … Fuck You, Cancer. This is my friend. Hasn’t your appetite been sated?

We recently reunited in the usual shady grove that hosts my show once a year. He came and sat through four performances, at least. Right up front. He was thinner, and perhaps slower, but his strength and soul were evident. He inspired me, and I gave some of the best I had on that beautiful sunny day. I said some things that had to come from God, because I didn’t recognize the words coming from my mouth. I may have gotten ‘preachy’, but the crowd seemed to understand and lifted me up.

At the end of the day, we had a (too short) conversation. He told me that he liked what I had brought, and it had inspired him to get back to his art. “I just want to get my hands back in the mud.” he said. That sentence has echoed in my head every day since. The simple act of doing what you were born to do, to just … BE who it is you are supposed to BE. This is the essence of this short span we have. Life is a gift, one among many. Stop getting caught up in the petty stuff that in the end has no meaning whatsoever. Sell yourself on the idea that you have something to give, and you should be giving it.

Sell. Be.

We need you.

Oh, and forgive my harsh language. I simply can’t find a better way to express it.
Fuck you, Cancer.

Hey, Mudslinger! I love you, Man.

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