Tag Archives: Recognition

June 25, 2017

Tampa, Florida

Masters of Magic show at the Magic Emporium

Afterward, as I’m chatting with people and packing up, a lady approached. She took my hand and shook it, then pulled me close for a hug. As she did so, she said nothing, but she held my gaze and the expression in her eyes was so meaningful that I felt tears welling up in my own. You could feel it through the room, and all around us, for a moment, everyone was quiet.

My words have reached deep inside some people, and sometimes they just want to let me know. Some people can say more with their eyes than their mouths. And I can listen with my eyes –often better than with my ears.

I hope she felt my mutual gratitude.

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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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Guilt

“Something in me, dark and sticky” ~ Peter Gabriel

There is nothing greater in this life than to be what you were made to be. Feeling the tug? Want to break free from the drudge and living for someone else’s dream? I say wholeheartedly: Yes, you can and yes … there’s nothing better.

There is a price, and some of that price is guilt. Let me unburden, if you please.

Aside: unburden. That’s kind of funny. It implies that once I lay this down to you, I won’t carry it around anymore. Nope. As soon as I fill your ears it’s going right back on my shoulders. Such is me: I can’t let things go.

I’ve achieved success in my work. Success to me means the ability to not only support myself and my family with my art and my craft, but to reach out and help those who need it. It’s important to me and it feels good. It feels great. I work hard at what I do. I do the work because I love it. I want others to feel this amazing thing, too.

With the success came recognition: a minor sort of fame. Interrupted dinners in public. Unwanted advances, suspicious new ‘friends’. That felt good for a while, too, until it burned me a few times. Listen to this, because this is a hard lesson I’m still learning. Fame isn’t worth it. It becomes … tolerable, if you really love what you do. (And I really do love what I do). Sadly, it can make you instantly suspicious of even close friends. There’s the very real probability of unwarranted jealousy on the part of your loved ones, who (rightly) expect your time with them to be sacred. Watch your ego, I constantly remind myself. It can really tear things down quickly.

I know it’s a bit rambling this time, such are my thoughts.

Point is: even when you work hard … for decades, even. When you work until your throat is raw and your fingers can’t feel … when you take the stage with a kidney stone tearing its merry way through you because the show MUST go on … achieving the success can bring feelings of guilt. I’ve heard:

“It came to easy for you.”
“You don’t charge enough and you’re undercutting everyone.”
“You charge too much and you’re making the rest of us look cheap.”

I get accused of being a diva and of being ‘moody’, sometimes. Sorry folks: sometimes I get too deep in my own head.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Guilt.

I’ll deal with it. I’m still carrying it, even when I know I’ve not done anything wrong. I’ll bear it, grinning or not. Perhaps a good story will come from it.

In the end, that’s why I’m here. This is what I was made for. To tell my stories and do magic tricks.

Regarding those things: I have no guilt and there will be no apologies.

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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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