A few years back I did a lecture at the Dallas, TX magic club. A good chunk of that lecture (and all of the ones I do) talk about creativity and character. Afterwords, a friend of mine (who incidentally was the one who taught me how to shove a nail into my face) came up to me and told me about a bit of theory that he and his wife subscribe to and are always checking themselves against it.
With his permission, I am going to give you that bit of information and expound upon it in my own little way. This one goes out to all my honkies in the sticks. It's called the Broom in the Corner theory and it goes a little something like this...
Suppose you are sweeping your kitchen or some such other surface and then your phone rings or someone knocks on your door. Since you're in the middle of what you are doing, you set the broom into a corner it doesn't go in. Time passes and you mean to get back to sweeping, but other shiny things keep distracting you. Eventually the broom stays in that spot so long, that's where it comes to live. That's not where it originally was stored, but now... it is.
We do that in magic quite a bit. We'll get complacent with a move or patter or theory or... whatever. We give it nary a second thought and just come to believe that's how it's always been. It's because of this we don't question our motivations or use of certain props. As youngins we start out using dove pans gaudy painted boxes and various card sleights. We use these items for so long we don't move away from them and if we do... it's not very far.
Next time you do a show, video tape it. Then watch it... a few times. Take a step back and ask yourself, "Why am I doing that exactly?" You might find you can open your eyes to new possibilities and find a better way to present or perform something and make it your own. You might even find a new place for that broom suspension...
like in the corner.
(Special thanx to Mica and Judy Calfee of Riot Acts Entertainment for letting me use this bit of amusement on my journal.)