Give it Its Time
Two recent events have forced me to change the way I’m approaching my magic. One was that, as J.R. mentioned, we had the opportunity to teach magic to a passel of kids. Teaching kids is obviously a mixed bag of interest levels, skill sets, and attention spans, but it reminded me just how much weird old magic crap I really knew, both effects but also techniques, subtleties, and theories. This isn’t meant to toot my own horn, because what I realized is we all have that, but rarely have the opportunity to go back and take stock of it, or really examine and use it, because we understand them on such a subconscious level. Having to explain to a kid why it matters so much that he move his fingers juuuuuust so when he does a move forced me to reconsider why I do it that way, and to confront the accumulated knowledge I take for granted (as well as the inevitable bad habits that have crept in with it). The other event was that I had the opportunity to work with an outstanding magician, and seeing his work reminded me just how much of a difference there is between knowing an effect and knowing an effect. His methods were all clever, but what made his show exceptional was the level of polish, thought, and practice that had obviously gone into it. This triggered a much-needed, self-inflicted, admonishment as I realized just how much I had been half-assing.
Basically I realized I needed to slow the f*ck down and polish the ever-loving sh*t out of, well, everything. I had fallen into the classic magic trap of constantly trying to learn/create the next awesome effect. I wasn’t really applying that body of knowledge to taking the effects that I have from passable crowd pleasers to polished stunners. I think almost every magician falls into this trap at some point, and inevitably it will happen to me again, but for now I’m sticking with the mantra “do it one thousands times, each time better than the last.” This also doesn’t mean I’m going to stop creating, but hopefully that I can take this same, more careful, approach to my new material as well.
PS: I feel like this was a kind of stuffy post, so here’s a note I found in an old Ideas doc I just uncovered for us all to contemplate: “Damnit not again - multiple nails from multiple orifices.”