Entering the Unknown


When I was nineteen, I hopped a Yugoslavian freighter, and jumped ship in Casa Blanca for no other reason than it sounded like a romantic and adventurous way to get across the Atlantic. I didn’t have any idea about where the journey would end up taking me.

Months later while I was travelling in Europe, my older sister was back in the States studying with Joseph Campbell at Sarah Lawrence College. I wrote to her telling her that I was becoming interested in Indian philosophy. She was excited about her professor’s work, and on a hunch she sent me a copy of Campbell’s book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

When I began reading the book, I remember feeling that I couldn’t put it down. What intrigued me the most was the universality of the monomyth, which stated that there was a journey to wholeness—this was a complete revelation to me. For the first time, I felt that my life could make sense. Joseph Campbell’s words reached me in a way that nothing else had before.

Whether it was fate, or serendipitous, later that year I was introduced to Jiddu Krishnamurti; who recommended that I travel to India to study yoga with his teacher, and visit schools based on his teachings.  I had a meeting with Krishnamurti on the banks of the Ganges, and was so sensitized that after our encounter, I couldn’t bear to step on the grass along the trail.

For the next seven years, I immersed myself in yoga practice, and the study of Eastern philosophy. The exposure to the work of Joseph Campbell initiated my lifelong interest in mythology. When I returned to the United States, I taught yoga, and eventually started a business, allowing me to retire before I turned forty.

Early retirement made it possible for me to return to the study of human consciousness and mythology. After turning my attention to archetypal psychology, my wife Olivia and I started a life coaching practice, and we’ve been working with individuals and couples for the past twenty years.

Four years ago, at a critical juncture in our life, we got away as a family and were staying in an old cabin in northern California. One afternoon, we were sitting outside on a picnic bench, near a winding mountain stream, about a foot wide. We were all talking, looking for solutions to help us feel better, turn things around, and take steps in a new direction. At some point the idea to write a fantasy book series came to us as a group. The idea felt so right and energized us, providing a renewed sense of purpose. Olivia has always been interested in faery tales, and for the past thirty-five years, we’ve gone to nearly all of the fantasy and sci-fi movies, discussing what we liked or didn’t like.  Jonah, too, has had a long interest in the fantasy genre as well as screenwriting.  And, with my interests in mythology and human consciousness—it all started to come together. We went home with a plan.

By the time our first book comes out, we will have been at this for five years. We try to have a creative meeting every day, seven days a week. The first year all we did was to show up in our spare time to create the elven and faery worlds, including their cultures. For the second year, all we did was write the story, including the characters and the plot, envisioning all six books, and especially the first four. Mythic blasts of energy kept coming in, tying everything together, which was quite amazing and interesting for us. We kept getting idea after idea after idea. The blasts kept us going. Then, for six months, we staged the first book.

After two and a half years, we began the actual writing. Then, our editor did his work and we also got a wonderful artist on board, who did the book cover, map, and first characters. In September we’re launching our long-awaited Indiegogo campaign, a milestone event on our journey, to help cover costs associated with publishing a book.

It’s hard to imagine what my life would have been like had I not discovered Joseph Campbell’s teachings when I did. I guess you could say it’s a classic finding yourself story, going beyond the confines of one’s background, entering the unknown, and coming back with the prize.

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jrosestone@gmail.comEntering the Unknown