I keep a pack of playing cards with me whenever I leave the house.
It’s been something I’ve done since I was introduced to the works of Dai Vernon, S.W. Erdnase, and Daniel Madison.
I keep a vial of Gambler’s Daub in my briefcase.
When I get stuck, I turn to the cards. I practice palm shifts, cop moves, pressure moves, Tenkai palms, and diagonal shifts.
The cards don’t judge. The cards don’t tell me that I’m a bad person. The cards don’t place a value judgement on who I am as a person. They just sit there for my manipulation and allow me the chance to create something extraordinary without thinking.
I’ve seen people ask others “how do you get out of your head?” For me, it’s the cards. It will always be the cards, Hughart, Erdnase, Madison, and more who teach the knacky sleight-of-hand routines.
It makes me feel like Gambit, in a sense, the Louisiana X-Man who always throws cards that can explode when he uses his mutant powers of kinetic discharge.
The best are the sleights that require you to practice. You can sit there for hours at a table and learn something about your hands. You can see muscles develop in places you didn’t know you had. Grip training? Try a pressure steal and see how well you get musculature in your hands beyond that a trainer’s ball will give you.
There’s this guy, Lennart Green, who devoted his life to card magic and otherwise. He’s got two moves that are crazy specific called the “snap deal” and the “top shot” that require a mastery of sound, musculature, and deception. I don’t think I’ll ever quite get either down, but I sure will do my best to master both.
Green was a rocket scientist and a mathematician, and he found comfort in a pack of playing cards.
I’m a lawyer turned writer, and I find comfort in a pack of playing cards.
I own more playing cards than I care to admit. A guy I know just started selling his collection and I managed to snag four packs designed by David Blaine for about $50. That’s a steal.
Right now I’m holding a packet of Madison Revolvers. They’re the best constructed I’ve seen that aren’t marked. Those would be the Kings, and I keep two packs of those around. My current favorite are the Inverted Kings, because they are black and different, and I love the feel of the card stock.
I learned that you can create as well as destroy 52 assistants depending on how well you treat them or how much you abuse them. It’s all a matter of love and handling.
Despite “card tricks,” there’s a subset called “cardistry,” where you just learn cool moves for the sake of learning them and perform them with a deck of cards. I’ve got two DVD’s worth of the subject and still have yet to master some of the easiest methods. Never really devoted the time to it, as I’m usually focused on reading or otherwise.
The cards don’t care. They’re always there, waiting, in their respective boxes and cases, waiting for me to pick them up again, for the sake of meditative exercises.
I’ll set them down soon. I have other projects to work on, other books to read, and other things to work with on my time. I have a consultation now with someone I wanted to speak with for a long time, someone who is really a great fit for a project I want to work on.
But when I come back, the cards will always be there.