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My sincere I hanks to all those u/ho have contributed both directly and indirectly to this work. Over the years many people have shared insights that they have had in working with pocket writing. There are aspects of tins book that simply would nol have happened were it not for these individuals.

Steve 'Banachek' Shaw, Bob Cassidy, Theo Annemann, A1 Baker, Docc Hiiiord, John Riggs, Joe Curcillo ... I thank you all for your friendship and willingness to share. Your ideas have encouraged me over the years

Of course there are those whose contributions are beyond the scope of any book. To Robert Waller, Patrick and Kathy Holcombe, Brian and Jan Flora. Richard Webster, E. Raymond Carlyle, Bruce Bernstein . . .your friendship means everything to me. You have all touched my life In ways both literal and professional Things would not be the same without you.

Of course my wonderful wife. April Canter who, I'm sure, thinks this whole idea is nonsense. Thanks for being there anyway, honey.

And to you! i thank you for your interest in this work and I wish you all the very besl in your pursuit of this wonderful technique.

On with tlie show!

Curacies QVom eTfic 'Hip u treatise on Hie oj (pocket l Wt*ilinj:j of fie genes

55"Fic probfem witfi teaching

Any teacher of any subject can tell you that the biggest challenge facing them is not the main material to be taught. The big challenge lies in being able to help the student who has problems and roadblocks to gel past them. There is a bit of a double edged sword in this for the teacher.

Let's assume that the teacher had problems and challenges with the subject matter when they were first learning the material. This student-soon-to - be-teacher would then have to develop the tools and techniques to be able to overcome the roadblocks before them. Of course this was usually done with the help of some other teacher. Once the material was mastered, not only did this teacher have command of the material itself, but they also had command of an arsenal of techniques to help overcome obstacles in the learning process. Makes sense doesn't it?

But, on the other hand, have you ever heard the phrase, That person is Just naturally gifted'? Everyone has their own natural aptitudes. Things they just seem to take to naturally. For me pocket writing was one of those things. I never really had any problems with the technique or its applications. It was a very natural thing to do. Of course, I assumed that everyone else would be able to do it just as easily. I've come to find oul that's simply not the case.

Over the years, I can't begin to tell you how many times I have been asked to 'teach' someone how to pocket write. At first the request seemed ludicrous. Simply stick a slip of paper or cardstock into your pocket with a pencil stub and write on it, right!? Well it became apparent very quickly that there was much more to it than that for many of my colleagues. These many questions and challenges over the years were the early beginnings of the book you now hold.

I have had to 'learn1 the problems that others have had in the mastering of pocket writing, and then figure out ujhy those problems existed. Then I had to figure out how to get past those roadblocks. Much of what you are about to read is the result of figuring out all those 'hows and whys'.

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- a treatise onllic oj Cpocfcet 'Writing -

I'm going to assume throughout this text that you know absolutely nothing about pocket writing. I'm also going to assume that the first several times you try it, that you are going to fail miserably. Don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing this on you But rather, I'm hoping to cover every possible pitfall and stumbling block that you may encounter in your work with pocket writing. As such, portions of this book may seem elementary, even ridiculously simple. But I just want to make sure all of the bases are covered.

My suggestion to you is to try all of the exercises and experiments contained herein, I have discovered in my years of teaching {over 20 years in various fields of endeavor) that only by trying every possible configuration of an idea, can you truly find out where your own strengths and weaknesses are. Hopefully I will be able to anticipate whatever challenges you may face and give you the tools to overcome them. The actual work is up to you, of course.

Why ^pocket Writing?

Any form of secret writing is a formidable weapon when used properly. You really cannot call yourself a mentalist if you don't avail yourself of this most fundamental concept and technique. There are, of course, three main forms of secret writing; nail (boon, band, etc.) writing, double writing and pocket writing. There are others, but these are the main ones. Of these three, nail writing is by far the most used. There's a ton of material in the literature that makes use of nail writing. Double writing is more an "effect-specific' type of technique and is probably the least used {and least versatile) of the three main types.

Which brings us to pocket writing. When you examine it, virtually anything that can be done with pocket writing can also be done with nail writing. This begs Ihe obvious question then, why bother to use pocket writing? Just naii write everything and you're covered, right? Not exactly.

My own reason for being drawn to pocket writing in the first place is based purely on practicality. As some of you may know, I do a bit of strolling rnentalism from time to time. For those of you who do strolling magic, you already know many of the situations that you can find yourself in when doing this type of work. You never can tell where a pair of eyes may be prying. Since angles can be a genuine consideration in strolling, nail writing automatically becomes a potential problem. There will be times when the angles are simply not good and you may have a problem covering yourself

By way of contrast, pocket writing is virtually angle-proof, especially when done close up. There's simply nothing to see. This is what drew me to this marvelous technique to begin with. The ability to do secret writing anytime, anywhere really appealed to me. And fortunately it also works just as well from the stage, as you will soon see.

