Thursday, February 01, 2007

On Magic...

.:On Why I Do Magic:.

I've talked about magic a lot in my blog lately, but I haven't quite gone into detail over what really got me back into the fray of things. I guess it's a good idea to talk about my story, and how magic has been bringing back, well, the magic, in my life.

As a kid, I was especially amused by magic. I didn't just want to find out secrets, I wanted to be able to do effects myself. Everyone by now knows the secret to a trick or two, and I wasn't the type who would stop there. Quite frankly, I wanted to do magic and to wow people.

When I was around eight or so, I received a magician's set for my birthday, and I found that particularly instrumental to my always wanting to be involved with magic, one way or another.

Through the years, my interest in magic has been on and off. There were some moments where I wanted to really do magic for people, but I was hardly any good at it. For instance, even to this day, I can't do much with cards beyond shuffling them. No fancy cuts, no springing of cards horizontally from one hand to the other.

I knew a bit more about magic than most people do. I was always on the lookout for finding out secrets, but to me, they were always useless if I couldn't do it myself. Secrets can be startling. Some could involve very simple principles. Others involve an insane amount of skill. Still others involve subtle, genuine “mind-reading” nuances. And others involve plain force of will. Magic isn't all about smoke and mirrors, so I found out. The performer is arguably even more important than the effect itself, in my eyes, and the performer's skills can make the difference between calling an effect a “magic trick” and an “illusion”.

Things really turned around last year because of two independent factors that drew me to magic to a point where I don't think I'd ever be “off” it again.

The first was Elbert's surprise party. Elbert is my best friend, and another one of my best friends, Estelle, wanted to plan a surprise party for him. I volunteered to do a magic show for him, recalling my interest in magic, since I didn't want to just host, nor did I want to sing or dance for him.

As I said, I wasn't particularly great at magic. I would say I was average at best. I did the effect, and hardly used any presentation to make it more powerful than it would if I just shut up all the time. Estelle suggested I met up with one of her friends, Jay Mata, who gave me very sound advice on how to improve my repertoire, and he in turn led me to meet Mr. Bing Lim, a now-retired magician who owns a magic-cum-sex shop in Greenhills, known as Abracadabra (Boy, that didn't sound too good...).

Now, Bing is one of the best in the country, and he really drove me to better myself. He's a perfectionist, and he won't settle for mediocrity which was just fine with my temperament, because he really doesn't sugarcoat anything.

So over the span of a bit over a month, I bought merchandise from Bing, learned routines, patter, presentation, and so forth. I managed to unlock a lot of potential I never thought I had through magic. From kid's party magic to mind-reading to telekinesis, I discovered various things that I never thought I could do.

It got to a point where I felt I invested so much into my craft that I should make it more than just a one-time deal. That's when I decided to continue learning magic and continue doing it for other people in whatever shape or form. In the middle of Magic: The Gathering tournaments (The other “Magic” I found myself preoccupied with.), while walking around Eastwood, for a children's party by Luli Arroyo, for Mapua's Foundation Day, and the list goes on and on.

If it weren't for that surprise party, I don't think I'd be doing magic like this at this point. However, while this is a spark that lit the fire, I think it's a good idea to talk about the fuel that keeps the fire going...

Well, the second reason is a special friend of mine, Row.

You see, when I started talking and hanging out with her last October, she really showed me how it is to get to know someone and to find out more and more about them with each passing day. It's that continual process that keeps me wanting to find out more, to give out myself more, and this in turn was the reawakening of my sense of wonder. I found something new about her every single day, and it just drew me to want to know her more, because the more I know her, the more I realize there's still so much I don't know.

And that's what magic to me is about: catering to one's sense of wonder.

When I do magic, I don't do it to freak people out or to make them feel I have powers they don't have. I do it to entertain. I do it to awaken that sense of wonder in them the way Rowena has and continues to do for me. It's that sense of wonder that makes me feel so alive, knowing that the only thing I know is that I do not know, and so I must continue to learn and to better myself, and to ask myself not “why”, but “why not”?

If I can only scare but not entertain, then my magic show is no good. Instead of awakening a sense of wonder, I trigger a sense of fear, and that could only mean that I have ended up using magic for my own personal gain to build myself up and not to do what it was meant to do in the first place.

I liken magic to professional wrestling. It involves letting go and a suspension of disbelief. Unlike a TV show where, say, George Clooney is not a doctor, both magic and pro wrestling still involve skill and force of will that you cannot just simulate. In my opinion, you don't have to suspend your disbelief much, because there is genuine magic, there is genuine athleticism at work, and it's merely packaged differently from how it normally is.

I thank Rowena for awakening that sense of wonder in me. She has done the most powerful kind of magic I can possibly dream of, and it is in this joy and gratitude that I go on and do magic, in the hopes that what Row has done for me, I can somehow do for others.

Magic has allowed me to have self-confidence. It has given me the courage to approach complete strangers to entertain them, asking for little more than an opportunity to take a few minutes of their time. It has allowed me to adapt to situations, because when something goes wrong, I have to think on my feet, and I can't be caught with my pants around my ankles.

With these two catalysts, I do magic, and I hope to continue to do it for a while. I want to make my audience feel the joy I feel when I sit in wonder about something or someone. The ability to look at a pencil and identify it for a million and one things that it could be except a pencil. It's an unlocking of the mind and the heart and the spirit, all brought about by seemingly disjointed events, at the end, leading me into this craft.

And yet, all of this coming together to bring me back into magic isn't by any means magical. If anything, it's miraculous. From the lowest of the lows, I find some measure of certitude in my life again, and it comes in the most interesting of guises.

And that, my friends, is true.


Anonymous said...


Your magic shows itself in --today, Feb 1. 2007

Punta na dali.

Marcelle said...

Thanks! I wish my comp had sound, but it's okay, I guess.