Jessica Latshaw

musician. writer. dancer.

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behind the magician’s cloak.

Posted By on February 21, 2012 in I Lift My Eyes Up, Thoughts and Feelings | 20 comments

You know, when I was little, my brothers and friends and I played a game called Scary Ghost Seeker. Only, we said it like it was one word, with no pauses at all, pronounced: scaryghostseeker. Just like that. We were hashtagging things long before twitter did it, guys.

It was basically hide-and-seek, but in the pitch black darkness of my parents’ basement with the added element of whoever was ‘it’ acting like a real monster. Complete with growls and snarls and crawling on all fours–the works.

But I never wanted to be the monster. No, I always liked keeping my eyes open the entire time, knowing exactly where the monster was (or, when I couldn’t actually see him, tracking him by the sound of his  blood-chilling grunts. Eek!), and being in as much control of the game as I could be. I monitored the monster, as well as my fellow hiders, and I waited till it was just the right time for me to reveal myself. Which was usually when everyone else was captured and, well, I had to give up my hiding place, or risk everyone thinking that I’d quit the game and gone to bed.

Yes, I was a brave little girl like that.

But my point is, there are people who like to be the monster. Who like to not know where their opponents are–who find the challenge of rooting through the darkness, trying to uncover surprises, actually fun.

And then there are people like me. The ones who like to keep their eyes wide open. Who like to know just where the danger is. And then stay the eff away.

But, that’s not always our choice. Which is an understatement. Because that’s not really ever our choice. Not that we need to go around snarling and crawling in the dark (though, that’s always an option; and I’m not gonna tell you not to do it, if you so wish. Just be prepared to be put on some heavy meds if you do, is all), but this adventure called Life can feel like a blown-up version of my parents’ very dark basement and here I am, feeling my way through that darkness.

Not that it’s bad–it’s just scary sometimes.

Like, now.

Now that I have to move.

Nothing bad has happened–it’s just time for me to move on because the lovely family I am living with is wanting to be just a family.

But, I don’t know where I am going to live in this fine city. And I have a certain amount of time allotted me to find a place.

And I feel a little bit like the monster, pawing its way through the blackened room and waiting for a surprise to jump out and reveal itself.

I just hope that it’s an affordable surprise. With kind people. And my own room. And in a safe area. With a laundry room for acoustics.

But it’s an adventure, yes? And it’s good we can’t see everything. I mean, some darkness lends us some mystery–a place where we can hang our hopes. I think if we could see into every crevice of life, we might never get out of bed in the morning. It’s the thought that maybe–just maybe–today will be the day that life starts looking a little more like the way we dreamt it to be that helps us up and at ’em every day.

And the darkness–maybe it’s the magician’s cloak. The cover so that we cannot quite see all the magic. But there’s God, working so hard in the dark, and eventually we will see the results. Just not today.

Which is okay.

It has to be.

Cause that’s life. That’s faith. That’s mystery. That’s adventure. And guess what it’s not: boring. It sure is NOT boring. Dear God, but that’s good. Because boring is not an option for me. Life is way too lovely to ever settle for boring.

And when I saw this on postsecret, my heart just about started nodding, it was agreeing so hard.

So, there you go. I got it. Adventure. Oh, I have it in droves! Lucky, lucky me. I have no idea where I will be living in six week’s time, but right now that’s behind the magician’s cloak.

And that has to be good enough for me.


  1. steve February 21, 2012

    Looking for an apartment in NYC reminds me of a scene in the film ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ which is very odd cos I am not a film buff,in fact more of an antichrist to film buffs. A former friend was obsessed by films and would sit for days just watching hours of extras on DVDs,I now hate dvds.
    But Polanski is perhaps a pretty unlikely landlord,but there is something of a fairy tale heroine about you,no not goldilocks,perhaps the lady from arabian nights,with a new blog every night to keep the wicked landlord at bay.
    I must go and write a long letter to my member of parliament,no fairy tale,just complex and forbidding,but necessary
    Take care with your home hunting

    • jessica February 21, 2012

      I am somewhat of an antichrist to film buffs, too, Steve! not because I hate films–no, they can be beautifully told stories–but, more because I always forget to watch them.

      and this–“there is something of a fairy tale heroine about you,no not goldilocks,perhaps the lady from arabian nights,with a new blog every night to keep the wicked landlord at bay.”

