Indian summer is a warm but bracing time in New York. Dreams are born as young men, returning to school, remember the freedom of the past summer and the discipline of a school year just beginning. It was at just such a time that I

gave my first professional magic performance. The year was 1957...

Autumn was desperately trying not to succumb to winter but losing the fight. The streets of New York were gray and gloomy. The air was filled with an ominous foreboding that the first snow would soon be falling. A strange depression had filled my days since returning to New York's bleak and lonely streets from a series of shows at a nightclub in Winter Park, Colorado, where snow and minus thirty-four-degree weather had already become the norm. I put aside my close-up pad. The year was 1982.

Many of the magic brethren never noticed my absence. My light had never shone that brightly. Besides, much of the joy of magic is in what's new, not what's gone. Arriba Magia!

Why did I walk away? Why indeed, when the roster of magic is filled with men like Dai Vernon and Tony Slydini, who lived long lives devoted to magic. In spite of the angst, were they not happy and fulfilled by their passionate love of magic?

Let me not be melancholy, for I have embraced magic fully and been kissed by her tactile delight. I, too, have effused and rejoiced at a new discovery. Many the smile has forced its way onto my sullen face as a beautiful new move left a tingle in my hands and a thrill in my heart.

I never walked away from the goddess magic. I don't believe that possible—at least not for one such as I, who truly loves her. I walked away from her other jealous suitors, from the fight for her hand, which cannot be won. I walked away from the indefensible war that rages between those who love her too much and themselves not enough, but who fight petty battles for her honor. The goddess is a slut who will spread her limbs to all, but yield her heart to few.

With that view expressed, you may wonder why this book? If I walked away, why re-enter the fray? The answer is simple: I am not back to fight; I am back to love. I am not back to argue, I am back to embrace. If I am resigned to one idea upon my return, it is a notion well expressed by the Nez Percé Indian Chief Joseph, considered by many the greatest military strategist who ever lived.

"I will fight no more, forever."

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