Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thank You

The point of Thanksgiving is to reflect on what we are thankful for. A week ago, I was rushed to the hospital with what I thought might be a heart attack. I honestly thought I was going to die. I am thankful that I have more time on this Earth. How much more no one can ever say, about any of us. I am also thankful to be reminded of what really is important in life. Mostly, I am thankful for everyone who, each in their own way, wished me well and gave me support while I was in the hospital. I am truly blessed. In my darkest times, I see just how lucky I am to have the friends I do. Thank you, one and all, and I hope you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Hospital Trip

I woke up Thursday morning with chest pains and numbness in my left arm. I wasn't in a lot of pain, but my uncle Jerry died of his first heart attack when he was about two years younger than I am now, and I have a history of heart problems on both sides of my family. Not wanting to take any chances, I checked myself into the hospital, and they held me for observation.

One of the first things they did was put a heparin lock in my arm. This is basically a catheter inserted into a vein so drugs can be administered during a cardiac arrest, when veins can collapse and are difficult to locate. They performed an EKG, did a chest x-ray, and scheduled a series of blood tests to check for cardiac enzymes. There are chemicals in the heart muscle that are found only there, and finding cardiac enzymes in the bloodstream indicates damage has occurred in the heart. They take blood at least three times during a 24-hour period, and having a tech wake you up in the middle of the night to draw blood has become one of my least favorite things.

The good news: the tests came back negative and my heart is fine. The bad news: my problems stem from a huge blood pressure spike brought on by stress, which carry with it problems of its own. I see my doctor sometime next week, and from there, we will decide what to do.

Fortunately, I will still be able to attend the book signing at the Capital City Art & Craft Show tomorrow at the Charleston Civic Center. I will be there from 3:30 to 7:00 pm, signing copies of both "Legends of the Mountain State" books at the West Virginia Book Company table. Stop by and see me if you're in the neighborhood.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

2008 Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick

Grace and I headed up to Cromwell CT last weekend for this year's Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Annual Gathering. The theme was "Devil of a Bar & Pub", and the Guest of Honor was storyteller and magician Ed Solomon. As always, much learning and good times were had by all. Grace and I had a table in the dealer's room, where she had several prints and original pieces of art and I had copies of both volumes of "Legends of the Mountain State" and Weird Tales #351. Business was brisk and our offerings were well received.

There were two evening shows this year: "Le Petite Guignol" on Friday night and the formal dinner and show on Saturday night. I did sound for both shows, getting to do a bit of theater work for the first time in a couple of years since I stepped away from theater to concentrate more on my writing. It's good to know I still have the knack.

As always, it's great to see magical friends who I only get to see once a year, and I come away inspired anew in all of my creative work. Grace and I are working on some new magical pieces. My plan is to perform in the close up show next year, and I have some new effects I plan to debut there. Ms. Grace has a few surprises of her own planned. We are working together to develop for her a magical persona that is uniquely her and to create an act that utilizes many of her interests and strengths as a performer. She has always had an incredible stage presence, and she's going to make one hell of a great magician. Stay tuned, folks.

Grace put up some pictures from the trip on her MySpace site, and there are pictures on the ICBM Photo Gallery. Let me say one thing to any magicians or prospective magicians who read this blog: you need to come to the Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Gathering. You will learn so much, and the environment there is indescribable. When I first attended in 2004, I was a complete outsider in magic, but from the moment I arrived, they made me feel like family. It is to magicians what Necon is to writers and artists. If you've been thinking about attending an ICBM event, don't put it off. Visit the ICBM website, and when they put up the registration form for next year, register and go. You absolutely owe it to yourself; it is a magical experience like no other. I hope to see you there.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Back in Cromwell Again

I am in Cromwell CT, along with artist/PA/magical assistant Grace Welch, for the 2008 Inner Circle of Bizarre Magick Annual Gathering. For those who don't know, bizarre magick is a form of performance magic that focuses on story and drama. It is fun, creative, and sometimes a little spooky; that's why I like it.

I spent half the night in the hospitality suite talking to magicians, and as always I learn a lot when I go there. I'll post a blog about the convention sometime Monday.