This week, I re-read a magic book (Maximum Entertainment for any magicians here), and discovered a full page of notes from my past self. Luckily, I had the foresight to write the date of my diatribe–November 6th, 2014. A full nine years ago.
I don’t really agree with my half-baked magic theory anymore, and the particulars of it don’t matter. But I got a lot of joy from reading my notes, especially because I certainly wasn’t writing them with the intention of analyzing them so much later. It was a little portal into the mind of 14 year-old me.
In my first blog post, more than a year ago, I wrote that my intention was to record my thoughts as I waded through the world of professional magic, and that they might be nice to look back on one day. And while this has mildly evolved (after all, this was fully a travel blog from October-December), the intention is the same. I do this to shed perspective on the creative and business process for anyone else in my position. But I also do this for myself.
I don’t do much promotion–I stick each article in my weekly newsletter because I can, and I post about it once a week on my Instagram story. It automatically gets emailed to a few hundred people every Friday, and about 40-50 people read it.
I write this blog because I like to write it, and that’s it. If I stopped, it’s possible that a few people would miss the weekly dive into my thoughts, but other than that, I don’t think anyone would be too pressed, and that is totally fine. There are very low stakes here, and I don’t want it any other way. While I certainly crave high pressure performing situations, I don’t need that everywhere in my life. The more eyes on you, the less mobility you have.
For example, in Born Standing Up, Steve Martin says that when he got famous, he could no longer experiment with material. An audience of 20,000 isn’t there to see you bomb. And in Maximum Entertainment, Ken Weber writes that as he got more successful, “Magic was no longer my hobby.” Understandable, but sad. Martin and Weber, though experiencing very different levels of fame, still lost precisely the joy and love that was responsible for their success in the first place.
To be clear, no one is banging on my door. Fame is not remotely in the picture. All this is simply to say–it’s worth doing something for the joy of it. That is a good enough reason.
So one day, I’ll look back at these posts. And I’ll probably think that my writing was crap and too loose, I’ll disagree with most of my own ideas, and consider scrubbing them from the internet. But I hope I don’t. Because the point of these posts isn’t to be correct, it’s to go through the process of writing them.
It’s genuinely great when other people take something from the posts, when they get shared, and when I feel like I struck a nice vein of an idea. And it’s also great to sit down with a cup of coffee and write the ideas. It’s nice to be on a walk and mentally compose a post. And it’s satisfying to see the compound results of consistency (45 posts and counting).
I write these as letters to my future self. I have no idea what context I’ll find these in–whether they’ll help or hurt my career. But if I knew how my life was going to end up, it wouldn’t be worth living.
There's plenty of live shows to come to, including two in D.C. tonight, and one in New York on Sunday. I also launched my first solo show in New York, NOT A MAGIC SHOW, scheduled for April 20th. See all dates below: