We have no idea how our fellow magicians are doing during the shut-down, but we do have some awareness of how we are doing.
Again, you may be different, but we live for live audiences. Without an audience fix at least weekly, we go through withdrawal symptoms. Our mood suffers, our eyebrows are not timely trimmed (a hazard for Irish-blooded magicians (men and women)), our fingers loose their callouses that were developed over the years.
We have been practicing our sleights almost non-stop. We do stop for sleep and regular washing of our hands and that only dries them out and makes some of the sleights more difficult to perform. In that way, it is a good thing that we are forced to perform under more than severe conditions.
Our Second Deals (strike and push-off) are becoming honed to the point that we can fool us — and our point of view is directly behind our hands. Perhaps that dependent clause did not need to be written. Where else would we be in relation to our own hands?
We have started doing Bottom Deals and are starting to get a handle on something that has eluded us for years. We don’t fool us yet, but we are working on it.
Of course the ultimate would be to learn how to perform a half-pass without detection. We’re sure there are people in the world can do it. After all, it was written up in The Royal Road to Card Magic and taught on YouTube. We’ve been working on the sleight since we were 14 and have only dared it when we have a cover or distraction or both. We keep trying but like the Pressure Fan, we fail; yet we try.
But any success we enjoy learning or perfecting sleights pale in comparison to our deeply felt need to perform in front of a joyous (maybe also inebriated) crowd in the basement of The Magic Castle. There is nothing that beats the feeling of working with a small crowd of people, entertaining them (we hope), and using our sleights under the close examination of people up-close.
When we receive applause or laughs, endorphins release their bonds and float smoothly to our little brain. Our attitude improves and our eyes glisten. Our eyebrows return to a smooth line without errant strands going off into strange patterns.
Perhaps it is a reflection on our own mental makeup that we need an audience. If so, we think we share a similar psychological status with many magicians and other performers.
We will now open a new deck (Bee, of course), remove the jokers and advertising cards, practice our fans, Faros, Seconds, Bottoms, Charlier Passes, False Shuffles and, of course, the half-pass. But our eyes don’t glisten and our eyebrows sit unruly above our unglistening eyes.