"A man paints with his brains and not with his hands."
"There are no shortcuts in evolution."
Louis D. Brandeis
"What garlic is to salad, insanity is to art."
"There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who transform a yellow spot into the sun."
"What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If you wish to be a writer, write."
"Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed."
Thomas Henry Huxley
"I try to leave out the parts that people skip."
"To be the kind of writer you want to be, you must first be the kind of thinker you want to be."
"You see what you know."
“Painting is easy when you don't know how, but very difficult when you do.”
"If you think that something small cannot make a difference, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room."
“Resist the temptation to try to use dazzling style to conceal weakness of substance.”
"If you hit a wrong note, then make it right by what you play afterwards."
"We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out."
“Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end."
“The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof shit detector.”
"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
"Play the music, not the instrument."
"A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it."
I’ve been to a lot of magic conventions and I am continually impressed by how many great magicians there are out there. From the star acts on stage to the serious amateurs and hobbyists who clearly put in the time. Highly skilled and polished magicians with great routines perfectly practiced and well rehearsed.
Sadly, so many of them are doing the same magic. Many, in almost identical ways.
Of course I love the classics when done well - but a little variety never hurt anyone.
As I type these words there are well OVER 5000 items on our site alone. That includes THOUSANDS of books and dvds with TENS OF THOUSANDS of original and seldom performed tricks. With all that magic you would think we’d NEVER see a repeat trick in a show...and yet it almost always happens.
Yes, it’s true that magic has only so many basic effects. But there’s still a huge amount of material within those themes - all it requires is a bit of “mining”. I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to settling for the easy “find” but there’s nothing more exciting than discovering that great item that no one if doing. It’s even more satisfying when that item is in a decades old book that almost everyone says they’ve read.
It will take effort.
“Man stands for long time with mouth open before roast duck flies in.” Chinese Saying
Close your mouth and start cooking.
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Buddha
That quote stands on the bookshelf as I enter my office.
I read it every day. Often more than once.
The internet makes it easy to establish yourself as a reviewer or commentator. Heck, I’m doing it right NOW. The problem is that so many people take these reviews and comments as gospel. They are a not.
THIS is not.
Be careful that you do not watch or read a review and use it to replace your own thoughts and reason. At best they provide additional information. But the acquiring of knowledge and information is not the end. In fact, it’s just the beginning. After information is acquired it must be evaluated and synthesized into our own ideas and thoughts.
"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh
This post is a coming in a few days late. I had so many convention stops last month that I’ve been playing catch up all week long and I’ve finally found a few moments to mention this Elmwood Magic milestone...
May 1st marked our 17th year in business.
I worked for many years in the world of magic prior to that date in 1993 - but when I made the move to open my own place, it was a whole new ballgame. With the help of my good friends Rob & Carol Allen, I opened the doors to our first location: a six hundred square foot shop jam packed with magic on the popular and eclectic Elmwood Avenue in downtown Buffalo, NY. I was 22 years old.
I spent most days pitching Svengali Decks, Nickels to Dimes, Ball & Vases, and the like to curiosity seekers wandering inside. Most opened the door because they had no idea what we sold...some just needed change for the parking meters! But I’d like to think that if you spent just a few minutes inside - if you soaked in the surroundings for a moment or two - you could not help but realize that you were somewhere special. Or at the very least, someplace very different than any other store along the Elmwood Strip.
In seventeen years we grew from that little shop on Elmwood Avenue into one of the largest magic dealers and producers in the world. I seldom made giant decisions to bring us to that place. It was primarily a long list of small tweaks...a gradual transformation. What will happen in the next seventeen years? I didn’t know back then, so I won’t claim to know now but I will say this...
I hear lots of magic dealers saying the sky is falling.
I say - we’re still tweaking. Frankly, we’re just getting warmed up.