Introduction

As I sit down to write this, it has been almost three years since the release of Beyond Deception, Vol. 1.  The response to that volume was greater than I had ever imagined it would be, with the first printing of 2,000 now completely sold out.  Thanks to all of you who purchased it!

What’s more, the critical response, both from the reviewers in magazines and on the web and from readers who have reached out to me by e-mail, Facebook and various other means, has been gratifying. Again, thank you.  It is that response which leads me to the current volume.  Although it has been several years since I actually released a book, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing!

Soon after Volume 1 was released, we embarked on a fairly ambitious project at Jeff McBride’s Magic & Mystery School.  We started “Mystery School Mondays,” a streaming broadcast which has gone out live each Monday evening on our own channel on the internet (www.mcbridemagic.tv). Each week, I have contributed a piece entitled The Wizard’s Corner.  Most of what follows this introduction first appeared as the text of those Wizard’s Corner video pieces.  They have been re-edited and I’ve expanded most of them, so the book is by no means a verbatim transcription of the videos, but that’s where it all began.

As part of the experience of having to write and produce a 5 minute video segment each week, I made an interesting discovery.  We had a list of subjects we worked from each week, just so each episode could have a basic theme running through it. Sometimes the subjects assigned were things I knew a lot about and writing five minutes was easy. Other times, though, the subjects seemed quite outside my purview. They were things which, at first reflection, I seemed to know nothing about, or could be interpreted in several different ways.  Nevertheless, each week, after a bit of thought, I was able to come up with an interesting piece—or at least one that interested me. I found myself exploring different ways of thinking about magic, different ways of generating material— the assignments helped me stretch my own comfort zone.

Thus, I discovered the power of having an assignment to spark my own creativity. It works. And this book is the result. I hope it will inspire you, as the writing of it has inspired me.