[bksvol-discuss] Article: Fly like a Bumblebee - by Bob Klamm,Blind Magician & Author

  • From: "Shelley L. Rhodes" <juddysbuddy@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindbooks@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2005 14:43:24 -0500

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Fly like a Bumblebee - by Bob Klamm, Blind Magician & Author

CAPTION: "No one knew I could hardly see until I was eight years old, not 
even me! Then my second grade teacher caught me cheating on flash cards. 
Even eyeglasses, with lenses thick as Coke bottle bottoms, still left me 
legally blind."

"Friends ran off and I could not see to follow. My father was chronically 
angry, Mother turned out not to be the saint I imagined. Only magic and an 
enduring optimism saved me from a desperately twisted sense of identity and 

Continuing with humor and optimism, R. W. (Bob) Klamm reveals secrets of the 
magic arts that helped him separate fact from fiction. He includes many 
delightful stories of his experience as a blind man performing magic, 
attending college, teaching high school, working in radio/TV, and raising 
two caring and productive children.

"Come fly with me. I have included some easy magic tricks. You can do them 
for family and friends."

BooksAndAuthors.net: Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a 
part of your life?

R.W. Klamm: The last part of this question is a curious one to ask someone 
who was born functionally blind; but, in an equally curious way, the answer 
is "yes." Library and school books for kids in the primary grades are 
usually super big print. Though it was a struggle, I could read them. I was 
an avid reader of the Arabian Nights and Greek myths. No one noticed my 
squinting eyes, and my nose rubbing the page. When the print got smaller in 
upper grades, they noticed and told me not to read any more. I would ruin my 
eyes. What? Hello! I did not do much writing until I was in high school. 
Then, for some now forgotten reason, I wrote a ten page murder-mystery 
story. It has since vanished into oblivion, but I still have two radio 
scripts on file, which won Junior Scholastic magazine writing awards. It was 
a real excitement for little Bobby Bill, born, raised, and living in the 
simple little small town
of Kansas City, Kansas.published among all of those national winners.

BooksAndAuthors.net: Who were your earliest influences and why?

R.W. Klamm: My uncle Walter Klamm was my ideal. I did not realize it at the 
time, but he had eyes as poor as mine. A lawyer with poor eyes? Well, they 
say that true justice is blind. What actually attracted me was that he was 
funny, full of life and fun, and smart. I wanted to be like that.

BooksAndAuthors.net: Tell us how you became an expert and consultant on 
magic? Where and when did your interest in magic begin?

R.W. Klamm: As I look back, I realize that my vision distorted the world 
into an indefinite swirl of weird images. They kept changing before my very 
eyes. You think you see just fine, and then Surprise! That person, over 
there, suddenly becomes a sign post. Undoubtedly, that had a great deal to 
do with my interest in fantasy. Magic gave me a feeling of control over my 
world. I think it must be the same, even with sighted youngsters. When you 
are a kid you have mighty little control over your life. Nearly every junior 
magi in my youth group, at one time or another, is fascinated by handcuffs 
and chain escapes. If you know the secret, you can instantly release 
yourself from the shackles of the world.

As far as being an expert and consultant, that inevitably comes with age. 
The principles of magic are simple. It is the presentation that provides the 
charm. At 70, you are old enough to have seen most of it all, at least once. 
A good memory and common sense also helps.

BooksAndAuthors.net: Why did you write "FLY LIKE A BUMBLEBEE ? Talk a little 
about your life and career and how it helped write this book

R.W. Klamm: It sounds a little ridiculous, but I didn't have anything 
special in mind when I started to write Bumblebee. In the summer, the magic 
business is slow, so I just sat down at my talking computer and started to 
write my life story. It might be of interest to my children and grand 
children. Then the memories came flooding back: my battles with my father; 
the strange twist in sexual identity it produced; the time I baked the 
olive-drab angel food cake; the good times on campus at Northwestern 
University; the struggle in establishing myself in advertising, only to 
throw it all out in favor of teaching school; establishing a youth magic 
club and producing their shows for 16 years; not to mention the years 
producing Broadway shows in high school, when no one else was doing that. I 
got so interested in the
story, myself, I couldn't stop writing until it was done.

