Dinty Moore, in his discussion of the essay in Crafting the Personal Essay, asks, “Why do bad things happen to good people? And why, for that matter, do good things happen to clearly bad people? And if sages and prophets have been telling us for thousands of years that the simple recipe for happiness is love and contentment, why are so many of us lonely and unfulfilled?” He then continues, and gives us this advice: “These questions may have no immediate answers, but reading about other people’s lives, other people’s challenges, and other people’s small victories gives the reader fresh perspectives, i.e. more ways to consider the questions at hand.” And so your job is to examine your life through the lens of the connections between your career aspirations/obsession/ major/talent and the world of magic and illusion. ASSIGNMENT: To begin with, make a two-columned list. In Column A, write down all the things you love/hate/admire/think-it-takes-to-be-good-at regarding magic and illusion. In Column B, do the exact same thing for your career/obsession/major/etc. Now, write a paragraph or two exploring how these two lists converge and diverge. Where do your interests intersect? What kind of “arguments” might you be able to make about those intersections? Why would someone be interested in hearing those arguments? How might you do research to help you find out more about these possible arguments? It might be helpful (and/or completely necessary) to research each thing (magic and your major/career) separately and then find the connections. Very few books exist that tie magic into any other career. That said, you will find PLENTY of information on, for instance, how the performative aspects of magic require a certain level of confidence and charisma; you will also find articles about that same topic in any number of other fields, i.e. music, business, art, etc. See what I mean? The research will be out there, but how you choose to find them separately and then combine them is up to you. But the success of this essay will start and end with that research and how you, personally, go about tying your findings together with your own feelings on these matters. Now you need to combine your lists, your research, and the connections you hope to explore. You are to find out what about you and your life, your past,, your career, your experience with magic feels relatively normal to you but might be of great interest to a reader? Find that thing, and then explore it, make connections, and use research to better understand what it really means to examine your future plans and how the ideas of magic/illusion filter those very same ideas.
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