Look closely–or not. Can you see me now?

Hope

I’m not really a fan of magic shows. I don’t like magic because magicians never reveal their secrets. I don’t like sleight of hand. I don’t like tricks. I don’t like audience manipulation.

Too much of what goes on in real life is deception that happens right under our noses, especially with the entertainment industry and media outlets. We’re fed what they want us to digest. We see what they want us to see.

Okay, maybeee I’m a major conspiracy theorist. Maybe I believe there is more than what meets the eye. Maybe I believe there are cover-ups. Maybe people will do whatever it takes to maintain power. It’s all about power. Maybe I’m just jaded. Maybe.

It’s not that I don’t like intrigue. I’m a big fan of mysteries. I love a good mystery—as long as the writer leaves us clues and allows us to figure out what’s really happening. What I don’t like is the mystery that leaves me hanging, the one that has no end, no solution, no plausible plot, no purpose.

Those mysteries make my head hurt. There’s nothing so disappointing than to invest trust and time into an author’s work to find out he or she was merely throwing words on the page in some advant garde attempt to experiment with art. Heck, if it’s got no purpose, what am I doing reading it? Time is slipping, slipping, slipping into the future. There’s so little time left, we can’t afford to waste it.

Why am I all of a sudden so enthralled with magic? The answer is easy. I watched the movie Now You See Me, and it piqued my interest.

I almost didn’t watch it. As I said, I’m bored by theatrics. But I like Morgan Freeman, so much so that I traveled to Clarksdale, Mississippi, to visit his blues club Ground Zero. Now there’s a story.

I prefer real magic, like what a person feels when standing on a cliff overlooking the Badlands in South Dakota or when standing on the edge of the real Walden’s Pond–as opposed to the lack of feeling that comes with staring at a photo of Walden’s Pond in a 20-year old text book.

I like the magic of “What if …?”

Not “the manipulation of “I know the facts, Jack, but you aren’t privy to it.”

The movie Now You See Me tells the story a group of mentalists or magicians who metaphorically sell their souls to be pawns, mules, slaves, or whatever you prefer to call them, to a discreet organization that uses many but welcomes few.

These magicians will never be part of the inner workings, so why would they want to be used?

Most of us are already controlled. We’re marks. Why would we willingly surrender what freedom we have  so that we can be closer to the source of deception?

The news is controlled by a few conglomerates. Education is controlled by Pearson. The entertainment industry is controlled by…well, by those of whom we do not speak. And how does this control happen?

By manipulation? Yes. By magick? Yes, at least, I think so. And by our own flaws. What would we give up to be accepted, or to appear that we are accepted?

Envy. We’re controlled by envy. We’re prone to either envying others or wishing others would envy us. We are our own worst enemies.

I say, “Let it go, already.” It’s time to walk away.

With my favorite holiday, St. Patrick’s Day, right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about magic quite a bit. I still get excited when I see rainbows, and I really think there is something wonderful, something magical, at the end.

And there we go again. That word magic.

Maybe, even at my ripe old age, I’m still too childlike and naïve.  I believe in a different type of magic. I can’t give up believing in serendipity. There’s something truly magical about serendipity.

But there’s one thing I’ve learned about serendipity–you can’t make it happen.

I know. I’ve tried.

I’ve set out on a Saturday looking for something wonderful to spontaneously happen, only to go back home empty and disappointed. Serendipity really is an accidental good fortune–which is the opposite of what illusionists create, i.e. the illusion of something wonderful.

Slight of hand. Calculated manipulation. Lies. Plain and simple, just lies.

I despise lies.

I’ve read several reviews about Now You See Me. Many reviewers blast the flaws of the plot–or the lack there of.

What I can’t figure out is if the purpose of the movie is to make a commentary about the obvious “controlled” media industry, or if it is showing us something in front of our faces that we can’t see. If so, what is it?

The main character tells us, “The closer you think you are, the less you’ll actually see.”

Our arrogance makes us think we’re smarter than the average bear, and, thus, the more arrogance we possess, the more prone we are to manipulation.

Then again, sometimes when we want to see something, our minds make it happen. Our minds create closure. In some ways, maybe, we don’t need other people to deceive us. We deceive ourselves.

I would make a horrible mentalist–though I know I’m way too susceptible to hypnosis. That’s why I’ll never do it.

I like the facts on the table. That’s why I would never make it as an illusionist, an allusionist, maybe. You know, being an English teacher, I make all sorts of references to Thoreau, Emerson, Poe, Hawthorne, etc.

What’s wrong with being simple? I’m not a mentalistic, magical, or magickal. But I do like me some serendipity.