      –thank you for that. It’s a beautiful thing to say and I love how you worded it.

      And good luck with your letter to parliament–how terribly important that sounds!

  2. Robert February 21, 2012

    Monster sounds like fun, but I only had a sister, not sure the game dynamics work so well with only two participants. We did have a pretty creepy basement though.

    Moving is such a pain! It’s exciting and brings new adventure…but the actual sorting and packing and moving and unpacking and re-sorting…..AHHHHH!!….it makes my head spin. Well, you may have no idea where you’re going to land a this point, but I have a feeling that wherever it is, you’ll be feeling stronger when you do. I just have this feeling that you no longer know any other way…every step you take from here on out will be a step up. Call it a hunch.

    And yes, the mysteries in life, those little secrets, elusive and teasing….those really put some spark in our lives, don’t they? Once the Magician reveals the trick, the Magic is gone….and really, who wants that?

    Here’s to hoping you have some wonderful mysteries to ponder in your near future!

    Adventure Abounds!

    • jessica February 21, 2012

      adventure abounds, indeed!

      and, lucky for me, I barely have any stuff at all, so moving is not that difficult. I have some clothes and shoes and instruments here in the city. It’ll be fine.

      I am just hoping for something great to open up–and thank you for the encouraging words. 🙂

  3. Rob February 21, 2012

    Even though I’ve been giving God the silent treatment for a while now, I’m going to pray for you. Now don’t go thinking that you’re special just because I’m beaking my vow of silence for you (although I think you’re the shizzle). And I’m not sure that prayer from a backslidden christian boy is going to do much good. But it’s really all I can do since I’m not a millionaire who can get you an apartment or someone who lives there and can give you a place to stay (which I totally would). Good luck, I’m sure it will work out somehow.

    P.S. I had a dream last night that I was on David Letterman. Why, I have no idea. But I was wearing this really sharp grey suit with a pork-pie fedora. I looked like Justin Timberlake. It reminded me of your dream about Ellen. Now I want to get a fedora and go suit shopping. I’m bringing sexy back.

    • jessica February 21, 2012

      I think prayer from a backslidden christian boy can do wonders. And in this case, specifically, I am gonna believe it does. And be grateful. Cause that’s amazing of you, Rob. To break that silence. Not that I am letting it get to my head or anything. But is it okay if I let it get to my heart? And make me feel like the world is a kind place, with people like you in it? WOuld that be so bad? 🙂

      and I think the fedora and suit-shopping plan is a good one. Perhaps you can give up wearing anything BUT fedoras and sharp suits for Lent? Or is that too much to ask of a self-proclaimed backslidden christian boy? 🙂

      • Rob February 22, 2012

        This- “But is it okay if I let it get to my heart? And make me feel like the world is a kind place, with people like you in it? WOuld that be so bad?”- made me smile.

        I thought I’d give up cynicism for Lent. Lower dry cleaning bill. But I’ll definitely throw in a sharp suit and fedora in to spice things up.

        • jess February 22, 2012

          sometimes a little bit higher of a dry cleaning bill (what’s that, btw?!) is worth it, think.

          And glad I could help make you smile:)

  4. Kevin February 21, 2012

    If I believe in anything Jess, I believe that being afraid is a healthy state for a person to be in. You don’t know what you can accomplish until your back is truly pressed to the wall, where you are willing to try ANYTHING to make it work. Being comfortable is the death blow to goals, because we just don’t try hard enough to make things happen.

    If it is meant to be, it is up to me. Take the opportunity head on and don’t settle for the easy way out, listen to that voice inside of you and do something CRAZY!

