Magic Stories but Small
MARCH 17, 2023


My new series of ideas and illusions


Dear Friend,

You are receiving this letter because, at some point in time, our paths crossed. 


This is a good and practical question to start with. And for now, let’s be practical, because soon we will be very far from all practical things. 

I was born in Los Angeles and I went to school in New York, but I spent most of my childhood in Yerevan, Armenia, which is where I live now. It is possible that our paths crossed in one of these cities. But there are other possibilities. 

I wrote a memoir called Family of Shadows (2010) and I read from its pages in many strange places to many good people. So we could have met at Borders on 59th Street, before it closed. Or in an underground printing press in Istanbul, before it was shut down. 

Was it film that brought us together? My first was called 1915 (2015). Did we happen to meet at a screening in Sydney or Marseille or Lake Van – at a festival that happened under threat of bombs? Or behind the scenes of a miraculous revolution in I Am Not Alone (2018)? Or on the backstages of a Serj Tankian and System of a Down concert in Truth to Power (2020)? Or on the frontlines of the Artsakh War in Invisible Republic (2022)? 

There is a good chance our paths crossed through Creative Armenia, the arts foundation I founded in 2017. If that’s the case, then we have a special bond indeed. We believe that imagination is more important than information. It is also more human.

Was it in dreams that we met? Or in the haze of our childhood – on a street called Terryhill, perhaps, or Charents? If the answer is yes, then you remember me from the days before I was writing or making films. You remember a shy and sensitive boy, always with a deck of cards in his sweaty hands. Maybe that boy showed you a magic trick – or confided that he was going to be the greatest magician of all time. 

I quit magic a long time ago. I moved on with my life and never looked back at that boy. I didn’t relate to him anymore. I was even ashamed of his cheap tricks. 

But more and more these days, I find myself looking back. On afternoon walks, I see the boy’s shadow hobbling behind me. At nights, he finds me in the mirrors of my mind. And we talk. 

I find that I’m smarter than the boy, but he is more interesting. I have experience, but he reflects back a powerful imagination. I talk the big talk of ideas, but he actually lives the life of dream and illusion. It turns out that I quite like that shy and courageous boy. It was only a matter of time, I guess, that we would begin to collaborate.

This is the introduction of Magic Stories, our new series of ideas and illusions. 

Every few weeks, you will receive a letter (the idea) that reflects a very personal memory or illustrates a big theory I’ve been wrestling with or pays tribute to a poem that I love. Then, at the conclusion of the letter, I will translate this idea into the language of magic – and share with you an original magic trick (the illusion). 

If you do not want to receive these magic stories, you may unsubscribe now. If you would like to learn more about my work – or continue pondering the possibilities of our crossing – you might visit my new website or follow my new social media pages (FB, IG, TW, and TK). There will also be announcements of new writings, films, and illusions in the coming months. 

If you do nothing, then you will receive a new letter in 3 days. It will be titled “Deja Vu,” and in it I will tell you my first magic story – but not necessarily for the first time. 



More Magic to Come

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