The Three Jewels: A Modern Myth

A mystical parable about life, death, rebirth, and what it means to usher in new worlds in the wake of apocalyptic loss and destruction.

About the Book

Young, curious, and full of wonder, she innocently breaks her community's taboo separating the world of the living from the world of the dead. Banished, she is cursed to wander a desolate hellscape where, confronted by unfriendly terrain and unsettled souls, she creates her own armor of self-protection. Her journey finally reveals light and hope when prophetic guides show her that beauty can still exist, if only she can break through the barriers of fear and disillusionment. Will she have the courage to follow an unknown promise of possibility and pull back the veil of an old, decrepit world to reveal a rebirth? Meditative and otherworldly, accompanied by haunting illustrations from pioneering theater artist Slobodan Dan Paich, The Three Jewels takes the reader through a liminal realm in which imagination has the power to usher in new, life-affirming paradigms.


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The Story Behind The Three Jewels

I wrote this diminutive apocalyptic fable in honor of my dear late friend, Slobodan Dan Paich, the visionary founder of Artship Initiatives and a deeply devoted connoisseur of the arts who mentored and supported countless emerging and experienced artists in bringing their voices and ideas alive.
The Three Jewels was a labor of love that arose from a creative dialogue between me and Slobodan, as we worked together over the course of a month back in 2012. Slobodan led me through a spontaneous improvisatory process that helped me to set aside my intellectual prejudices and the limitations of the discursive, rational mind—all so that I could immerse myself in a dreamlike state that activated rarely visited corners of my imagination. Together, through movement and storytelling, we played and danced and courted synchronicities. From the fog of my consciousness, a series of surprisingly well-defined characters made themselves known—almost as if they’d sprung, autochthonous, from the earth, or the invisible hinterlands of the place where the act of creation was happening: San Francisco. 
Although our work together didn’t result in a full-blown theatrical production, as we’d originally hoped for, Slobodan inspired me to write from the most guttural, nonlinear, and magical parts of my being. The process of writing The Three Jewels was highly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced—not just because I was developing a story that was atmospheric rather than plot-driven, but because I felt like I was being written in the process. In fact, I often describe The Three Jewels as being my personal guiding myth, particularly with respect to some of the themes it covers—from the courage it takes to radically break from conformity, to the importance of generating new “gods” and foundational stories for the emergence of cultures and societies that honor every single one of us.
While I tend to be a rapid writer and to sit down for hours at a stretch when I’m in the midst of a creative project, it took me several months to complete The Three Jewels, which is only about 11,000 words long. There was no plot, no plan, no outline. I was working from the vivid memory of the tantalizing figures I’d encountered during my work with Slobodan. I would simply write a sentence or short paragraph at a time, creating what I hoped would prove to be discernible shapes from the images that wafted into and out of my mind. I did this with patience and faith—neither editing myself nor attempting to impose a structure on this shapeshifting work of art. 
Although Slobodan was able to see the story in full before I made the decision to share it more publicly, he unfortunately did not live to see its publication. Slobodan passed away in November of 2022, when the book was still in the midst of the design process. In many ways, Slobodan’s death makes the emergence of The Three Jewels into the world for wider consumption even more poignant. It is as much a part of him as it is a part of me. 
Slobodan embodied the heart of the mystic and the artist, and I’d like to think that something of his spirit survives in my story. The Three Jewels is dedicated to our friendship and my memory of how he stewarded me through the vague and ephemeral creative process that would birth my guiding personal myth.
My desire is that The Three Jewels nourish and support you, dear reader, as you alchemize your life into your art and “write” your own story into existence so that it can be of benefit to all beings.
May this book be
for you
a sparrow song
a kiss in color
a flesh stroke to see us
through the exacting emergence of a mystical sight
that gives rise to
new words
new worlds
and the sacred transformation
that the times we live in
are calling us toward

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