The one didn’t think the other’s was a very convincing trick. A ball appears suspended in the air. So what. A ball appears to roll and return and knock around of its very own accord. Who cares.
He hated the trick, no matter how it was rearranged. Enchantments are childish and if man is not responsible for a thing’s control - what, then, believably is? In his repertoire were illusions that alarmed people and played on their most primal doubts. The first time he caught a speeding bullet bare-handed, from the center of the spotlight, there was a rush of raw pride that preceded the one of adrenaline.
The audience likes to follow the ball, his partner argued. They feel relief at the distraction of easy fantasy. They’d happily consume reality television too, he’d spit. They’d been partners for 30+ years, but still the one would spit criticisms at the other in this way.
For six years more they argued over the trick. The partner worked it over to give the ball the characteristics of a poorly behaved dog being trained. Different combinations were attempted of props and narrative and staging and point of view. None of it good enough. The trick itself was abhorred, the partner rebuked.
An interviewer had asked him once what made the two a good team. “He’s not the smartest or the most creative,” the magician had answered, “but he works harder than most”. The partner had not heard this interview. He didn’t often follow the news.
The one would perform as he lived - at high volume and with certainty. While the other took note of the exact time of day that the sunlight made the dust particles dance near the south-facing window of his studio. It lasted roughly 3 minutes and 40 seconds during the afternoon and was best viewed from the stool he had placed between the coat rack and the file cabinet. The one with the rings on the top from his coffee mug.
What they’d always agreed upon is that credible illusions take practice. So the trick still flickered in and out of the stage routine. Every time, it caused him to boil until finally, he made an incontestable demand - Show the audience the goddamned string. Let them not take pleasure in this orb without facing the truth of its utter ordinary-ness.
What good is any momentum if your spectators aren’t in on it, anyways.
Hopefulness for Novices:
I am having flashback memories of sitting on a candle lit patio in the early evening gulf breeze. Couples in all white sitting close. Wine in big round glasses. Dessert plates with two forks. Groups of children riding bicycles on the sidewalk out front, slowing to gawk at the grown-ups who are gawking at the children who are on their way to the sea. It is light and it is effortless.
Only I didn’t make those memories. I stole them from the minds of strangers while I was working nearby and feeling truly ashamed of myself again.
It’s a side effect of never slowing; which is a by-product of The Endless Search. Not being able to separate someone else’s reality from your history. Or your own current realities from the ones you could swear you were living just directly before.
It piles up on itself. The soundtracks, the names, the bedrooms and back porches. The coffee pots, the languages, the fauna and familiar smells. The bus schedules you kept in your head. The lost favorite shirts, the odd-jobs before the real jobs, the dreams from the night before. And the men, the men.
We should have been writing more of it down, dammit. We should have taken more pictures. Not possible. There’s too many pictures to take with us every time. And where will they all hang anyways?
They are in stacks. It is all mere stacks. It is heavy and it a burden.
but may it be the only way we ever know how.
Evoking the Cackling Goddess who Eternally Creates Us Anew, may you keep protected from crummy days, sleepless nights, and any doing of shit-that-one-doesn't-necessarily-feel-like-doing-right-at-this-moment.
In harmonious conjunction with an ancient chant of the Toltec word for "How do you like me now?! " may you be divinely admired as the genuine shamanatrix you already are and ardently empowered to become the true artist you've always been meant to be.
In accordance with the common principle between hallelujah, eureka, viva and aloha may these humble talismans be carried well. May they ward off senseless stress, invite shameless bliss, Or at the very least open your damn soup. Supreme good fortune to you.
"Write down your wish," he said, "And then cross out the vowels and repeating letters". This lesson, being taught on the top of a to-go box container, had me concerned for the longitude of my hummus. I remember: "Using one part of each remaining letter, design a symbol to focus on at a moment of maximum clarity," was what he said. Specifically during orgasm was what he meant. Superstitious wisdom with a happy ending, I could definitely dig it.
I WISH THAT I COULD STILL WRITE
WSH CLD RT
But sometimes it is not as simple as pressing a button. Even here in an open-windowed-apartment in Paris I have been making promises to myself instead of secrets. I haven't loved big or fucked up hard in a long, long time. I haven't been put upon and I haven't put out. It's no small tragedy that I haven't done anything on this side of the ocean to be ashamed of. I am comforted only in the fact that everything here is a little smaller. Excepting, of course, the churches and all of the guilty hearts that they capably hold.
When I was in catholic school, I used to count people's coughs during mass to make the time pass but I never applied my results to anything. Every Friday morning for three years I could have been charting and postulating what time of year carried the most germs or the effect of incense, on specimens of roman-catholic descent only of course. This mindless input would never yield any great epiphany or emotion. Like doing my laundry or keeping track of who I've slept with; merely a systematic act that feigns some sort of production from my time. Nothing to write home about, clearly.