i write for inner peace.
I have a new effect: Magician to King.
Being self-employed is a monarchy, and like all monarchies, it has a tendency to one day fall. I'm amazed at every day I wake up to learn that I am Houdini-escaping from the confines of the traditional 9 to 5 cubicle. I know my time with this art as work is borrowed, and I'm taking the chance to practice deeply.
Over the next few months, I will be working on a new video project to capture my moments with my art form in the corners of my late-night practice sessions. I know soon, I will have to be selfless and transfer ship to a 9 to 5 job, to support my fiance and upcoming family. But until then, I will sleep late and spend as much quality time with magic as I can.
The project is called "Cardboard Kingdoms", and introduces anyone who cares to follow me on a journey through a world of card magic routines performed to poetry. Each routine is its own frail, fleeting kingdom- kind of like a city of dominos that is destined to fall down with only me watching. I don't really get to express or perform these routines at my gigs that much, so these deep-night practice sessions are where I can really visit them, and get lost in the art I have grown to love.
The first of these kingdoms is the Sky, and is inspired by my long distance relationship with my fiance Agnes Pasco. Enjoy your stay, and if you'd like to see more, subscribe to the Cardboard Kingdom channel www.youtube.com/cardboardkingdoms, as I'll have a new kingdom ready for you to explore every few weeks or so this whole summer.
The key is to make a scene. The presence of a crowd, even of three or four people, looking at the same thing is already something to look at. They say in psychology, if you point and look up at a point in the sky, someone else might involuntarily look that way. That's what I try to do. I want the first few people who watch to be my arrows, pointing in my direction: a person who doesn't really like being the center of attention. I sit at the back of buses and walk to the park without a nod to passing neighbors. I like to shoot basketball by myself over playing in pick-up games. My coffee and beer, I drink alone. I put on a hard hat of tolerance when it comes to the hour or so at gigs. I have to be the center of attention. So to do that, I make a scene. The key is to create gravity. I like thinking of my 360 crowds as asteroid belts, and I this strange, mystical world they are orbiting and looking in on. I like it when my crowds cave in, instead of my reaching out to pull them. My center of gravity- the core- is a small wooden stool I've been calling the Lotus. It holds my three poetry books like a make-shift bookshelf. I also have a pole next to me with a giant sign that says "watch". I stand in front of the Lotus with Hagakure- the name for my deck of cards- out in my open hands like a fishing pole. I would cap off this living backdrop with the Lightning Rod- the short sword I use in my final demonstration- which I conspicuously lay on the ground right in front of the Lotus like a free throw line. And thus completes my storefront for attention. Sometimes I fall into a lull. Despite the out-of-the-ordinariness of this scene, people would readily pass me without a second glance. Some would look away. After no more than 10 minutes, though, someone extroverted enough would be bold enough to approach. They approach me! I love how its reversed like that, because most magicians end up approaching their spectators.
I have no idea why I am writing about all this. I am not at work right now. I was just reading this book called "Pinball, 1973" by Haruki Murakami, and he has brought to light to me the uselessness of being good at something. I think I'm fairly good at making a scene; giving people something to look at, and do, like a pinball machine in the corner of abar, flashing its lights while waiting for someone to stop by and play.That's what I do: I am a pinball machine at gigs.
This is great to know! This is humbling to take in.
One way magic has served me is by making time warp and pass forward, kind of like a good drinking session, but without the hangover. A performance moves my mind into the crowd, and far away from things that sting and upset me. I come out of one 15-minute set feeling different, and far away from where I was before the set had just started. An entire gig does me this favor many fold, and at the day's end, I'm looking around with different, and better, eyes. I had fought with the girl I love this morning, and got irrationally mad. There was no good reason to my madness! But in the heat of that moment, it made sense, and I rode that madness into a turbulent phone conversation and text exchange. She went to sleep in tears (she lives on the other side of the world, so the timezone is different), and I rode into my gig in a funk. I got out of it after the gig. The gig saved me! A few hours of doing magic moved my mind away from what happened, and when I came back to it some hours later, I realized how fooled I was to believe in my madness and act on it. I called her when I got home that night, and gave fully into my apologies and intentions to take better care of her and not get irrationally mad. I got off the phone feeling ten-times more appreciative of what we have. Thank you, magic. You serve me like a samurai once again, and cut down the bad in me that I wish to leave behind.
The Move Unseen
A blog for magic.