Magic is Hard

Sleightly Ambitious Post #2

Jamy Ian Swiss said it best when he spent time with us at the Chicago Magic Lounge, “Magic is fucking hard, put in the work and shut up”. Sleight of hand takes time to master, memorizing decks is brain numbing, scripting a performance to best fit your style/persona is never ending, keeping track of who came up with what technique/principle/method/effect is exhausting.

Those taking their first steps into the magical baby pool are eager to show their close circles of trust that the hours they spent reading and practicing tricks are worth it with casual performances; only to trip up or forget a step in the sequence as their confidence got the best of them. The resulting response is more often than not a sympathetic applause or ‘nice’, the forceful support is defeating. Non-professional magicians don’t have a varied audience, therefore we’re at the mercy of learning numerous new tricks as not to exhaust or bore our friends/family. Professional magicians however can have a rock solid set of 5-8 tricks that takes them years to perfect yet years of paid gigs to work through as a result. The beginning is terrifying, the middle is messy, the end is…well, never the end.

The greats we aspire to have no end in sight, they are constantly learning new things, tweaking existing, and questioning the old principles. Magic is hard because there are so many layers of complexity, so much so that the faint of heart or unguided will become paralyzed by choice and resort to watching more and more youtube videos of performances. The entertainment is more satisfying than the learning, the immediate pleasure of watching magic on youtube blind-sides the big picture.

Find a focal point, pick a trick and focus on getting very good at that one trick. Take time to explore variances to the effect, you’ll find hundreds of varied approaches. Think about the environments you’ll likely perform a trick, and find something that best suits the setting and time.

Just don’t overthink it, just pick one and start.

Waving the Aces.

I know you were expecting the Ambitious card, but I’m not ready to drop multiple doubles like a boss just yet. I need to honor that trick, and I’m not there yet.

The Starting Line

Sleightly Ambitious Cards & Coins

We all have to start somewhere, some before 10 years of age when a magic kit is gifted, others in their 30s when they’re served a YouTube video.  I did receive a magic kit when I was 5(ish), but the bug hadn’t bit just yet.  I subscribed to the 33 year old Chicago suburbia husband and father of two, latching onto an astonishing space of close up magic online.  Even better, those I witnessed performing miracles with a deck of cards or a coin were cool… tattoos, thoughtfully dressed, skilled videographers and storytellers, and personable.

I live in the Chicago area, naturally I’m drawn to the local greats; Aronson, Bannon, Marlo, Burger, and the wickedly talented and gracious team at the Chicago Magic Lounge and Magic Inc.  I imagine there are others in Chicago I haven’t had the honor of being exposed to, I can only imagine.  My influences don’t stop within Chicago, they stretch globally into German, Spain, UK, Ireland, Italy, France, Austria…you know who I’m talking about.


In the past two years I’ve built a magic library of books and DVDs, I’m eager to learn every principle, theory, trick, sleight, idea, concept, and thought process passed down through the thousands upon thousands of works written and spoken within.  I’m enrolled in Steve Faulkner’s card magic course, and a while back in enlisted myself to become a member of the [now] OG Sleight Club.  Needless to say, I’m equipped with enough knowledge and resources to support several lifetimes of magical teachings in Cards, Coins, and Mentalism…and I love it all.


This post will be short, it’s my beginning and its purpose serves as a dauntless effort to initiate accountability into a journey of becoming a student.  The road will be winding, treacherous at times, occasionally downhill, but always headed north.  


Join me.