The magician had me sit down in the living room to witness a rehearsal of his newest routine as part of my birthday present. For his grand finale, he performed the Chinese Linking Rings illusion. He not only had the rings down pat, the magician added his own special touches to it. I had hoped one day that the magician would include the rings in his repertoire because it’s one of my favorite illusions to watch.
The magician used to share with me, his analyses of famous illusionists and their shows, like those of David Copperfield. Steven was particularly interested in debunking frauds and pseudo-scientific claims. He greatly admired James Randi.
Steven said he became interested in stage magic while reading about Harry Houdini. He reminded me that Houdini died on Halloween Day in 1926, the ultimate aftermath of a violent incident that took place a couple of days earlier.
The two of us enjoyed discussing stage magicians, frauds, and scammers long into the night. The magician was my boyfriend for 17 years. Halloween often triggers the many fond memories I have of Steven. He was perhaps the most creative, enthusiastic, happy person I have ever known. When he set his mind upon learning something new, Steven used the power of perseverance to his advantage. I thought he had super powers.
Although Steven was a humble, unassuming young man, he had a knack of getting hired for various events in our town. Oftentimes, he was the star of birthday parties, and company Christmas parties. On stage, this simple man transformed himself into a charismatic, captivating performer. He never failed to cast his spell on everyone present.
Even though Steven was a man of modest means and had faced many hardships, he always felt inspired to apply initiative and skill to accomplish his goals. He had a strong sense of optimism and decisiveness that helped him achieve entertaining results. Perhaps his magical twinkling eyes had something to do with his successes, too.
Steven had a great store of creative forces at his disposal. This probably stemmed from the necessity of needing to always be acutely aware and mindful of every move in the act of performing flawless stage magic. He had to know exactly what he was doing and why he was doing it each moment of a successful show. He did nothing on automatic pilot.
One of his greatest personal skills was the ability to deeply concentrate on specific tasks. He spent weeks at a time, focused on using all his creative energy on perfecting each new illusion. Over and over, night after night, he worked on the illusion. On the most difficult tricks, he made videos of his rehearsals then played them back, analyzing each movement, moment by moment. He was able to work seamlessly and ignore tempting distractions. As a result, the illusion appeared simple and fresh.
Except for the Chinese Rings and a few other standard magician props, Steven liked to use everyday objects in his illusions. Close-up magic was his favorite. He could do amazing things with books of matches, poker cards, and water pitchers. He sometimes picked up apparently random things, like silverware, as props for impromptu demonstrations for friends and visitors.
Steven’s most magical qualities were his ethics. He didn’t have an ounce of greed, deceit, or aversion in his personality. He never used his magical skills to confuse or manipulate people. In our relationship, there was no trickery, cunning, or untrustworthiness. What I saw was what I got.
I was fortunate to have many glimpses behind the curtain of stage magic. My magician was the epitome of fun. He used his talents and skills to delight people. His stage persona was rooted in deep values of honesty and integrity. His personal magic was the manifestation of his simple love.
Have a magical Halloween.