"When I like people immensely, I never tell their names to any one. It is like surrendering a part of them. I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvellous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town I never tell my people where I am going. If I did, I would lose all my pleasure. It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one’s life."
-OSCAR WILDE, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Once I had the revelation that I could turn any occasion into a great occasion, my life took a turn into the world of show business. Everywhere I went, I did magic for people, turning the mundane into the miraculous, which is how I was invited to every party and every big event. It wasn't long until people began offering to pay me to come to their parties and events to entertain their VIPs. My obsession with becoming the greatest magician in the world led me right into a career that I never dreamed of. It just happened... not the magic, the business side of it. In my earliest years, I thought that if anyone in the world could do magic, it should be me.
I sought out everything that had to do with magic and got to know the greatest magicians in history through the literature. I soaked up every bit of knowledge I could from the characters I met along the way. My style has been influenced by those characters, and most of them were not magicians, but they had many of the qualities that are required to be a great magician. A keen sense for mystery, humor, and intrigue. One of those influences is a magician who I saw on T.V. as a kid, who I ended up meeting once I moved to California. I knew from our first car ride that it would be a relationship that I would have to endure and tolerate, but that's sometimes the price to pay to get close to one of the masters. I read the great novelists, and in reality they are some of the greatest psychologists. I studied the works of the great minds of psychology. While I already had a knack for winning the crowd, I was able to take that talent to new heights when I befriended a successful trial attorney who showed me the parallels between swaying a jury and an audience. The nuance of the "sway", as I call it. As a magician, there's no rulings against theatrics, and that is where I shine, although I don't have a background in theater like many magicians do. In school, I wasn't the kid in the play, I was the kid in the principals office for acting out. I played sports, played cards, shot pool, went to nightclubs, and lived for the night. I've always been able to mix with any crowd, but at some point I began to isolate myself and focus solely on magic... to the point of obsession. The circus in my head was more interesting than what was going on when I went out and the magic and mystery were the perfect outlet for it.
The more I performed, the more my confidence grew, not only in my magic, but in myself. I knew in my heart that it didn't matter who was in the room or how powerful they were, I knew that I would captivate them. I wasn't shaking or flinching. "Try me", became my new attitude. Get your smartest and wisest with the most degrees, give me your astrophysicists, your engineers, and attorneys... anybody, and I'll enchant them, and leave them in anguish. They will leave scratching and shaking their heads and the only thing keeping them from wanting to strangle me is that I keep them laughing to balance it out.
As well as things were going in Cleveland, I woke up every morning knowing that I needed adventure, I needed to test myself, and I needed to get away from all I had known. I wondered how I would fare if I left all the support of my hometown and started new. What would I be able to make of it? People were endlessly telling me I need to head out West and go to Vegas or Hollywood. I knew that to be great, you don't need to move anywhere. Many people use going somewhere to create the impression to others that they are getting somewhere. I didn't want any of that. I thought about going to California long before I did. I reasoned that I ought to become successful at home first, and only then would I go to California. It's a concept from a book called Acres of Diamonds, which I never actually read, but the gist of it was that all of the success you desire is right in your own backyard. One day I'll get around to reading it.
When I made the decision to go to California, I had no bookings lined up and no connections of any kind to help me. I left all of the security of my hometown in Cleveland, with nothing more than the belief that I'm the best in the world at what I do. I knew that once people saw me perform, I'd be up and running in no time... and I was right about that.
To be continued...