¿AQracCes ^rom Qptc Hip

- a imilisc on the oJiPocket ^-Writing -

arid is somewhat an extension of my fingertips This grip is very solid and easy for me to use, You may have to alter it somewhat for your use. With this grip 1 can use a very short writer and the control is very good. This saves space in the pocket and makes a single grip very versatile, I can use a wide variety of writers and all of them have basically the same grip 1 don't need to alter much from one writer to the next.

^Pencil Stub -

Oi course the time honored standby is a plain old fashioned pencil stub. Indeed this is what I use 95% of the lime. Simply sharpen a regular £2 pencil and then cut off the last haii-inch (of the yellow part) and the tip. The total unit measures all of about an inch in length and works like a charm. One small caution at this juncture, do make sure you have at least two of these in your pockei available to you. like all pencils, these will break and at the worst possible times. Having a spare available can save the day. I actually have as many as four stubs in my pocket at any one time depending on the amount and frequency of pocket writing I'm going to be doing. Better safe than sorry.

I've talked to many people who have trouble with a stub that small. There are a couple of solutions for this. One is go to a teachers supply store and buy a small supply of grade school pencils These are about twice the diameter of regular pencils and frequently have larger leads, bothjeauires beings potential aduantage^Just a$-with the-FeguIa^pencil^stub, — sharpen the pencil and cut off the tip. You'll find this to be much easier to hold onto, although they do take a bit more space in the pocket Experiment and see what works for you.

Another possible solution was passed on to me by some of my Denver friends who have experimented with two different products which are available at your local office supply emporium. One is called a 'pencil pillow1. It is simply a soft foam tube that fits over the end of a pencil. Cut a length that fits the stub you're using and it will automatically make it a bit easier to handle.

Another product (which unfortunately I don't have a brand name for) is a triangular sleeve which fits over a standard pencil. It ts designed to keep pencils from rolling. They also make a wonderful triangular grip- As with the pencil pillows, simply cut off the desired length and place it on the pencil stub. This triangular gizmo is a bit bulkier than the pencil pillow, but does work marvelously well!

Curacies J^rom JTfic Hip

Yet another possibility is to use a carpenter's pencil. These are available a) building supply houses. It's a six-sided (sometimes eight-sided) charcoal lead pencil where the lead is rectangular shaped. This allows for both nanow and wide writing (like a calligraphy pen). Cut one short and you'll have the option, depending on how you hold i! in the pocket, of either narrow or broad writing. It presents some interesting possibilities worth investigating. Just one word of warning, since the lead is sometimes charcoal based these can be a bit messy. Experiment in limited doses before going overboard with this to see if it is for you

Another popular writing instrument which, unfortunately, can present a bit of a prob lem, is the standard ball-point pen. Obviously the barrel of the pen needs to be rather short, 1 have experimented with a number of ideas over the years, including cuttmg pen cartridges snorl and sealing the (extremely messy!) open end with wax (among other sealants). At best this brings mixed and often unreliable results. Feel free to experiment, but do make sure that if you decide to alter an existing pen, MAKE SURE it's going to work for you every time or you'll end up looking foolish. Also make sure it is sealed completely or you could end up with a rather unsightly mess in your pocket, not to mention a aimed pair of trousers!

1 have heard of a small handful of quality pens that are quite short, but I've yet to actually see any of them. I'm sure they exist, but not in my neighborhood. II you have access to any, by all means try them out All you need is the actual pen cartridge. You may need to 'beef up' the cartridge so that it handles comfortably for you (iike the pencil pillows mentioned above).

The best success that I have found is to go to my neighborhood department store and buy one of those '8-ln-l pens. These monstrosities have eight (the number varies) different ink cartridges that all write in different colors. The ink cartridges themselves are really quite short and work fairly well. The main problem with these is that they are invariably very cheaply made. As such, you may have to go through a few pens to find a reliable cartridge. I have found that storing the cartridge with the ball point facing down (allowing gravity to be your friend) really seems to help. This a matter of pocket management and a bit of ingenuity.

One solution that I have found for this makes use of my basic pocket desk (described elsewhere). There is a vinyl coated paper clip on this gizmo. If you jam the ball point of the cartridge into the back (leg side) of the clip on the desk, it will be held in an upright position 7 and stays put. Try this out, it actually works fairly well. One extra thing here, I have made it a habit of actually "writing' with the cartridge in my pocket on the back of the desk, just before writing on the actual slip. This gets the ball point moving and increases the chances of success. Like I said, these things are very cheap and sometimes they need a kick to get going.

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