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A fingertip (same as a thumb tip only smaller) that has been cut down and has a piece of lead stuck through the tip is a good candidate as well, it would fit over the fingertip, is easy to load and unload and is very solid. You may want to experiment with this.

There are a couple reasons why the other standard writers just don't work too well for pocket writing. The main reason is that they all attach or stick to your finger or thumb in some way. Not a good situation when it comes time to either attach or dump the thing when you're done writing. A utensil that you simply hold is far (FAR) better for this. Pick it up to use it, drop it and you're done.

Storage -

Depending on what type of writer you are using, you may want to devise some kind of a holder that goes at the bottom of your pocket that would protect your clothing. It can also protect the tip of the writer itself Chalk and some types of pens are good candidates because of potential mess to your clothing. Usto® writers can have somewhat fragile tips and may break off if they are new and a bit too long.

There are other potential considerations as well. If there are other items in the pocket, having a container for your writers may make things less of a hassle. It would certainly help in locating them Unfortunately, due to space considerations in most pockets, the containers need to be somewhat small I have yet to see or devise one that you can reach into to ge! your writer. All of the containers I have experimented with need-to be turned over in the pocket to dump the writer out into the fingers.

I have used a 35rnm film canister with some success. A thumb tip works well and is a bit more workable than the 35mm canister. The thumb tip tends to lie in the corner of the pocket better without tipping over (and thus Tuining its intended purpose) due to its contour.

This is just something you'll have to decide for yourself. 1 have never felt the need for a container for my writers. I have experimented with them, but generally found them to be more trouble that they are worth. I thought 1 should mention them here to give you a head start should you decide to try their use. If you ever do find a container that is functional, easy to work, does what it is supposed to do and actually helps the access of the stored writers, let me know. I'd love to hear about it.

This is my own term for that backing of the slip in your pocket. It's the stiff surface that makes writing so much easier. If you have a slip of paper and nothing else in your pocket, you can still do pocket writing, but the odds of poking a hole in the paper, or the writing being just plain illegible go way up. Having a solid surface to back up the slip will save you a ton of

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hassles. There are a wide variety of these ranging front very simple to fairly elaborate (to downright exotic, as you will see}.

With all of these, the desk goes against youi lea and the writing surface is facing outward away from your leg They each have their own pros and cons. Ultimately you will have to decide which works best for you. Experiment with all of these. I'm sure you'll find it a useful exercise.

Here are just a few.

Probably the simplest is one that I first put into print in my 1996 book "Mobile Mental-ism" under the title 'What A Great Out!'. I've never seen it used by anyone before me, al-!hough I fail to see how I could have been the first to use it. Who knows? I've used all of the various desks about to be described and this is stili the one I use the most.

For most of my billet work,! use 3X5 files cards that have been cut in half, resulting in a slip that is 2 1/2X3 inches. Get a few packages of these 3 X 5's and take them to most any quick print place that has a paper guillotine. They can cut the whole tiling in one shot for less than a dollar. You'll have enough slips to last you awhile.

Take about 12-15 of these along with a vinyl coated paper dip. The vinyl coating is important. Stack the slips and clip them together at one of the short ends {see the diagram). The reason for the vinyl clip is that it actually grips the slips, not merely holding them together. This part is the desk.

Now slide another slip crossways under the clip. This is the slip you will write on. It will extend out from each side. This is important. Later, after you've done the writing and it's time to remove the slip, you can easily get it without any fumbling. It's readily accessible.

This whole unit sits loose in the pocket with the paper clip on the bottom. It has several advantages, It is very easy to replace if it ever gets lost or damaged and costs next to nothing. It also has built in refills. Simply remove a slip from the stack and place it crossways under the clip and you're ready to go again! Of course, with each refill, you loose

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a certain amount of the stiffness of the desk as well as the hold of the clip (see the next paragraph). You'll have to experiment to see how much you can do without restocking the desk.

The main disadvantage is that the only thing holding the slip is a single paperclip The vinyl really helps and 1 make sure that the clip is holding as tightly as possible. Still I've had times when I've gone to the pocket to find the slip floating loose. This makes things interesting real fast. This is especially a problem when refilling from the desk itself. I have experimented with using more than one paperclip. This does make the unit more solid, but also makes reset a bil more of a hassle, especially when used in strolling. (Note - see 'Repeat Action Desk" later in this section tor more on this). Experiment to find the balance that is right for you.

One more thought here. You can, of course, glue the loose slips that comprise this desk together into a solid block. A glue slick or rubber cement work like a charm for this. Just glue about a dozen slips together and press them under a heavy book overnight. When done, the desk will be literally stiff as a board. There are a couple of the desks that follow that use this type of construction.

This simply an extension of the basic desk which allows it to be off ihe bottom of your pocket, If you are going to have other materials in your pocket, this will keep the writing surface above those items, aiding in pocket management.

