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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » The Passing of the Seasons (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Sudo Nimh
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For those who may be interested, I've been hard at work at building a new site for the blog project I previously mentioned I wanted to undertake. It's not quite ready to go yet, but almost. What is finished, however, is the very first blog entry. Admittedly, it is very lengthy. I felt it important to start with a strong foundation upon which to later build from and give readers a good taste for what to expect in the future. Future blog entries will be much shorter in length. I thought I'd share this first entry here with you all as a sneak peek. I'll break it down into multiple posts so that you are presented with a mountainous wall of text - but only if you want see all of it. If you'd like to see the rest of it, say so. I don't want to take up time and space here if none are interested. Be warned - it is very candid.

The Passing of the Seasons

I sit idly toying with a deck of cards while staring at the screen and pondering where to begin this blog. Reflecting upon the seasons of my life - a life filled with meteoric highs and catastrophic lows, I reckon that Magic has been my only true friend and constant companion throughout all of it; from a very tender age it has consumed my daily thoughts. It is as though the two of us are lonely travellers who know each other very well through our mutual adventures together as misunderstood train-jumping hobos on the never-ending search for that spiritually profound and unknowable thing that mere words cannot define. Our great sadness is that the world no longer believes in Magic - and neither do the majority of folks who call themselves "Magicians". Indeed, it seems there is little room for wonder in this skeptically smug world that now holds science as its new savior. Show me a scientist who says that he doesn't believe in science, and I'll show you a Magician who actually believes in Magic.

Perhaps this is the reason why many in the Mystery Arts fail to achieve great impact or believability with their Magic and have fled to the seemingly greener pastures of Mentalism. After all, the human mind is one of the few frontiers that science has yet to still fully unravel. But if there's one thing that I have learned in this life, it's that escaping to greener pastures doesn't solve the underlying problem at the heart of things. The issues remain, gnawing at your soul like a succubus in the dead of night. Years of self-destruction and severe drug addiction have taught me this after finally sobering up and slowly regaining my senses. Unfortunately, some things in life are learned the hard way.

And herein lays another great sadness of my life. I often wonder if I'll ever be able to forgive myself for the terrible person I became during those years. As I still can't rationalize it to myself, it becomes impossible to try and explain the madness of addiction and what I was going through to those I unintentionally hurt during that period. I vividly recall one evening when an associate pulled me aside and looking deeply into my eyes said "Brother, you've changed - and not for the better. I don't even know you anymore." I should have listened, but it was too late at this stage and I was too far gone to truly understand. He was right; nothing remained of my former self. Even if I could've understood, I was in complete denial, and in that moment, supposedly greener pastures.

Yeah, right. More like green hell.

Glancing downwards in shame and deep in thought whilst acknowledging this somber reality, I catch my hands in the midst of dancing a beautiful ballet with a five-faced lady named Sibyl. I watch the packets of cards hypnotically whirling around one another; a mesmerizing and serpentine display of colors, suits, and values rapidly flash by like the people, days, and seasons in our lives - nothing ever staying in one place for too long and with change as a constant. A sad smile escapes for a brief moment as a single silent tear slowly trickles down my face with the recognition that I have changed yet again; I am no longer that horrible monster I once became. I wonder at the mystery of what further changes await with the passing of the coming seasons.

Gazing at the cards as they dance their joy, I reflect upon the notion that Mystery Performers also advance through distinct seasons of change and growth - which I relate to the four suits of the cards. Have I captured your interest now?

Hearts: The first season - winter, is that of "Unconscious Incompetence". Here in Canada, winter is bitterly cold and often severe. Though we Canadians are quite used to it, most spend much of their time indoors during this season. As a result, this is when many babies are conceived and we spend more time in closer relation to our partners and families. Valentine's Day also occurs in the winter season.

Remember what it's like to fall in love and be blinded by the excitement and newness of it all? This is comparable to the neophyte when they first fall in love with Magic. Everything is terribly exciting and the arts' secrets are seemingly endless. The beginner learns a few effects and after fooling a few folks with them, believes that they are now a "Magician". They often say things like "Well, it fooled my family and that's good enough for me".

Sadly, many never make it past this point for whatever reason. Those in this season are the same folks who will briefly learn the details of an effect, and then, without practice, attend an IBM meeting later that same evening and completely bomb their performance of said effect. They don't attribute their failure to the fact that they didn't practice sufficiently and will instead chalk it up to the fact that it was due to their nervousness in front of a roomful of Magicians or that the trick was simply not a "good" one - or any other excuse drawn from a wide variety. But it will never be due to their incompetence and ignorance of basic fundamentals such as practice, routining, or audience management.

To make matters worse, Magic clubs are notoriously bad for reinforcing this behavior. I can't tell you how many times I've witnessed absolutely terrible performances at a Magic club that were applauded by the membership without any helpful advice or suggestions being offered to the individual afterwards. I'm not talking about the artfulness of the performances in these situations (that's a different subject), but rather, the fact that they typically expose the method through incompetence and often without realizing it. Visit nearly any Magic club and you will almost always find a few folks who are stuck in this season and who have only advanced minimally in all the years they've been members. They are unconscious of their incompetence and there is no pursuit of excellence. They know they aren't among "the best", but this isn't their objective. Their goal is simply to be "good enough". One only needs to visit youtube to witness countless examples of this unconscious incompetence in action. At the end of the day, these folks may love the art just as much as any of us do, so who am I to judge their level of dedication and commitment? I understand that not everyone treats this art as seriously as I do; I'm merely pointing out the reality that very little movement and growth occurs in the winter season.
I'm frequently hit with enlightening in the middle of a brain storm.
countrymaven
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Yes Sudo,
I am very thankful for a great hobby called magic. It is a great friend in sense too. What can keep your mind nimble, keep you from wasting your life on television, and even make you good and creative at so many other things? Magic.

