It’s always interesting to me when a magician performs a magic trick. Not because it’s amazing or utterly fascinating (because it is), but because the magician has done something with ease that took him a long time to perfect. The crowd sees him perform his tricks and is amazed with the ease he “pull it off,” not knowing they had failed thousands of times before they consecutively got it correct.

Does that sound familiar?

With magic, people are transported in a single moment into a place of time where anything is possible. The magicians do this by practicing the tricks and seeking advice when possible, and making sure the trick is as perfect as they can make it. For what reason? To trick them. To fool them.

This is the same reason we buy movies, art, music, and books. To fool us to think we’re in a particular place in time. Why did I love watching Mission Impossible as a kid? Or James Bond? Because I liked spies and the world these particular spies lived in. Same with John Wayne or Sam Elliot westerns. What about the music we listen to? Most of my life was spent listening to music that transported me away from my real life into one that I enjoyed much more.

I really am still waiting on that Hogwarts letter.

This is the magic of creativity: to transport you into a world you want. Good writing can make you feel invested in make-believe people with make believe issues. But you might deal with the same issues or feel like you understand what they’re going through, because somehow it’s relatable.

I put a lot of value into the arts for that reason. Without the arts, life wouldn’t be worth living. Slugging it through day-to-day wears people down and they need breaks. Enter that book you love that can transport you to an exciting time where you’re the hero. Or the movie with the love story you yearn for, or the piece of art (this can be something by a craftsman) that makes you feel good or reminds you of a better time.

Art shouldn’t be judged by a scale, and the ability of those artists not judged. By that, I mean if someone doesn’t like Ethan H. Gaines as an author, that’s fine. If they go off and say he’s the worst writer of all time, not fine. Someone likes Ethan H. Gaines as an author because they enjoy his stories for whatever magic they feel through the writing.

Ernest Hemingway is often credited as the best American writer, but I would rather read Louis L’Amour, and I used to think L’Amour was the best. Stephen King is held up by writers as the golden standard, so it seems, but I’ve no desire to read him because I simply don’t like his material. Killer clowns? Psychopathic fans? No thanks. I prefer Poe.

My own feelings aside, Hemingway was a great writer and King has contributed greatly to the writing craft with his book On Writing. Once more, I haven’t read it but I’ve heard much about it. Creativity is magical. It effects different people in different ways and it takes a lot of hard work to get there.

They see the performance but nobody sees the practice. People post about their favorite book series but nobody sees the struggles the author went through in writing the book or developing every part of the series. Same with movies and shows. You see the film in the theater but not the rehearsals, shoots, mistakes, possible inuries, the list could go on.

Let’s not forget other forms of artists. You get the final product but how many times did they scrap it or want to scrap it? The fretful hours spent not knowing how to continue to capture their vision of the end product, maybe the strong desire to quit and get into a more orthodox career. I’ve thought it and I can’t be the only one.

I only write this to remind you to appreciate the magic of art.

Ethan H. Gaines was born in Riverside, California and moved to Kalispell, Montana, in the early-90’s. He has written for Screen Anarchy, Moviepilot, Vocal, and writes for the online journal extension of Last Best Press, of which he is the Principal. Mr. Gaines also is the publisher of Northside Neighbors, a magazine in Kalispell, Montana. Ethan H. Gaines lives in Kalispell with his wife and three children.

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