The Own or Omtt

HROUGHOUT the literature of magic one reads this advice: Be original Its certainly a recommendation with which 1 would side. Indeed it is fine to be original. Still, I fed we should clarify this advice to discover what it really means and how you might achieve it. hor, though it may sound simple, originality for many remains a difficult goal. We may have to accept the hard fact tliat many will never achieve a high degree of originality. There can be many reasons for this. lack of talent, imagination, willingness to work But I also think that many may fail to achieve originality, not because of a lack of imagination or talent, but because of a mistaken approach to the subject.

One can try to achieve originality in many ways, ways diaL may seem promising. Nevertheless, many of these approaches, promising as they might seem, are simply wrong and will lead nowhere. It is good to be aware of the roads that can never lead to true originality, but only to false art and nonsense. Lets look at a few possible approaches to originality:

• Til do a certain trick with an object that has never been used before."

• Til try to be different from every performer 1 know."

• Til adopt a theme or character never used before and frame all my tricks widiin this construct."

You can sec here that diese approaches all strive for originality by trying to be different from what has been done before or is being done. Although this attitude is commendable, I'm suspicious of the approach. You see, if I desire to be different from existing acts and performers, what then is the factor that determines my originality? What elements resolve what I shall do? Aren 11 letting those acts and performers decide my course for me? Aren't I, in an indirect way. allowing someone or something else to decidc the nature of my personality and act? Is it good to let that which exists control my direction? If my only goal is to be different from the existing, then that body of work and its practitioners become the criteria by which my work is judged as original.

Such limitations obviously narrow your possibilities. But there is a greater problem. It is worse still that factors from outside you dictate what you should do, rather than you being the arbiter of your own direction and progress. Shouldn't it be you, and you alone, who decides what you do? Isn't iL an enormous and insupportable sacrifice to your imagination

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