Wrapping It Up

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The December 2017 issue of M-U-M brings to a close my tenure as editor of that magazine. When I took the job, Lisa and I lived in Las Vegas and my daughter was two years old. Over the next nine years we moved three times, across the United States and into Canada, and produced 108 issues – which is a pretty good magic trick all by itself. In the beginning there were steep learning curves. Lisa became a wizard at Photoshop and InDesign, and (after editing almost seven million words) I finally understood more about writing.

mum covers

From the start, I knew what my editorial slant for the magazine would be. I wanted to emphasize books (and the importance of reading them) and practical, real-world advice from working professionals. Fortunately, I was able coerce many of the world’s top pros and part-time pros into joining the M-U-M writing staff. If you go back through the past nine years of M-U-M, you’ll find expert information on just about every branch of magic.

Nothing stays the same, and the world has certainly changed over the past nine years. One heartbreaking change has been the loss of some of magic’s best and brightest people. Of those who contributed columns to M-U-M, we lost Charles Reynolds, Aldo Colombini, Dennis Loomis, Larry White, Paul Osborne, and Ken Fletcher. Happily, most of our past and present columnists are still on the planet: Alan Wassilak, Ariann Black, Ian Kendall, Christian Painter, Nathan Kranzo, Norman Beck, Pete McCabe, Rod Danilewicz, Steve Snyder, Tim Sonefelt, George Schindler, Steve Marshall, Phil Milstead, Michael Perovich, Norm and Lupe Nielsen, Tom Vorjohan, Daniel Herron, David Seebach, Larry Hass, Bruce Kalver, Roger Blakiston, Chris Wasshuber, Joshua Jay, R.D. Michaels, James Munton, Levent Cimkentli, Harry Anderson, Tom Ewing, Bob Farmer, Scott Alexander, Mick Ayres, Norm Barnhart, Charlie Siebert, Christopher Carter, George Parker, Tony Cabral, Sara Crasson, David Oliver, David Corsaro, Gary Plants, Paul Stone, Martin Lewis, Max Maven, Peter Samelson, and David Haversat. Several of these fine folks wrote for the magazine for years, often contributing several different columns. It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with all of them. They have my deepest appreciation.

Just so you understand what it means to commit to a monthly column, sit down and write two thousand words on any subject, each month, every month for the next twelve months. This will help you appreciate the generosity of the people mentioned above. The next time you see them, say thanks. (By the way, here’s a hot tip: if you ever have a writing deadline and you’re stuck on what to write, you can always pad out your article with a long list of people, places, or things.)

There were three people whose involvement was critical to the success of M-U-M during the past nine years. Bill Duncan has done an impeccable job coordinating the Informed Opinion review columns. Each month, Bill received the products, distributed them to the reviewers best qualified to discuss them, assembled the Word docs from the various writers, and sent them to me like clockwork. This was a big job, and Bill never let me down. (Having written product reviews for MAGIC magazine for ten years, I can tell you from personal experience that it is a thankless job. Bill’s reviewing staff is the best in our field. Every month they provided insightful and useful reviews. My heartfelt thanks to all of them.) Lindsay Smith’s days as proofreader for M-U-M go back to when John Moehring was editor. Even when the schedule was a little crazy for one reason or another, Lindsay persevered; his keen eye and knowledge greatly improved the quality of the magazine. Lisa Close not only provided an eye-catching, easy-to-read layout each month, she was also an invaluable collaborator, whose ideas and suggestions always made the magazine better. It is impossible for me to imagine producing this magazine with anyone else. To Bill, Lindsay, and Lisa I offer my deep gratitude. You made a tough job much easier.

Now that everything has been completed on the December issue of M-U-M, you might wonder how I’m going to spend my time in the months ahead. No thumb-twiddling is in my future; I have many projects that will be moving from “back-burner” status to completion.

Heading your way first are my new ebooks, tentatively titled The Paradigm Shift Parts 1 and 2. I have been working on this project for almost ten years. I have demonstrated some of the material to a select group of magicians in the past couple of years, and the response has been enthusiastic. (Quentin Reynolds said The IKEA Card Trick is the best routine he’s seen in years.) The focus is on card magic, but you will also find effects that use other objects. There are contributions from Harry Riser, Bob Farmer, Mick Ayres, Roy Walton, and Simon Aronson. In addition to the effects, there are some groundbreaking essays that will help to take your magic to a new level. Each ebook will contain more than thirty chapters. Lisa and I are working furiously in order to have the two ebooks out before the end of year.

In addition to the ebooks featuring my material, Lisa and I plan on releasing several new ebooks from other authors. We have already started this process with Christian Painter’s Magic in the Real World: What You Need to Know before You Quit Your Day Job. If you have any desire to make a living from performing magic, you need Christian’s ebook. It will save you time and money. Watch for more ebooks in the months ahead.

Lisa and I hosted two workshop/retreats in 2017. The first, in May, featured Johnny Thompson as the special guest; the second, in October, featured Jason England and Michael Weber as the special guests. Both gatherings exceeded everyone’s expectations. Lisa and I plan to host more of these events and are fine tuning our business plan to ensure the best experience possible. We will keep you updated.

With my M-U-M responsibilities completed, I have more time for teaching and coaching. With the explosion of magic on the Internet and the avalanche of new products hitting the marketplace each week, it is more important than ever for a magic enthusiast to have someone with knowledge and experience to guide his or her progress. I will be uploading a blog post on this subject shortly, so stay tuned.

That’s the short list of what’s coming your way at www.michaelclose.com. Thanks for reading.

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  • Michael Close
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