Saturday, August 06, 2005

Tunnel vision

I'm about a fourth of the way through the latest Harry Potter book. I'm a fan: I think Ms. Rowling's a good writer who deserves all the perks that have come her way. I'm hesitant to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon vis a vis magic routining, though. Because that's what it is - a bandwagon.

Magicians have tunnel vision when it comes to putting together magic routines. They do magic about magic. Our "stories" are about finding cards or producing birds or pulling middles out of vacuously smiling girls because, well, because we can.

Every now and then someone gets "creative" and notices that the Harry Potter books and movies have the word "magic" in them, so there must be a tie-in to that stuff we do. So the next time that ever-so-creative individual does a mathematical card trick he doesn't call them cards, he calls them house-elves and poof! a new routine is born! (The really creative ones also notice there are wizards and such in the Tolkein books/movies so the terms they steal and use incorrectly come from those sources.)

Imagine if all movies referenced movies, or all songs were about music. How incredibly boring, just like most magic! The movies I love are about universal themes: love, loss, death, betrayal, redemption. For that matter, so are the Tolkein and Rowling books. But in our narrow focus we don't want to touch it, or don't know how, unless it explicitly says "magic."

Magic is just a vehicle. It is our song, our movie, our book, our dance. It is a means of expression, a way to tell a story. If the story you want to tell is, "I can do silly little inbred things that may fool you if you don't think about them for too long," fine. My ambition is to tell greater stories than that.

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