The Allure Of Being A Performer
It was never about any amount of fame or fortune, exotic travels, or even a particular type of magic. When I was just a young boy, my mother bought me a magic kit. Inside that kit was everything that one needed to be a master magician. There was a top hat, a cape, a magic wand, and a cardboard folding stage. There were also accessories, like a stuffed rabbit, playing cards, and red foam balls. I’m sure that somewhere in the box there were also instructions and maybe a dove or two. I wouldn’t know because I never made it that far. I didn’t have the interest or discipline to read instructions or practice the craft of magic. I just wanted to be a magician, and at that age, all it took was the cape, hat, and magic wand. In my mind, I was Houdini performing for hundreds of people a day in the streets of various European cities. My audience stood silent in suspended disbelief wondering how I could do such impossible things.
My mother may have regretted this gift after weeks of seeing my one-man show every day, multiple times a day, especially since I had no idea what I was doing. But, sure as the sun rises, she clapped like it was the first time every time. I would pack up my magic kit and take it to family gatherings, birthday parties, social events at the office, and any other place I could find to share my show. These are my first memories of being a performer. They’ve stood the test of time, and though life has limited the imagination in many ways, I can still look back and remember the master magician.
For me it was all about performing. It was about entertaining people, bringing a smile to their faces, and taking them away from the ever-present “Father Time.” Many years after my stint as a magician, I began to take up the art of being a musician. By now I was aware that actual skill was required to captivate an audience, but still, I gravitated to the fantasy before the reality. I set up my Mother’s mirror in the bedroom just behind my amplifier, turned on the stereo, and took the stage for tens of thousands. For a long time, this was what I would race home from school to do. Again, this had nothing to do with learning the instrument. It was something separate and something much more powerful. It was imagination. Those experiences taught me that true possibility must first exist in the mind as a form of belief, and only then can actions be taken to turn that spark into a fire.
Learning To Live The Fantasy
It took two years of guitar lessons before I really became excited about playing the instrument. For those two years, I spent most of my time in fantasy. Fast forward almost fifteen years later, and what is my job now? Well, it’s complicated. But at the core, I am that magician performing in the living room...only now I know all of the tricks. Next week I will take the stage with the band Air Supply for a handful of shows, filling in for a friend and mentor of mine. This band has generations of fans spanning thirty-five years that know and love their music. Part of what is exciting about performing is seeing and feeling how impactful and important certain music is for listeners. For “fans” of Air Supply, hearing that music live is a transcendent experience, and for me, being a part of that process is the most rewarding aspect of playing music. It takes me right back to my Mother’s living room and brings a smile to my soul. Of course my Mother will be at the show, and I imagine it will bring a smile to hers as well.