Tag Archives: love

June 10, 2018

The Magic Castle, Hollywood, CA

I looked all over for some small sign of my friend. He was nowhere to be found. The places were still there, but there was no trace of him. Not his laughter. Not his spirit. Not his magic.
I sat on the bench where we talked about performance and art. I spent time at the table where we shared favorite books.
He’s just gone. I, selfishly, would have liked more time with him.
I visited Irma to get some perspective: maybe add some music to lift my heart. At the request of another guest, she played “Suicide is Painless”.

I fled.

Later a stranger, who earlier in the evening had watched my show, gave me food. “I ordered this to go on impulse. I think I’m supposed to give it to you.” Chicken and veggies, quite delightful.

As I went to pay my parking, I was called back inside. A friend requested that I do a small show for his sister, who was celebrating her birthday. We found a private table and … it was good. I told my stories and did my magic for the two of them. I made a boot for her … and she cried, just a little.

It took everything I had. It was worth it. I gave them a bit of me. That’s art, right?
For you, Leeman. For your smile. For your spirit. I found a bit of it, and I gave it to someone. As it should be.

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Gold

Fell asleep on the couch, not quite on purpose. Hazy sunbeam woke me up, bouncing off of the ring. The ring that doesn’t fit anymore. Doesn’t fit in any sense.

Hazy sunbeams in an airless room on a July afternoon. Friends and family and way too crowded. The bride is beautiful, glowing and ripe.

The ring dangles from a black ribbon. Tiny diamond heirloom from another failed endeavor.

I do and I do and I will and I promise. Nerves and heat. Eyes everywhere, expectant.

The sun warms the color, making it appear deep and meaningful, but the meaning has changed. Matrimony to melancholy. Once she was my song, now she is my versus.

We cry joy and there’s cake served with chaos. Later there’s mountains and sunset.

Mesmerized for a moment. When did it stop fitting? When did it stop meaning? When did joy turn bitter? When did I?

We tumbled through years, decades. Danced and hurt, healed and danced again. Then the song was over.

This memory on a ribbon.

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Dr. Z

My mother’s favorite movie was “Doctor Zhivago”; it came out the same year I was born. We watched it four times together. She told me in confidence that she didn’t believe a grand romance like that could really happen.

The second to last time we watched it, I took her to a movie theater that was having a classic movie revival week. The grandeur and the power of the cinematography, along with the incredible story made us gasp and weep openly. It’s rare to have that strong of a reaction to a movie … but this was brilliant.

The last time we viewed it, about four months before she was killed, I gave her a deluxe VHS set for her birthday. At the end of a box of tissues she told me that I had the capacity to love like that, if I’d let myself.

The love he displays is of high caliber. Not just of Lara, though that’s important, but his love of humanity, life and love itself.

Could I possibly? This is a goal worth reaching for.

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Musings born of a bad dream

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.

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.

Returning to our little house, 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.

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For Wesley

“There’s one more kid that will never go to school, never get to fall in love, never get to be cool.” ~ Neil Young

This isn’t going to be well written. I’m filled with grief and I’m mourning a life that was way too short.

I do work and donate time and money to the MDA. I’m just telling you, I’m not bragging. I donate when i don’t think I can afford to. I give time and performance when i could honestly use the money. It’s the one kid’s show that I do, ever. Once a year: the MDA summer camp. Believe me when i tell you that it is hard work, and an absolute joy, a true honor.

I love those kids. I love the counselors. I love the organization and the back breaking work they do for these awesome young humans.

and this love, as most things do, comes with a price. Time and money, sure. Sacrifice, yes … but the kind of sacrifice that is a pleasure to make. The steepest price is death. These children have different forms of Muscular Dystrophy. They waste away. They fight, and they struggle and they live the best possible life they can. And the fight gets lost, and the cost is life.

I lost one today. I got the news via Facebook and a friend. This boy had spark, he was energetic and joyful and funny. He was Into all the activities and quick witted and … I cried in the pain of losing him.

“His pain is over. His suffering is at an end.”

Yeah. Okay. Soon another will follow him. and another, and another. Because there’s not a cure right now. In this enlightened, advanced day and age, why are we still fighting so bitterly over imaginary lines, ideology, dogma, when we could direct that energy into love and healing? I know … I sound naive and childish. Perhaps.

Right now all I see is a boy that should be feeling those awkward growing pains, instead of suffering from literally withering away. I boy that should be alive and vital, and instead … is dead.

I lost a bit of my heart and softness today, and it feels like I’ve already scraped myself thin. I wept hard and quietly and briefly (my beloved roomie said that I had BETTER cry more than that when she goes. Made me laugh.) And now I feel a little more hollow. I’ve had several surprise breakdowns.

I’m going to continue to fight for them, the remaining. I’m going to donate and advocate for love and healing and cures .. and kids in camps.

Goodnight, Wesley. This one is for you, champ.

Support the MDA: http://www2.mda.org/goto/memorymakers

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Redemption

“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.

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March 6, 2018

I got some bad news early in the day, and i’ll talk about that later, when i can discuss it rationally, but what I want to report to day is this:
I went to the Castle last night. I had to force myself to get dressed and drive over, because my brain was trying to tell me it was pointless. (You are not your mind) Once I got there, I enjoyed a couple of shows and had a pleasant conversation with Handsome Jack. (He’s bewildered that ‘Fool Us’ has not picked me up.)

And then …  a group of enthusiastic young people gathered around the table I was sitting at and requested a short show. “People tell us you are fun!” So I did my thing; we made art together and their energy translated into renewing laughter and loud astonishment. I refilled my spirit. I found out later that they were the cast of ‘Aladdin‘ .

and then … just before packing up to go home, a gentleman approached me, almost shyly. He told me he was a fan of my work, and wanted to chat for a moment. We talked about card tricks and apartheid, the Magic Castle and Trevor Noah.  He was from South Africa, and he told me that a friend had shared my blog with him. He was moved by my description and pictures from ‘The Naked Truth’, and he related that he was inspired by my “bold pursuit of art’.

A man from South Africa was moved to deeper love and creativity by my art and my words.

You don’t know (and you may never know) who you are affecting and how. Be true. Art hard. Do what you were made to do, and change the world.

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