Prophecy and Free Will, to me, have always been mutually exclusive concepts. I know theologians who would argue that. Hell, West would argue that! But the idea of someone manipulating my strings (and that will be the only metaphor explored) has always felt creepy to me. It doesnt help that I suffer from automatonophobia (fear of ventriloquist dummies), the result of watching too many Twilight Zone episodes.
My will is critical to my being. In many ways, this belief has motivated me to come up with the hyper-rational mentalism style I created for Metaphysics. I am happy to calculate the probabilities of my future, but seeing my future smacks of predetermination, and predetermination eliminates the need for will.
That said, the last year and a half has seemed more fated than figured. I am forced to consider forces greater than myself having a say-so in my life. I wouldnt call it magical thinking, because I always think of that term in a pejorative sense. Lets call it mystical thinking, or spiritual thinking
In Grail lore, the king does not realize the emptiness of his soul until it is filled. My soul was likewise empty, until it was filled with hope. In searching for the Grail, it never occurred to me that if I stood still, others might bring it to me.
In my life, work has been my greatest addiction. My friends would constantly point out that I was never happy unless I was struggling with some problem to solve. But my problems became impossible to contemplate, and so I just closed my eyes, with the intent of never opening them again. That didnt happen. Forced by Fate to journey on, I began to realize the miracle that is friendship. Friend after friend came to my aid, gave me support, and one even introduced me to a remarkable woman. The more I learned about her, the more it seemed that I was destined to know her... which really put a dent in my rational veneer.
I am a Romantic, and always have been; its just a part of me I tend to guard carefully, because there is nothing quite so vulnerable as a romantic heart. I happily admit that I cry every time I watch Iron Giant (and if you dont, I would find that suspicious!). My friends began to notice a change in me. Her friends began to notice the same. Somehow, whenever we were around each other, even if it was only on the phone, we just felt happier, and it was impossible to believe that could be a bad thing.
This relationship was not without its problems. We were both still legally married, although separated. She represented her family, the Glovers, in negotiations with my family, the Magic Castle, so we had to be constantly wary about certain topics of conversation, and respecting each others boundaries and responsibilities. Yet nothing seemed to matter, because every day I learned something new about her, and every thing I learned made me love her more.
We began to have adventures. She began to travel with me, and to work with me on my material. Her understanding of magic was profound, and unbiased by the politics of the art. I could spend the next three pages explaining how wonderful she is, but it wouldnt bring you any closer to the truth: that her greatest gift to me was grace. Like the water that pours from the Grail itself, she healed the many wounds and scars I had collected. In my mind she created a field, beautiful and natural, where I could rest, knowing that I would wake up alive and eager to tackle some new problem, create some new presentation... because at my side was my best friend, my lover... and soon much more.
On March 11, 2012, during the Magic Castle Sunday Brunch, sitting with close friends in the Houdini sance room, I stood, said Excuse us, a prearranged signal to the rest of our party to leave the room. Unbeknownst to West, other close friends waited just outside the door. With just the two of us in the room, I asked the all-important question, and she gave me the all-important answer, and I placed a ring on the ring finger of her left hand. Then the room was flooded with good friends and family... and glasses of champagne.
Readers, I am proud to announce that West McDonough has agreed to marry me.