Tag Archives: mental-health

Summer Camp

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings, Public Diary

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings

“It’s just a magic show”

I have some incredible fans. I have a bunch of friends who visit my little show again and again, and bring new people to see it. In almost every public show I do someone will say to me: “I didn’t want to come. I was forced or coerced to come. I don’t like magic shows, but this …”

In all humbleness, yes. Yes I have something different and it’s not like anyone else. Sure, there are card tricks, but there’s also heart and soul and pain and love in every second of this piece I’ve created.

Created with tears and heart and joy.

Last year I débuted an act after the main one. “The Naked Truth”. I talked truth to my audience and then stripped. I asked Them to write their own pains: Their body issues, fears … whatever They wanted on my skin and let me hold it for a while. The response was astounding. I wrote about it in detail here. There was a follow up on that post here. It touched people, it uplifted people.
It changed my own viewpoint about what and where my art should travel.

I’m doing it again. 10PM Friday, September 11 at UpStage in Charlotte, NC. I’m going to take you a little further down the road I’m travelling, then I’m going to invite you to hang your grief, your views, your love (if you want) on my canvas. This act is … extremely difficult for me. I’ve wrestled with it for a long time, but it is right, and I’m ready. I think.

This will be a magic show. And it will be much more. My friends River Nuri and Megan Sky will be presenting some powerful art as openers.

Please come. Please bring friends. The show is ‘Pay what you want’, and reservations can be made at

http://www.upstagenoda.com/events/the-magic-of-hannibal-with-special-guest-river-Nuri/

Leave a comment

Filed under Public Diary

The Cups

The opening scene of “LIAR!”

There was once a street magician …

Leave a comment

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Musings, Public Diary