Hearing a favorite song often calls forth other related memories. A tune may remind you of a high school dance, a particular friend, or a vacation spot.
Reading a magic book can do that to you too. I recently had the good fortune to read an advance copy of The Essential Sol Stone, and found myself whisked away to my teenage years in the mid-1980s. It was an emotional experience. My best friend at the time was the late Mark Sicher, a young and exceptionally talented New York magician. Together we visited Reubens delicatessen on Madison and 38th Street, the designated meeting spot for magicians every Saturday afternoon.
The undisputed center of attention each week was Harry Lorayne. Harry was there to both give and to take at the time he was soliciting the local guys for material to publish in Apocalypse, but in turn giving full performances of his inimitable card magic. He was amazing, and I learned a lot from watching him riff and interact with the crowd. Seeing Harry bring his published routines to life was like a magic classroom for me.
Off to another side of Reubens there was a quieter corner, occupied by a subtle man who also served as a mentor to me. That man was Sol Stone.
Mark Sicher had taught me some of Sols coin magic, but it looked even better in the creators hands. Sols coin vanishes, glass penetration, his linking links, and his backclip vanishes were moves that looked thoroughly magical. His touch with coins was soft and light and his delivery and engagement was warm and inviting.
Im happy to say that all of the material I learned from Sol Stone over the many years visiting Reubens is included in The Essential Sol Stone. Im even happier that Sol is alive to see his work collected in this magnum opus. Sleight of hand magicians who missed out on private sessions with him can learn from his lifetime of creativity and experience. Its all in the book. The only thing missing is the calm, gentle voice and the soft pat on your arm that Sol used to invite you in closer, to witness his very magical routines.