Apr. 22nd, 2013

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Ever since I was a kid I've loved magic. I remember staying up late to watch David Copperfield and Doug Henning specials on TV and being absolutely mesmerized by them and I'd jump at any chance that I could to see real-live magicians perform. But when it came down to doing magic myself, I just didn't have the attention span and commitment required to make it work. I'd check books out at the library, attempt to do a simple trick and, when it failed, I'd give up after a few tries. I just assumed that anyone who could perform magic was, by virtue of their talent, a prodigy and that no real work needed to be done to reach that level of expertise. And since I was obviously not a prodigy, I was forever doomed to be a spectator.

Fortunately, my love of magic never really waned and, about a year or so ago I decided to take another crack at it. I'm older (certainly) and wiser (debatable) and my understanding of what sort of hard work and practice is required to achieve a level of competence with anything has certainly evolved. So, throwing caution and quite a bit of money to the wind, I went down to the local magic shop and promptly bought every book they had on their shelves. Which, in retrospect, was a huuuuge mistake.

The problem with buying $1,000 worth of magic books is that you now have a library full of material upon which to draw but no real notion about where to start and what sort of path to follow to get to where you want to go. I flipped through the books, found some tricks and effects that looked worthwhile and put in the requisite practice, but aside from learning a few one-off tricks that I could show my friends and family I wasn't really establishing any sort of a foundation and I certainly wasn't developing skills. It's the difference between learning how to read music and then play an instrument and, say, just learning how to play one song on an instrument. Technically you can "play the piano" but if anyone requests a song other than "Chopsticks" you're totally screwed.

So, I was at another crossroads of sorts. I could continue on as a bit of a dilettante when it came to magic or I could buckle down and really get serious about this. Getting serious, however, meant putting away all of the books, DVDs, and gimmicks and starting anew with, hopefully, a strong foundation. To get to that point, I enrolled in an introductory magic class at The Magic Castle under the tutelage of a professional. For the first time, I had someone instructing me, putting together a curriculum in which each lesson built upon the last, and providing me with a real path to improvement. I'm now in Magic III (which equates to about 18 weeks' worth of classes) and will be moving on to Magic IV in August. Once I complete Magic IV and I get a few more months of practice in I'm going to book my audition with The Magic Castle and, if I pass, I'll be a "magician member" of The Castle and the Academy of Magical Arts. I'm amazed at the progress that I've made so far and I know I still have a long way to go, but I finally feel as if I'm fulfilling the wish that I had as a kid to do real, amazing magic.


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