I once read somewhere that even not practicing is a form of practice, because once you get back around to practicing again you are granted the unique experience of being rusty as hell. Counterintuitive, I know, but that’s where I’m at right meow and it’s the best justification I’ve got.
After taking a cross-country trip every few months for a year and a half, the nomadic pattern was broken last Spring when I flew from New Orleans to Seattle instead of riding the motorcycle. I’ve now been in New Orleans for almost seven months, and somehow, I’ve nested. After striving to fit my entire life on a motorcycle, now I find myself in my own house with a gated yard, a lawyer-sized desk, and an upright piano.
What the hell happened?
This blog began as a device to notify my family that I hadn’t fallen down a ravine on the motorcycle. It evolved into a journal about the lessons I’ve learned on my way to becoming a traveling magician. Skipping the annual tour last year shattered my travel-writing rhythm, and the longer I went without posting, the harder it became to write again. For a while I was mad at myself for not updating the website and maintaining the project. I decided to take a few months to step back and zoom out to gain better perspective on where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where I wanna go.
I realized that for all intents and purposes, I have attained one of my dreams: to make a living as a magician. Since first picking up a pack of cards seven years ago, that was the dream, to be a professional entertainer. For the last three years it’s been a gradual and humbling process full of failures and improvements, but now I work less than fifteen hours a week and have a fairly comfortable lifestyle. This stay in New Orleans has been the realization that I’ve made it — I’m living the dream.
So now what?
The burnout rate for full-time street performers is extreme, and ever since the beginning I’ve promised myself not to be wholly dependent on the street for long. It’s always been a stepping stone, the quickest possible route to becoming a full-time working magician. Now that I know I can survive on my art, I can start looking ahead and setting new goals. While I was in my travel rhythm, constantly having an upcoming departure date forced me to take initiative and finish projects while I had time. Without the impetus of an upcoming adventure, I have had trouble finding inspiration to sit down at this big clunky desk and hammer out some stories. Well, the adventure is back.
I’m going to Europe for three months to study international street theater. All the old-timers tell me the best performers in the world are over there, so starting in Switzerland in early June I’m going to backpack around for a few months chasing down festivals to find the world-class entertainers. Time to test myself on the road again, this time in an entirely different fashion. I’ve got a passport and a one-way ticket — let’s go.
I’ll keep this brief, as the main intention is to simply break the ice and to once again familiarize myself with my keyboard. Without motorcycle travels it’s just been a whole lot of magic, which has been great for my development as a performer, but it’s allowed me to be a little too comfortable. Still, there’s been no shortage of crazy stories from the streets of New Orleans. Tune in next week to read about stealing the show from hateful, overzealous street preachers during Mardi Gras.