Friday, May 16, 2014

Switching Trains of Thoughts

It has been three weeks worth of recovery and recuperation. Racing three major races (two Ironman-distance triathlons and one marathon) was a test and assessment in capability and limitations. So, that chapter is completed and I have chalked up new achievements, ticked off a few things from my Bucket List, and added to my resume of accomplishments.

Now, I have switched gears and sense of purpose back to my other passionate pursuit: designing and performing magic. I was a semi-professional magician (magical entertainer) up to two years ago, where I focused on my endurance, multi-sports journey. After a hiatus of a few years, where I did not actively perform magic (but still studied it), I have returned. Few people knew that my project after I left full-employment were two performing assignments in a hotel Japan. I realised that I could earn a decent livelihood as a performer, however it would be, nonetheless, challenging of I treated it as a lucrative hobby. To do well, I realised, I had to commit to my profession fully and completely. There was little compromise to personal and professional excellence.

This evening, I was the first performer in my magic club - International Brotherhood of Magicians Ring 115 (IBM 115, Singapore) and I performed a version of an mind-reading illusion I have thought about recently. The last time I performed it, was about three years ago.  The nice thing about entertaining fellow magicians is that we can keep our mistakes behind closed doors. However, when we perform for a paying audience, we cannot afford to make mistakes that are noticeable. Professional performers are paid healthy remunerations for our skills, performing abilities, and entertainment abilities. When we are not performing, the performer is studying, practising, rehearsing and improving on his acts.

To paraphrase a successful magician, 'You are paying for 20 years of preparation!'

As Colin Key, a finalist in America's Got Talent said: 'We practise all these difficult sleight of hand magic, but you don't get to see it!' If only audiences can appreciate the hundreds of hours put into designing an act, routine or trick we may be valued more than 'tricksters'. Ironically, magic survives on preserving these 'secret's, because once revealed the value of the illusion becomes diminished.

However, we practise magic not because it is fun (it is), but because we thrive on being artists. An artist lives to express himself through his Art, so that the Art emerges through this symbiosis of performer and impact of the act. Art may involve a degree of suffering, but as most artist can attest, the suffering is part of the journey and worth getting there. 

I am looking forward to sharing these moments of astonishment with you. If you meet me, ask me, and I may share my moments that may take our breath away. 

Enjoy the magical moments in your life.

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