    You ever seen that film Yes, Man? It might sound hokey, but I believe no truer message in a movie than that one: always saying yes brings unexpected fortune that no could never bring.

    • jessica February 21, 2012

      I haven’t seen that film–but I can imagine! Oh goodness, but, (as you have already pointed out) I can be the queen of saying NO! ha. But–sometimes yes is the right thing to say. And you’re right sometimes when we don’t have any other viable options–THAT’S when a miracle can happen. Thanks for the reminder, Kevin.

      • Kevin February 22, 2012

        The concept of saying “Yes” is extremely powerful. If I could apply it to my own writing I wouldn’t struggle as much as I do putting down words. I am the worst for worrying about messing up what I’ve already written; analyze everything too death. I need my right brain to leave me alone for a minute so I can get something done, I’d pay my right brain to go on vacation if I could.

        I fantasy about putting it all together one day, but I think my ambition is getting the best of me. I don’t want frivolous work, I’m screwy in the head area.

        • jess February 22, 2012

          I think commitment IS powerful. Commit to something–even if it’s not perfect; even in its present form–and then see what happens. Wonders occur once there is a commitment, I think.

          • Kevin February 22, 2012

            I was going to say something really witty like how girls are always talking about commitment, but guys just wanna have a beer and watch the game. hahah To point out the obvious: i mean, double entendre, buried in the post. Something = men, and in our present form we are not perfect, but take us for what we are and see what happens!

            If that special someone could just get out the C-word, the world would open up for him with Jess!

            Jess, probably better to take Duke Ellington’s advice: he said Music was his Mistress!

  5. jason February 22, 2012

    But commitment isn’t just saying commitment. I truly doubt Jessica will be fooled by words, because they’re pretty flimsy things, really, when the real forces of life and nature decide to exert themselves.

    • jessica February 22, 2012

      okay, I was really confused over the “C-word” for a second, there! But, I think I know what you mean–and yes, commitment takes time and actions–as well as saying so. In fact, saying you’re committed means very little to me. It’s what you do, that really matters. And that’s something that takes time to show someone.

  6. Jamie February 22, 2012

    So all of this time, I thought we played “Scary-Go-Seeker”. HAHAHA! I am going to have to call Mark and see what he thought it was called. I had no idea that we were playing “Scary-Ghost-Seeker”. Your name for it makes a lot more sense! You know, I didn’t like being the monster, but I was too scared to be the last one found…too lonely for me. Me, I think I always liked being the one to rescue everyone else, risky yes, but then I wasn’t all alone in the dark waiting for the monster to find me without anyone else around me. I think I still live my life like that in a lot of ways.

    Whatever is waiting for you, isn’t a monster, it might be scary, but it isn’t a monster. You have amazing things waiting for you, I just know it. I think someone like you, someone who is so very open to the world of possibilities and who loves and laughs and cries and prays and encourages everyone around her, well there can only be possibilities around that corner, not a monster. (But if there is, I am sure that there are tons of people in your life ready to vanquish whatever monsters are out there and one of them is me!)

    • jessica February 22, 2012


      YOu might totally be right, because none of us ever spelled the darn game! hahahahaha that’s hilarious. I just assumed it was a scary GHOST and we were seeking it…or something…:/ Yes, please call in Mark–he MUST be consulted on the topic STAT.

      And I love when you comment here. You’re so kind and encouraging and your thoughts are lovely, so lovely. Thank you. WE have some great memories, huh? xo

  7. Jamie February 23, 2012

    Yes, we have very good memories together. When I think about my childhood I think of hay forts, playing in streams and scary-go-seekers – which is amazing because it could be colored by other thoughts and sadness. Your family and your friendship were gifts that have long left their mark on me. By the way,I thought it was like hide and go seek, so you know turn off the lights and it is scary go seekers. Either way, it wasnt quite as much fun as tweeble tag. Hugs!

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