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- a treatise 011 ific Mr' oj^Pocket cWniing -

Of course it should be pointed oui thai all of the various techniques have their own individual strengths and weaknesses. No one technique is a 'catch-all' and can do everything There are situations and effects where one particular technique will be your best choice over the others. That is why it is best to become proficient in all of the various tools and techniques that are available to you. 1 hope this book will be of some help for you in this regard


I have never seen this aspeel of pocket writing technique discussed anywhere. If this one attribute to successful pocket writing is not In place, I would venture to guess that you will have a very difficult time with it.

By attitude 1 mean simply the natural carriage of yourself to spend significant time with your hand buried in your pocket Not everyone can do this, For me it's perfectly natural. I spend half of my day with my hands in my pockets. It's a natural mannerism for me. 1 never think twice about it in any situation. 1 do it in normal eveiyday living as well ¿is on stage.

A big part of this, for me, is that fact that 1 am a somewhat casual kind of guy. I tend to dress casually, my speech patterns are generally quite informal and I don't feel compelled to have to have 'perfect etiquette' all the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rude or insensitive to others. I'm just a very casual and informal person

Since that is the c«se. there's never the slightest problem with me having one or both hands in my pockets. It's a part of me. Since I can have a hand in my pocket at any point during a perfonnance (forma) or casual), there's never any heat on it when 1 am actually pocket writing, If the only time you ever have a hand in your pocket is to do something, pockei writing or anything else for an effect, that simple action will become a 'moment' and become suspect.

For me, at least 98% of the time that 1 do have a hand in the pocket, it's not for an effect of any kind. It's simply a mannerism. Since I never give it a second thought, my audience never gives it a second thought.

So my suggestion to you is simple. Over the next few days, try to make a conscious effort to simply place your writing hand in your pocket., just in the natural course of everyday

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events. If this is not already natural for you, you will need to make if natural. Pocket writing will go much easier when you have this simple concept as a part of your being, Keep working on it until you actually catch yourseif with your hand in the pocket without realizing it. Then you will be well on your way to mastering this technique,


You would think this is an obvious point, but it needs to be stressed If there's not enough room for you to get your hand comfortably into your pocket (and to move it according to the needs of writing), how In the world are you going to do this??

I've done pocket writing in some mighty uncomfortable clothing situations. It can be done, but having clothing that is working against you won't help things any.

Obviously you must have enough room in your trousers pocket to move your hand easily, it also helps if there is enough actual cloth present so that it isn't skin tight as you do the writing. The bottom line here is looser is better. -----

Pleats in men's trousers have become a pocket writers best friend. Darker material also helps in many situations. So plan accordingly if you are going to be doing much pocket writing. Also consider the items in your other trouser pockets. Too much stuff can become a problem, even with looser tiousers

Right along these same lines, you must consider what other items wiil be in the pocket itself. As you will see, there are pocket writing desks (my own term) that can work in even the most crowded pockets. More on this later. Depending on what style desk you use, other items in the pocket can become an issue. We'll deal with that particular aspect more as we go along.

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Of course you can do pocket writing in other pockets besides the front trouser pocket. Simply make sure that there is enough room in that pocket and try to have as much natural cover (like the jacket discussed above) as you possibly can.

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What do you write on? Well, the answer is . ., anything! I use 2 1/2X3 inch file card stock in virtually all of my presentations. I can use any writing utensil at all and they all work well. It's a good size and lias a natural resilience to it. In other words, I'm not going to tear it or accidentally crumple it up. It works like a charm.

But other than that the sky is the limit Many of the early pocket writing miracles were written on cigarette paper and then balled up instead of folded. Check A1 Baker and John Riggs for thoughts along these lines. Playing cards can be written on, but relatively few utensils work well. Listo® lead or a Sharpie® are your best bet

John Riggs also mentions a fabulous idea for using a matchbook for an impromptu writing desk/surface combination. It's a tremendous idea and well worth checking out.

3X5 inch file cards can be used. I've worked a bit with these and, given the size of them, I always prefold. There's plenty of room to write. You can also use larger pieces of paper that have been folded leaving the strategic portions of the page exposed for writing. Vou can then fill in critical portions of the page while the rest of the paper has already been written on. Be sure to match writing styles as much as possible.

In short, just about anything can be used. Experiment with various writers before using anything too exotic for the writing surface. You always want your writing to be easily read and easy to do the writing.

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Por many, this is the crux of the matter. There are actually two parts to this discussion. One is the 'grip1 of the utensil. The other of course, deals with the utensils themselves. Both parts are equally important and we'll deal with both of them.

With the exception of a couple of writers that are physically worn on the fingertip, all of the following are gripped basi-

7 cally the same way. 1 use a triangular grip which uses the thumb and first two fingers. The writer is held at the fingertips with the writing tip pointing out from the fingertips. It sticks straight out i

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