The memory of last weekend's T.A.O.M. convention in Dallas is still present in my mind. Perhaps the best thing about that convention, like most, is the opportunity to see old friends and to make new ones. But those who attend regional conventions usually just attend just that one convention each year. That means we can't see certain friends at other events, only the regional. And that makes our time together only that much more special. And the more often one attends a specific convention, you become more than friends to the point that they almost become family. Such is the case with the T.A.O.M.
I love every convention I attend (and I attend about a half dozen a year) and I enjoy seeing everyone. But the problem becomes having "quality time" with these friends. When there are so many people at an event (like MAGIC Live! with 1,500 people), it becomes downright impossible to do. You are "ships passing in the night" saying "hello" and making promises that will be broken. For example, there were some people I only saw briefly in passing in the hall or at the elevator, such as Giovanni Livera, Chuck Jones and Kostya Kimlat, whom I promised to "get together" with later that never happened. I never saw them again. And then there are those friends whom I only heard were in attendance but never saw.
I like spending time with friends from my local area, but when at a magic convention, I try to spend time with those whom I see less often. So I try to have a drink or a meal with my "out of town" friends. My friend, David Hira has a good idea. He suggests contacting certain friends before a convention and making plans to meet or dine at a certain place, date and time during the event. I like this idea, but the best laid plans...well, you know, things get in the way. There are surprises, changes to the schedule or other people who you didn't know were going to attend whom you want to see that create other demands on your time.
I guess what I'm saying is twofold: first, attend conventions regularly, even just one a year. You'll be glad you did. And second, make time to spend "quality time" with a few friends.
And while I'm doling out free advice (and worth every penny), I received a note from my Scottish friend, Peter MacLanachan. I am coordinating a Spring 2014 lecture tour through Florida. He made the following observation and suggestion:
"I really enjoy listening to The Magic Word podcasts as I am able to get some of the atmosphere of the conventions I cannot attend. They also help me bring back happy memories from F.F.F.F. I did attend. However, I think that Rory Johnston's comments at the start of the second podcast from MAGIC Live! should be heard and read by EVERY magician - hobbyist and professional performer, young and old, newbie and veteran. I bet you're wishing you had hit the record button sooner! ;-) Seriously though, what you captured is gold and it should make magicians do something very important - think - something I wish more magicians (myself included) would do more of."
Thanks, Peter, for listening and for your thoughts. I appreciate the feedback.