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

Ones and twos

Alan Wake

I really wanted to post a blog on 12-12-12. I think the day would be quite nifty to commemorate with a scribble or two. It just didn’t work out.

At 12:12 on 12-12-12 I found myself in a Mexican restaurant with 18 crazed teenagers. But I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be. I love working with my students, and this mini field trip was a way to thank them for doing such a good job this semester, producing three issues despite the predictable unpredictable obstacles that always come our way.

There’s a feeling in the air that something ominous will occur 12-21-12. I’m not saying it will. I’m just saying that the feeling, like an aura, hovers about our people. That’s why I wanted 12-12-12 to be special. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could make a wish on such a special day and that wish were to come true?

There is no need to worry about 12-21-12 because whatever happens will be according to God’s plan. And wishes aren’t magical. They don’t always come true, except maybe for writers who can make anything happen in their books.

My wish, of course, has been for the last few years to be published. Oh, the ironies of life.

Last week I received an email that said I had a publicist who would set up book signings for my tiny little Christmas story in a Chicken Soup book. On the same day I received a rejection letter from the New York agent I met in Dallas.

Regardless of whether I am published, I am a writer. I can thank God for giving me that gift. I don’t doubt my abilities, even if I haven’t signed a contract yet. I do doubt whether I’m deserving. That’s up to God. Deserving may not have anything to do with publication. Purpose is what matters. Does my writing serve God’s purpose?

All I can do is keep plugging along.

The winter solstice is coming, the darkest day of the year—12-21-12.

We don’t know when the final day will come; nor are we supposed to know. It doesn’t matter.

We have our bucket lists, things we’d like to do before our final day here. But we probably won’t be able to do everything. Life lets us down. People let us down.

I like to write. I like to play music, but those things really don’t matter. God made me who I am. My one desire when it comes to goals is that I don’t lose the one gift God gave me that really matters. I do a pretty good job of loving people.

I guess that’s why I teach, although I don’t always like the profession of teaching in a public school.

When I care, I give my whole heart.

But people, the world, don’t always take what you offer. So it is with professions like teaching, nursing, counseling, etc. People and circumstances tear at our capacity to offer love.

I hope that I can keep my heart intact and not be overcome with bitterness and anger that shadow hurt and disappointment. I’ve always been a little childish, or childlike, one of the two. I like that about me. I love like a child, people and life. Most of the time I look in the mirror, and I see something I really don’t like, my body, my hair, my teeth, etc. But I’ve always liked my heart.

I’m not making an early New Year’s resolution. I’m making an “on the way to the end” resolution. Time is running out. Even if the sun rises again on 12-22-12, time is running out, if not for me, for someone else.

So my “on the way to the end” resolution, is to do the best job of expressing love that I can, through teaching, writing, playing guitar, or just living.

It’s all about purpose.