BooksAndAuthors.net: Explain the title FLY LIKE A BUMBLEBEE and how it 
relates to the book.

R.W. Klamm: Science says that bumblebees can't fly. Their wings are too 
small for the size of their bodies; but they don't know that, so they just 
go ahead and fly anyway. No one knew that I could hardly see until I was 
eight years old.not even me. Despite skinned knees and scoldings for being 
so clumsy; despite rejection by peers; I had no other choice but to just 
keep on flying.Then magic took over. It taught me that if you can't do a 
thing one way, you have to find some other way to do it .just like the 
bumblebee. If you can't really make a lady float in the air, then you just 
figure out some other way to make it look that way.

BooksAndAuthors.net: What is your personal the message/philosophy in "FLY 

R.W. Klamm: I am glad you asked. It is kind of tucked away, hidden inside 
the book. Idid not want to preach. We do a book-signing magic show to 
illustrate the points more directly. Persistence, ala the bumblebee, is 
primary. Along with that, goes the idea that there is always some way to 
make things work out in life. If not one way, than another. Nothing is 
impossible if you just set your mind to it.

BooksAndAuthors.net: In your book, FLY LIKE A BUMBLEBEE, you talk about how 
Only magic and an enduring optimism saved me from a desperately twisted 
sense of identity and suicide, please explain.

R.W. Klamm: It is remarkable! I was surprised, myself, as I was writing 
Bumblebee. Whenever I came near to reaching a dead end, something remarkable 
happened. Maybe I am being a rosy-eyed optimist, or maybe it was the hand of 
providence, but there it was.sort of like magic! When my whole world crashed 
around me, as it often does for kids at college, The crux of it all was: If 
I end it now, I'll miss the next exciting chapter.

BooksAndAuthors.net: What do you hope to achieve with " FLY LIKE A 

R.W. Klamm: I truly hope it will encourage others to move forward in their 
own lives. It was written with adults in mind, but then a member of our 
large metropolitan library pointed out that my story had a great appeal to 
youth. It was like I was sort of a real-life version of the hero in those 
wonderful Harry Potter books.

BooksAndAuthors.net: What has been your feedback from readers regarding " 

R.W. Klamm: Though I had written several books on magic, putting my life out 
there fore everyone to see, was really scary. I held my breath for several 
weeks after publication. Just before I started to turn blue, I began to hear 
reports from complete strangers. They were reading it in the same way as I 
had written it. That is to say, they couldn't put it aside until they heard 
the end of the story. One of my youth magicians came over to tell me how 
much he enjoyed reading the book. Hoping to hear something profound, I asked 
him which part of the book he enjoyed most."The explanations of how to do 
the tricks, came the reply. Naturally! What else should I expect.

BooksAndAuthors.net:What's next?

R.W. Klamm: Currently I am looking for a publisher for my book on comedy. It 
has gone well for magicians, but is now revised to make it easy for anyone 
to do comedy. It is called,Get More Laughs from Your Laughs, and gives 
step-by-step procedures and fun exercises to do.I am also halfway to 
finishing a book on Parenting. It seems to me that after twenty years as a 
master high schoolteacher, twenty years mentoring young magicians, and a 
proud grandpa, I believe I have something special to share with parents. 
Instead of preaching, it will be called Pearls from the Klamm, little gems 
of wisdom to help your little gems of joy. It is a collection of 
entertaining stories, fables, and parables; each providing a little nugget 
of wisdom unto itself.

BooksAndAuthors.net: What was the last book you read?

R.W. Klamm: Thanks to the free recorded books from the Library of Congress, 
I am currently reading Hillary Clinton's book, Living History. Wow! Does she 
have it all together when it comes to knowing what is good parenting.

BooksAndAuthors.net: Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they 
enhance your writing?

R.W. Klamm: Every Sunday morning in church I play harmony on the harmonica, 
along with the organ while the congregation sings. I really have to work at 
doing the melody, but doing harmony comes naturally, so it is a real release 
for me.


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  • » [bksvol-discuss] Article: Fly like a Bumblebee - by Bob Klamm,Blind Magician & Author