Inspiration and creative ideas can come from anywhere. Today, poke at your brain a bit with some insight from the world of illustration. Jake Parker began an art challenge called Inktober back in 2009. The task: create an original pen and ink drawing for every day during the month of October. It’s a big event in the art and cartooning worlds, with artists of all styles and ability levels sharing their work.

In a recent blog post, Parker offered his thoughts on why it’s important to understand the reasons behind our pursuit of creative work. “Why does knowing why you create even matter?” he asks. “You need to figure this out because knowing why you create informs everything you do as a creator.”

Parker presented his three reasons as 1) personal fulfillment, 2) reciprocation, and 3) societal enrichment. Considering how many magicians have cited similar ideas behind their own work — “I like to make people happy” or “I want the audience to be amazed” — this post could give you a new perspective on your own path in magic.

There’s an adage known as Sturgeon’s Law, coined by sci-fi author Theodore Sturgeon, which states (in paraphrase) that 90% of everything—be it movies, books, music, or yes, even magic tricks—is crap. In a TED talk back in 2014, magician Helder Guimarães tries to find out why that’s the case. To do this, he uses a deck of cards, a dollar bill, a stuffed giraffe, and the audience’s participation.

To him, the reason why most creations aren’t good is because “we stop thinking too soon.” He expands on this, first by performing a failed magic trick, and then telling stories about the power of secrets and coincidence, eventually tying these tricks together into a cohesive narrative. Spending time to draw out that hidden potential is vital in any creative field, and here, what began as a crappy trick is now turned on its head, and has become art.  

If you’re in Bell Buckle, Tennessee (a tiny town about an hour southeast of Nashville), be sure to stop by The Webb School on January 23 for an inspirational speech from illusionist and self-proclaimed “Card Shark” Jason Michaels.

Michaels is a successful magician and motivational speaker, performing for corporate events, on stage, and for network television audiences, and was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at a young age. At the event, Michaels will speak about his life and overcoming adversity. From the event description:

Jason Michaels is a professional speaker and entertainer with expertise in the arts of deception. Diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at age six, Michaels overcame “the impossible” and became an internationally award-winning sleight-of-hand artist and professional speaker. He has been performing sleight of hand, the art of illusion, and theater for more than 25 years. He motivates audiences to see beyond their challenges and self-imposed limitations and inspires them to take action by living bigger, bolder lives with his program “You Can Do the Impossible, Too!” He has shared his style of interactive sleight-of-hand, illusion, and humor with corporate audiences, theaters, universities, the United States Armed Forces, and for private social affairs all over the world. He is the author of the book “You Can Do the Impossible, Too!” His book details his journey of overcoming the debilitating neurological disorder Tourette Syndrome to become a success in business and in life.

He will also be on hand to sign his book, which will also be on sale at the event.

The presentation will begin at 2:20pm at the Follins Chapel, and is free and open to the public. For more information, call (931) 389-5703, or visit the official event page. And for a little sample of what you can expect from the talk, check out the video below from a TEDx talk in Chattanooga from 2014.