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