Hey guys, its been a really long time since I have posted an essay, reason being lots of work! I'm staying really busy these days.
So how exactly do you know if you are on the right track with magic?
The answer I'm afraid is nor simple or very specific, I will cover it as best I can.
First off if we take a close look at the magic community now, it's been saturated with commercialism, you can't Google magic tricks without coming across sites very much like penguin, and others who want to sell you the next big thing.
This is human nature, and there's no way of getting around it, as young people (or old people, or somewhere in between) one fact of life is, you are told you are a consumer. Meaning, you are told you need to get all the latest and greatest things.
This brings me to the first step in getting on the right track/making sure you are on the right track with magic.
Step one: FORGET
what you have been told. Forget your loyalties to E, or penguin, or wherever. By all means choose a community that you enjoy being a part of, but while being a part of it, don't be of it.
To further elaborate this first point I will say the most true statement in all magic that I know.
"there is NOTHING
new under the sun in magic"
Meaning, all those things you are buying, that you read such great reviews for, are ALL old. Anymore all magic is, is just reinventing old material, until some revolution comes (and no the number 11 has nothing to do with it
When you are spending your 30$ for whatever DVD you decide to buy, or download you are simply paying someone for repackaging a concept that *should you have the essential magic library (Bobo's, Royal Road to card magic, Expert at the card table.. etc)* you already know!
[A small disclaimer:] there are several magicians who have absolutly GREAT innovations on these old concepts, by saying this I am not saying buying new magic is evil
My point is simply UNDERSTAND
the material you already have. Should you actually do this, you can take that basic material and improve on it yourself! Get creative! Make it so it better suits you and your' own personal style of magic.
When you buy a product from Wayne Houchin, from Daryl, or anyone for that matter, if you do not understand the ORIGINAL move behind it (and in those DVD's you only get to understand Houchin's or Daryl's understanding of the move). Go back to the beginning guys.
Should you expand on the basics yourself, when you delve further into magic, and check out more of the greats, in some places you will see where your thinking lines up. I promise it's the greatest feeling ever!
Not that you or I are the next Ed Marlo, but it is rather satisfying when you think of something that has been created already by a much greater mind.
That right there is a great sign that you are on the right track.
Step two: question everything! I know most people here are young and do not have the financial freedom to check a million magic books to see if a thought is original or not, but this is what local IBM rings are for (that is almost a step right there, check out your local ring, you will be glad you did!) Anyways.
Research as much as you can, check your local magic shop, meet local magicians who might have insight that you do not, attend lectures when possible... these are all great ways to get better connected and better research and be steered in the right direction.
Step three: I cannot stress this enough, books are where it's at!
Most of you are probably really turned off to books, either because they take too long to read or you are just a "more visual person".
To tell you the complete truth, I hate reading books, it's rather difficult for me, I have an eye condition called "nystagmus"
What that is, it's an involuntary eye movement, I was born with it. Basically I cannot control my eyes, they always slightly move to the left and right without my control. I can drive, and function as a normal human, however I go through annoying things like a yearly exam to make sure I am fit to drive, etc.
Anyways, the point being, it makes it extremely difficult to focus and keep my place while reading a book. So in other words, if I can manage your' lazy butts can too.
getting back on track: The advantage to books, is that you by reading and following along are forced to understand how the move works.
I spent the past weekend up at Barron Stringfellow's place (many of you have not heard of him but look him up), we spent HOURS talking about this, understanding what it is that you are doing.
One conclusion with life in general is, there is a sucky side of being good at anything. If you are a musician you must practice, play in time, spend hours on the stuff that you don't think matter, if you are a golfer you must spend hours on your swing, etc... Magic is no different.
Step four: Realize that there are ALWAYS better ways to do everything, which is why I do encourage you to check out as many resources as you can, SPECIFICALLY the roots, but be VERY open, don't stick to one specific resource, because someone else's magic will start to shape the style of yours.
Step four can basically be summed up in "be yourself", you are not some Wayne Houchin, you are not some Tommy Wonder (although lord knows I wish I had his talent), you ARE you. Nothing can and will change that.
I hope you find these simple four steps practical, they are not all the steps needed, but they are at least a good start, I will be hopefully making a follow up essay for this one on the further ones (pending interest of course)
Feel free to ask any questions or give feedback, I do enjoy reading it.
thanks for reading!