i write for inner peace.
Magic breaks ankles: you look here, and the ball is over there. Gazes are crossed, thoughts stumble. You fall out of your seat.
And those who do this to you have all these moves at their disposal: dribbles, no look passes, top shots, and the card you need is dealt: game over. Back to back threes, four of a kind, royal flush down the middle, for them to read and weep and loose sleep over the next day.
There are the mistakes: you play through them. You and the audience are a team, passing attention from side to side like a ball manipulated, until the driving lanes open. Effects dunk themselves over defenders of their own skepticism, shots hit stone-faced critics despite their hand in your face, and the people get on their feet and crane their necks to see what’s going on. You are the arena: whatever you do in the game echoed in their cheers and praises, their boos, or their silence.
Magic is a game: a team sport between audience and performer; a real-time duel of skills and strategy where execution mixes with emotion to put on a show. The magician, coach of an entire repertoire, each effect a player with a role to fulfill on the floor. Some will get knocked, fouled, and still find a way to score. Others will get benched for turning over the situation, the method, the secret. The star effects will become entrusted to pull rabbits out of hats in the clutch, earning their minutes, and getting the crowd behind them to fuel a run.
Prediction effects hit like long distance pull-ups. Transpositions move like give and go’s between the fingers, back-door behind the hand when no one was watching. Ball manipulation sequences lull the defense into a trance before the blow-by: before the pass to the open effect, the kicker ending. Dagger from the corner, no help rotation- you practiced this move in the gym when no one was watching, and now it feels the same; the knack is there. The effect connects right between the eyes. The crowd falls out of their seats, rubbing their ankles, scratching their heads, smiling ear to ear as they get back up for more as they watch things like the impossible get done like the Warriors are about to get vanished.
The question I used to ask myself and my mage comrades at cyphers was “what is magic?”, as if its definition were some elusive secret, and stumbling upon it would unlock some hidden power to enable us to advance the art form.
I’ve heard the Dan Sperry magic sucks rant. I’ve heard Armando speak out on the mass distribution of secrets. I’ve seen Eric Mead post gem statuses. If I see you, I see you. But in between all that, I hear the endless humming chatter of the magi masses, infatuated with something that I’m not so sure is real magic.
What isn’t magic? At one point laymen thought it was a hoaky novelty: wands and top hats. In the spirit of magic being a Way, and with as much compassion as I can have for the community of which I am a part, I’m compelled to define where not to go to keep moving:
Mages: What is magic not to you?
They were as uncharted and off-the-grid strong as the forces in the Bermuda triangle, swallowing entire crews that dared to cross them. They have etched untold legends into the pages of my memories through our many gig adventures together. Our paths may have diverged since then into new eras of adulthood, but I cannot forget that House where my magic came from. This is kind of how I'd like to remember it all as I drift further into the gigless, swordless afterlife of working a 9-5 grown up job, far removed from those distant shores were crowds went wild and cards flew careless. Pirates, ninjas, supervillains, mystics- these mages were straight out of an RPG game to me. We didn't have the most fancy, suit-and-tie operation, but we had bad-beer fun running it. I can accurately say that my job back then was getting paid to play magic; to be in a real-life videogame. I am grateful to this odd group of unknowns in the magician world- legends in my book- for giving my brainchild of magic a childhood as fantastical as the wonders we peddled.
For A Pocket Discovery from Royal Road
when I pick up the cards,
I let too many moments shuffle by
Ask spectator to overhand shuffle deck
without stopping to take in what’s in front of me
spectator removes a thought-of card
it’s all borrowed, fleeting
Spectator returns card
irretrievable in the fast-forward movement
of numbered dates as they pile on top of each other
Card is overhand shuffled back into deck
these memories will someday be lost
indifferent cards shown on top
indifferent cards shown on bottom
what I once held in the palm of my hands
is now out of reach
Spectator puts shuffled deck in their pocket
our days are numbered
Ask spectator to give you a number between 1-12
let the countdown begin
Begin removing that # of indifferent cards from spectator’s pocket
that first night, I couldn’t sleep
by the second night, I was still figuring out how to hold her
on the third night, my swaddling skills improved
Continue recounting first days with Nali as you remove cards from their pocket
our memories come back
Before the last card is removed, name the color and suit of the chosen card correctly.
time stands still
Remove one last card and hold it face down. Ask spectator what their card was.
these are the moments I can’t let pass by
Turn over card to reveal selection
The Move Unseen
A blog for magic.