So I think there is hope for those who are not pro level performers. They are still engaging in the wonder and the craft and the thinking, the obsession of magic. Some of them actually will grow to perform material in a way that kills people into believing they really saw magic. So in a sense some of these so called "lackeys" are the ones who grow to be the greatest in person performers of miracles people will ever see. So in a sense even for those magicians who just enjoy the process, who enjoy the thinking and will never be pros, I believe their lives can be put on another level with their hobby of magic.

Let me give you an example. I am a skateboarder, I ride pools and ramps, etc. I am 55. I am nuts, ok? But due to my age, I had to (or it was very important for my enjoyment and ability to get my skill level way up again) develop a board that sticks to your feet but can be ditched easily. Without magic--all the endless sessions and materials and craft of making magic, I know I never would have pulled this off. So magic really is a magical hobby. Now I am performing and getting paid for it. I am very thankful for this wonderful hobby that lets us instantly connect with many people with the magic of magic!!!
Sudo Nimh
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I totally agree. Smile

Just so there's no confusion - this is only part of the first blog entry. Hearts is the first season and we all go through it. It's just that some people never advance into the other seasons. And that's completely fine. Each season brings us one step closer to mastering the art as a means of self-expression. The purpose of my blog is to try and help people identify precisely where they are in the art and to offer insights based on my own experiences that might help them in their own journey. Think of it as a journal and that it's really just me reminiscing and thinking aloud and that are you are being allowed to secretly read it. Use what parts of it resonate with you and discard those that don't. One can advance through all 4 seasons to the Fall (Diamonds - Unconscious Competence) and still be a hobbyist. The seasons have nothing to do with whether one makes a living as a Mystery performer or not. Another reason for my blog is to also give myself an outlet to express things in my own life that are in desperate need of healing. I've been basically alone my entire life, so this is therapeutic for me I suppose. I really don't know; I've never done something like this before.

To use skateboarding as an analogy, winter season is simply the period when all you can do is "push" and land an ollie on flatland about 75% of the time along with a few other tricks that you can mostly do ok - like a "shove-it". Again, some folks never desire to proceed any further than that. And that's fine. But for those who have been skating a long time, there are far deeper dimensions to what they are doing - and why. My blog is for those who are wanting to go "further". All I can do is offer insights and let folks do with them as they will. For me, there is a spirituality to the Mystery Arts that transcends performing and mere tricks.
I'm frequently hit with enlightening in the middle of a brain storm.
Thomas Henry
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Hey Sudo,

Keep the pen to paper (or nowadays, fingers to the keyboard); I eagerly await your next three suits.

As for falling in love with magic early on, well, I formed a liaison half-century ago with "both kinds," (if permitted to quote the proprietor's wife at Bob's Country Bunker, where The Good Ole Boys once played). Still my lone inamorata, for the two commingle in my universe, but no regrets!

Keep at it...

Thomas Henry
Omne ignotum pro magnifico.
Sudo Nimh
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Thomas, I have a confession for you.

Do you remember that time when you came to Canada and there was a loud knock at your hotel door that roused you from your bed at about 3:30 am? Well, that guy who confusedly stammered "Umm...uh...I'm sorry...I thought there were chicks in this room" when you answered the door....

...Was probably me. I seem to recall having this mishap at least once or twice during those crazed years.

Smile
I'm frequently hit with enlightening in the middle of a brain storm.
Wravyn
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Looking forward to more of your writings.
mtgoldstein
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Hi Sudo,
Just checking in. Nice work. I’m here
M
Thomas Henry
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So that was you, eh, Sudo! You should have introduced yourself...

That entire working trip to Toronto was crazy (especially being the only one getting off the jet to be frisked by a security guard wearing a turban).

I think you should write up your version of the story, true or not, for your new blog!

Thomas Henry
Omne ignotum pro magnifico.
goochelen
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Look forward to reading you blog.

Insightful to link the levels of competence to the suits : great metaphor

Life has many twists and turns and sometimes what looks like a very bad day can just be clearing the way for good things to come [J Kim Wright]
Alwow
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Sudo - First and foremost thank you for sharing. As someone who is a chronic pondered of things but, doesn’t share as the voice in my head often says 1. “Are you adding value to the conversation?” 2.”Does anyone care?”

I find myself frequently beginning to post yet, the “submit reply” button seems to rarely be pushed.

I do believe many as you put it will “secretly read” your musings and ponderings of the semi-tortured soul of performers.

To this day I have clients or friends that will recant their experiences they’ve shared with me via my performances in which they truly believe they’ve witnessed the “real thing”.

Recently, I had a friend who saw me performing at an event years ago say to me, “Bro, do you remember that charity event in 2017? How the hell were you able to tell that guy what his grandmother’s name was?” “You even described her!”

Admittedly it was, experienced “guess work” with some of our classic tools but, for him I could tell it was as if it were last week.

That is what I believe many or at least some continue and more likely are always seeking/haunted by.

With that said, any thoughts that are food for the soul may be good for more than just our own.
"Everything I show you is the truth... And the truth is the loveliest of lies"
H2Odesign
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Sudo
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings and past trials of life.

larry
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