25 Things About Me

I got tagged by someone on Facebook to write one of these posts.  As is my usual practice, I'll respond to the meme, but I won't tag anyone else to respond.

1. I was born in 1959 in Brookline, Massachusetts. I have no memory of this time in my life… but I have a scar. There's a small hard-to-see scar on my forehead from when I hit my head against a pan filled with scrambled eggs.

2. When I was two, my parents moved to Los Angeles, California.

3. When I was four, my parents divorced.  This was a hard time for me (and for my brother).  In 1964, no one got divorced.  Well, obviously folks got divorced back then, but no one talked about it.  Nowadays it's the subject of after-school specials and whatnot; back then there was no support for a divorcing family.  No one could relate to what my parents, my brother, or myself were going through; not my friends, nor my teachers, nor my parents' parents.

4. My mother re-married, to a Conservative Jew.  This experience taught me that being Jewish did not necessarily make you into a good person.  It's the main reason that when I was old enough to make my own choices about religion, Judaism was not on the list.

5. When I was about 6, my mother divorced her second husband.  Again, this was a very bad time.  My father successfully sued for custody of his kids, and there wasn't much my mother could do about it.  He had the money, she didn't.

6. When I was 8, my father re-married and moved back to New York.  My brother and I went with him.  To this day, my mother lives in LA and my father lives near New York City.

7. When I was 14, my father divorced his second wife.  I haven't been married once, but I've been through three divorces.

8. Both my mother and my father eventually re-married again (no, not to each other!).  Evidently "third time's a charm"; they're still married after two decades (my father) or three (my mother).

9. At each divorce, I was convinced it was my fault.  It took some years of therapy for me to get over that.  To this day, when I see other people with their problems, it's hard for me to convince myself that I'm not somehow responsible.

10. When I was about 10, I became fascinated with stage magic.  I read the standard books, and learned the secrets behind most of the magic tricks that are still performed today.  To this day, when I see a magic act, I'm usually not awed by the illusion, since I know how it's done.  Instead I focus on the presentation.

11. I also studied ventriloquism.  As far as I'm concerned, Paul Winchell's book is the best one on the subject; too bad it's long out-of-print. Edited two months later: I am wrong! This proved useful some decades later, since the "secret" of ventriloquism is used to pronounce my pagan name, Faidh.

12. While pursuing my study of stage magic at the age of 14, I saw a book called "Real Magic' in the card catalog in the Brooklyn Public Library.  It was by Isaac Bonewits.  I found that to borrow the book, I had to ask at the desk for restricted books; that is, books that were not kept on the public shelves.  It was Isaac's book that introduced me to the basic concepts that underlie my current religious practice.

13. Sixteen years later, I had learned about Wicca, both from seeing people who were Wiccan, and because a non-Wiccan friend of mine loaned me a copy of "The Spiral Dance."  I hunted around and found a group in my area.  I had a phone interview with the group's leader.  She asked me what books I read, and I mentioned that I'd read "Real Magic."  She responded, "You know that I'm married to Isaac Bonewits, don't you?" No, I didn't.

14. I visited the home of Deborah Lipp and Isaac Bonewits for the first time on January 12, 1991.  I expected a class.  There was one, but there was also a ritual.  That I did not expect.  I wound up wearing one of Deborah's spare robes.  It was pink.

15. There was a one-year-old kid running around the place. I remember thinking, "Kids and witchcraft?  How can they mix?"  Yes, I had a lot to learn.  I still know the kid; in fact, he might even be reading this.

16. I was at Fermilab in Chicago in 1987 in order to work on the physics experiment that would be the basis for my doctoral thesis.  While there, I met Walter Lefmann, who became my best friend for many years.  It was Walter's wife, Deborah Rose-Lefmann, who loaned me the copy of "The Spiral Dance."

17. I came back to the New York area from Chicago in 1988.  I moved into an apartment in Nyack, NY.  I only planned to live there a few years.  I'm still here.

18. In 1988, Walter took me to my first Ren Faire, the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo NY.  He encouraged me to go in costume.  From that day until this, I think there have been only three times I've visited any Ren Faire when I was not in garb.

19. In 1992 or '93, I got a Tarot reading at the Ren Faire from Sally Eaton.  I would get a reading from her every year until 1996, when she asked me if I'd be willing to work at her booth doing readings.

20. I worked for Sally until 2004, when a lucky chain of circumstances allowed me to get my own booth at the Ren Faire.  I still read there every summer.

21. In 1996, a hot chick walks into the booth in which I'm doing readings and chats with me.  After a while she says, "I don't have twenty bucks for a reading, but can I give you my phone number?"  After she walks out of the booth, I clutch the phone number in my hand and say, "YES!  YES!  YES!"

22. I dated the hot chick on-and-off for about six years.  We're still friends.  In fact, I'm pretty sure she's reading this.

23. On November 27, 1996, after 12 years as a graduate student, I defended my thesis at Columbia University.  I was now Doctor William Glenn Seligman.

24. I am the third-generation Doctor Seligman in my family.  My great-grandfather (my father's father's father) came into this country through Ellis Island.  One of his sons, Bernard Seligman, became a medical doctor.  His son, Stephen Seligman, also became a medical doctor.  They were both M.D.s, whereas I am a Ph.D., a "phony doctor."

25. In 1996, I started working at the Ren Faire.  I got my doctorate.  A hot chick walked into my Tarot booth.  I received an honor within the Craft.  And I danced body-painted as the Green Man at the Free Spirit Festival in Darlington, MD.  1996 was definitely a banner year for me.