On the Boulevard: In-Flight Inspiration

Inspiration is where you find it, and as usual I discovered it in an unlikely place – the seat pocket during a recent Southwest Airlines flight to Phoenix.

As I leafed through the airline’s Spirit magazine, the first slice of wisdom came from illusionist Penn Jillette. He answered the burning question: “How do you keep success from being an illusion?”

 Jillette used the example of the time-tested cups and balls trick. While partner Teller draws the audience’s attention, Penn works the mechanics of the trick by loading the balls into the cups, “doing the part that actually makes the trick work.

 “Don’t fall into the trap of making yourself the audience to your own life, getting consumed by creating an illusion of success. Instead, be the magician who focuses on the nuts and bolts and does all the work to pull off the trick.”

 Then there was a brief interview with the great poet Maya Angelou, who concluded her charming remarks by answering a seemingly simple question: “If you could be remembered for one thing, what would that be?

 The winner of many literary prizes and the author of a shelf of wonderful books, her latest being the autobiographical “Mom & Me & Mom,” replied, “I’d like to be remembered for my kindness.”