For this you will construct a basic desk, but first use a glue slick and glue all of the individual slips together as described above. Weigh them under a heavy book. This will create a solid block of the right size. You will also need a single piece of heavy cardboard. The backing off of a heavy steno pad is perfect. Cut it to about 5X2 1/2 inches. Of course you can also construct one using filecard stock cut to size and glued together just like the desk itself. Now tape the upper edge of the desk you created earlier to one narrow edge of the cardboard backing. This tape creates a hinge and allows the desk itself to hang down from the top of the cardboard backing.

You can now place two vinyl covered paper clips on the bottom end the desk proper. Two clips are necessary to keep the writing slip in place. You may also find that you need to tape the back side of the clips to the desk to keep them in place. The main thing is to keep the writing slip held solidly and not have it fall out of the desk. Slide a single slip crossways under the clips and place the whole thing in your pocket with the desk on top. This will elevate the desk anywhere from 2-4 inches off of the bottom floor of the pocket. It works exactly the same way as the basic desk described above.

Of course you can make this be at any height in the pocket simply by making the backing longer or shorter. Experiment to see what works best for you.

One other thing you may wish to experiment with in this model is the use of writing instrument holders. Since the entire front surface of the cardboard backing is exposed inside the pocket, you could easily construct small pockets of sorts, perhaps using elastic ribbon, which would hold pencils stubs or other writing utensils. This would keep them accessible and available without mixing with anything else that may be along the bottom of the pocket. Just a thought.

This is simply another way to make an elevated desk, similar to that just described.

For this desk, you will need to construct a basic desk that has been glued into a solid block as described in die basic desk description earlier Now get two tongue depressors and glue one end of each of them to the back of the desk, with the sticks both sticking out the same direction. These sticks serve the same purpose as the exten^on just described in the elevated basic desk. They just hold the desk up higher in the pocket and they can be cut to any height desired.

The big advantage to this design is the fact that there will be even less material along the bottom of the pocket to clutter things up. If you have many other items in the pocket, this becomes an issue. Try this out. It looks silly, but works like a charm.

The desk used by A1 Baker in 'Chicken Feed' from 'A1 Bakers Mental Magic" is a classic. Get a rectangular piece of plastic (or whatever material works for you) about 2 1/2x3 inches or so. Attach safety pins to the top narrow ends using cloth tape and pin the desk in place in the trouser pocket. A clip is used to hold the slip in place on the desk.

This desk has the advantage of being off ihe bottom of the pocket as well as being completely stationary. This is good if there are to be other items in the pocket. They can resi

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along the bottom of the pocket and won't clutter up the pocket writing desk. Plus since it is stationary, it's less like trying to hit a moving target. Another plus is that the hand doing the writing does not need to completely enter the pocket to do the writing. It is a bit more natural looking for many people to only have the hand in the pocket up to just past the knuckles as opposed to clear up to the wrist. It's partially a matter of personal preference, but certainly an issue you should consider. "Note* The 'Elevated Baste Desk', both versions (see above) also accomplish this same purpose.

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Another tremendous idea along these same lines comes from my buddy Joe Curcillo. Joe takes the plastic plaque from a well known mentalist's marketed effect which happens to be the perfect size and shape {effect to remain nameless) and has permanently attached the hook side of Velcro® to the four comers. Correspondingly, he has permanently attached the fuzzy side to the inside of the pocket in every pair of trousers he wears. Attaching the desk is the work of a couple of seconds and he can be ready to go. Likewise, removing the desk is a snap! Simply add an appropriate clip or two to hold the slips and all is ready.

This desk was created after reading about Banachek's 'Nifty' business card holder as described in John Riggs' book. It allows me to do several perfonnances involving pocket writing in succession without having any reseL As such, this is a perfect walk-around device and that is the main time that I use it.

To construct this I use (surprise!) 3X5 inch filecard stock. That stuff is so good for so many tilings! Cut a stack of 3 X 5's to 3 X 4 inches. Make about a dozen or so. Glue them all together with a glue stick and press the glued stack under a heavy book over night When you're done it will be like a solid board.

By the way (and I've mentioned this in one of my other books), the technique 1 just described is a wonderful way of making just about any size or shape flat surfacc object. It can be made to any thickness and put together in atiy way you may need. Plus it quite literally is as solid as a piece of wood. Keep it in mind!

Now you've got your 3X4 inch board You'll need to construct a shelf of sorts. To do this, I have made a solid stack of 1 1/2X3 inch filecards glued together. Again, about a dozen will do. These get glued and pressed just like the others. Once they are stiff, use a razor blade or Exacto® knife and a metal edged ruler and cut 1/4 inch off of one of the long sides. This side should be as close to completely square (meaning flat or at 90 degrees) as possible. This entire unit is glued to the end of the 3 X 4 piece,

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