Knifemaking: magic, noticing, and the Conjurer

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

― W.B. Yeats

With most things in the world, there are many behind-the-scenes forces that help things to happen.  Take a blossoming flower.  Beautiful, fragrant, and simple.  But behind all of that is a team of unseen helpers going about their existences- honeybee’s to pollinate, an ecosystem of soil for roots to take hold, and a concoction of nutrients within that for nourishment.  There is rain, meteorological patterns to govern the rain, and atmospheric conditions to govern those.  The beautiful blossoming flower couldn’t do what it does without these things, but that doesn’t make it any less magical, or detract from it’s wonder.

Life is a microcosm of this.  For everything in our lives, magical or otherwise, there is a team going about busy existences to make those things happen.  It’s important to notice these things.

A few years ago I started getting calls to work big shows.  Rock concerts, comedians, people of Youtube fame: acts big enough to fill coliseums and large concert halls.  My job title in these instances is Production Runner, a gofer, someone who knows where to find things and can make problems go away.  I’m the guy who gets someone coffee, or picks up prescription strength fungicide for professional wrestlers, or buys lumber for stage carpenters.  I’ve worked for a huge number of these acts.  Sarah Bareilles is very sweet, Taylor Swift’s bodyguards are terrifying, and Bill Cosby told me I was a connoisseur of elongated bullshit.

These performers are like the flower.  Most of them are who they are because they do something special that resonates with people, something fragrant and colorful and moving- magical even.  But like the flower there is also an army of forces working very hard so that these performers can do what they do.  There are truck and bus drivers, lighting designers, electricians, sound technicians, board operators, music directors and musicians and a slew of pencil-pushers and smooth-talkers to bring the flowers to the masses.  There is even magic in what all of these forces are.

One of the first shows I worked was on the set of a two day DVD filming at a local concert hall.  It was for a well known ventriloquist and was to be shown on a national TV network.  It was exciting.  After it was all over there was a director who needed a ride to DC to visit his brother before he flew back to Los Angeles.  Being ever the cash opportunist I offered to assist.

In the I-95 traffic we had deep conversations of politics, sex, and music.  He was telling me about a production he was watching from backstage in LA.  It was a Stevie Wonder performance being filmed live for television and there was a performance of “My Cherie Amor.  He had heard this song hundreds of times before but this performance of “My Cherie Amor” moved him to tears.  He couldn’t explain it.  Why was that one time so moving and special?

I told him that it was probably because he hadn’t really stopped to listen before, or maybe not in a very long time.  There wasn’t anything else to do at that moment and he was able to hear a legend do what made him famous, to hear this beautiful man conjure deep things through his very simple gift.

This is the lesson of the Conjurer.  To see the magic in the simple things.  To conjure your own magic through the simple things you do in your life, because that is where the magic really lives.  The flipside is to notice that the magic is there.  It’s what puts the color in this world.

She is made from a bar of 1095 spring steel
Rough grinding  

Ready for hardening

Hardened and scaly

  Tempered

Brass for the liners 
  
The Conjurer: 1095 spring steel, Mora handles, and brass liners and hardware  

 

When the director gentleman and I got to DC he gave me his card.  I went home and googled him.  This man was responsible for many magical musical productions and television shows and his name was shown prominently on each of them. Turns out he is quite the celebrity in that world and for good reason.  If I hadn’t taken the time to notice I could have missed a special experience and the simple but beautiful conjuring that this man did.  He helped me to see my own conjuring and magic.  This is the deeper lesson of the Conjurer.

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