What’s the difference between magic/magick and serendipity? Magic(k) requires control, holding on. Serendipity requires submission, letting go. Control verses acceptance. One leads path leads to stress, greed, and power lust. The other path leads to inner peace, tranquility, and joy.

So in keeping with the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and the luck of the Irish, I wish you all good fortune. May your paths cross with serendipity, and may you never give up in believing in the “what if” at the end of the rainbow.

Under

Advertisements

It’s never too late

SLEEP

I was talking to my childhood friend who was helping me put together a writing workshop for our community, and the topic of WIPS came up.

I, of course, have a list of unfinished projects—most of them in my head. She is starting on a non-fiction work that is killer! I don’t know why somebody else hasn’t already thought of it. I won’t mention it because I don’t want anyone to steal her idea, but when she publishes it, I’ll be the first to buy it. It’s a winner, winner.

But then she reminded me of a project that she and I had first discussed a few years ago—a children’s book with her being the writer and me being the illustrator.

Me? An illustrator? I laugh thinking about it. I have a friend who is an illustrator, an artist, a REAL artist. I don’t even come close.

But my how times have changed. There was a time in my life when I was a kid that I was known as the resident “artist.” I used to draw. And color. And paint. And take pictures.

I loved, loved, loved art. I haven’t thought about art much until my friend brought up the “good old days.”

When I graduated from high school, my parents didn’t expect me to go to college. I held my own in school, graduating ninth out of a class of 362 (I think). I made good grades, but I still held on to the idea that my trignometry teacher called me a spaz. (Now that I think about it, it’s probably true. Let’s just say I can see now where my children get their math skills.) My parents told me that I needed to major in something that would provide me a steady job. Our high school had ONE art teacher (THE BEST). What were the odds of me getting a job in art?

So I toyed with the idea of being an education major my first few weeks of college, then changed my major to recording industry management, got scared I wouldn’t find a job, and returned to education, majoring in English because one of my professors told me I could write. And that’s where I’ve been for, um, an extended stay.

But I like art, any kind of art. Most of the creative people I know try a little bit of everything before honing in on one skill. Drawing, painting, playing music, taking pictures. I thrive when I create.

All during high school, whenever anybody needed somebody to draw something, anything, I was the go-to person. I wasn’t particularly good at portraits, but I could draw other things. What I really liked doing was taking people’s names and designing each letter to create something unique. My dad was a printer, and he had access to leftover cardstock. Being a budding entrepreneur, I opened my own “business” and designed names for people, charging them a dime per letter. I designed my friend’s Pat’s campaign posters, and he drummed up customers for my art business.

I feel a little guilty now for taking their money. I should have been doing my trignometry.

Live-for-Each-MomentBut I loved what I was doing. I never felt like I “had” to do something when I created art. It was a gift to me, just the opportunity to create.

I waited and waited and waited until my senior year so that I could take THE art class. My art teacher, Jimmy “Grouch” Jones, was my hero. “The Old Man” taught me how to fire clay in a kiln, how to make torn-paper collages, how to shade, how to screen print, how to see something no one else could see. I wish I could say I was the best artist in my family, but all my younger cousins were so much better. But Jimmy Jones knew I liked his class better than any other class I had ever taken. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t the best. He treated all of his students as if they were “the best.”

Now that I am older, I realize that it’s not too late to dabble in art again. I don’t have the desire or the talent to create children’s books, but I think I should like to learn how to paint. I think I should like to dabble in folk art.

I made a new friend a few years ago at the annual Bell Buckle Arts and Crafts Show. I was meandering along when I saw this really cool folk art with a mojo, blues, music, spiritual theme. It was if someone had stepped into my head and had pulled out my ideas. How could it be? I introduced myself to the artist, and we talked, and I found out she also played guitar (the blues) and sang. I bought some of her work and have since bought a couple more of the pieces. I like it because it is different.

I like different.

Now that I’m old(er), I realize the only person I’ve ever had to please is myself, and I’ve never really made an effort to do so.

I think I’m going to create something. DANCE

It doesn’t have to be good. It just has to be. For now.

I am no Monet. I am no Van Gogh. I am no Picasso. I Am made in the image of my Creator, and I like to create.

I like color. I can’t decide on ONE color, so in my house, I use as much color as I can in every room. I like color blocks. I like mosaics. Maybe I should create mosaics.

Or maybe I’ll start with something simple, maybe a painting class. I want to paint pictures of guitars. Maybe I can learn how to create my own style of folk art that will make people stop in their tracks and say, “Hey. Something about that piece reaches inside my soul and speaks to me.”

As George Eliot said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

GUITAR