Saturday, August 29, 2015

Tosh Berman Interview with 3: AM Magazine

An interview I did on the 3:AM Magazine website.  Pretty extensive.  With my publisher Rebekah Weikel (Penny-ante editions) 

The Sunday Series: Sunday August 30, 2015 - Izu Ōshima, Tokyo, Japan

The Sunday Series
Sunday, August 30, 2015 (Izu Ōshima, Tokyo, Japan)

I began to write my own obituary, because I don’t feel I will make it off this island.  The fact that the local (and prominent volcano) Mount Mihara is fully active and ready to blow at a second’s notice, and on top of that, there is a major earthquake fault underneath the island.  Every where I go on this island I’m reminded of death.  On a walk, I came upon a monument and a little shrine that announced a plane crash that took place here which killed 30 people.   In another walk, there was another shrine that honored the 35 people who were victims of a mudslide due to the typhoon that hit the island three years ago.   And just before we arrived here, a plane went down and crashed into a house, killing the occupant, who by chance, just moved into the house.  The volcano itself, attracted hundreds to commit suicide by jumping into the lava filled crater.  The cruel joke is that one wished to be swallowed by the earth, but in fact, when you jump in, lava keeps you floating and you just burn to death by the steam coming out of your body.  Death here is no joke.

So, if you look at this statistically, I have a 50/50 chance of making it alive from Ōshima.  To be on the safe side, and concerned about not having the last word on my life, and not having the time to finish off the full memoir called “Tosh’s Unfortunate Life,” I decided to, at the very least, to write my own obituary.   Here it is:

Tosh Berman (August 25, 1954 - Sunday August 30, 2015)

Born in Los Angeles and died in Izu Ōshima, Tokyo, Japan

“Tosh Berman was a writer, poet, publisher, and gentleman.  The son of Wallace Berman and Shirley Berman.  He went to school, but the school denied that he was ever a student.   Nevertheless he never let a locked door stop him from getting a full education.   In school, Tosh had a deep interest in whatever was happening outside the classroom.  This leads him to fail Kindergarten, and he had to take that class twice.  By the second time, he realized that the school world wasn’t made for his liking.   At eleven years old, he wrote his own book of poetry “My Life, My World, My Everything” that was published in an edition of one on a notebook that his parents gave him.   Due that the hand-printed manuscript was extremely hard to read, the author is the only one to actually read the book of poems.  Even with that, Tosh gave the book a superb blurb in the back of the notebook: “Poetry is real, and this is the real deal” - Tosh Berman, Poet (author of “My Life, My World, My Everything.”)

As a teenager it could be thought of that he discovered girls, but the fact is, girls discovered Tosh.  They found him peeking through various keyholes and windows in selective residences where pretty teenage girls were found to be residing.   Being caught on a regular basis, Tosh learned to use language as not only as a tool, but also a weapon.  The girls became wary of him when he claimed he was looking for his glasses in various suspicious locations.    By the age of seventeen, he was lead tambourine player for the band “Knock Knock Who’s There.” They were the no. 1 band at Louisville High School in Woodland Hills and had a sizable female audience, due to the fact that it was an all-girl school.   Tosh became a fixture at this educational institution, and his one goal in his life at the time, was to become a janitor at the school.  Fate had other plans for him, for instance, he was kicked out of the band due to his reckless dancing, and insisting on having a microphone on stage, which in fact, he didn’t sing at all.

Tosh, it was reported, was a very bitter young man.   He seemed to drink only liquids that had a tang taste, and usually had a puckered gesture around the mouth area.   That look was quite iconic on him, and eventually many people imitated his look by holding their puckered lips together.  Since then, Tosh started to have a following - mostly guys who couldn’t function in the world, and were often called dreamers by the local High School football team.  Tosh was known for his militant “no exercise” stance, that he kept up till his death.   He deeply felt that one should read a book instead of doing exercise.  Or if one needs to do for exercise, they can clearly do so by reaching for a book on the top shelf, or do deep knee bends, when the book is located on the bottom shelf of the bookcase.


It was only at the age of 21, Tosh decided to get a job, due that the parents refused to feed him till he found occupation.  He went to the first record store, and got the job there, when he could name every member of Freddie and the Dreamers (Roy Crewdson on guitar, Derek Quinn on guitar and harmonica, Peter Birell bass, Bernie Dwyer drums and of course, Freddie Garrity on lead vocals and lead dancing).  Tosh was profoundly moved when he read a quote from Freddie saying “The Dreamers and I have always been daft.  You couldn’t call me a sex-idol, could you?  Collectively, we’re no glamour boys.”

Tosh worked at a record store on Sherman Way in Reseda from the beginning of March 1975 to the end of March 1975.  He often commented on the enjoyment of various porn actresses who worked as a stripper on the side, would come in to get music for their act.  Tosh showed choreographed talents when he recommended the would-be strippers on how to do some of the movements.  He was eventually let-go of the job due to his naturally suggestive sexual movements while working at the store.  Customers and the fine-looking women who worked with him didn’t complain, but the city council of Reseda took notice, and requested that he be removed from the job.  Normally something like this would discourage Tosh’s love of music, but alas, it only became stronger, when he devoted his life to various punk rock clubs around Los Angeles.

It was at this time, he became a professional friend to bands such as DEVO and The Weirdos.  He would make sure the right drinks were in the right glasses, and kept the bands safe from the Los Angeles Police Department as well as the over-zealous female fans.   He would often read poetry out-loud in the dressing rooms to calm the musicians’ nerves before hitting the stage.  It has been noted that DEVO’s Mark Mothersbaugh would request Tosh to read Frank O’Hara’s poem about drinking a coke.  To add to the effect, Tosh would serve Mark a glass of Coke as he read the poem to him. Tosh realized that this wasn’t a good career move, due that there’s no payment in what he was doing, so he decided to devote himself to the business world of making and writing poetry.   Here he made his fame and fortune.

Tosh as an adventurer (both sexually as well as a world traveler) became an obsessed collector of rare petrified mummies that were caught in the lava flow of various volcano eruptions.  His obsession with Mount Mihara, on the island of Oshima, one of the seven Izu islands off of, but still part of Japan, had an active volcano.   In fact, a girl he was dating with at the time, Kiyoko Matsumoto, jumped into the flames of Mihara, when he refused to take her out for shaved ice near the black beaches on the island.  She survived the suicide attempt, even though she did lose some inches in height wise.

Tosh settled down in the town of Moji-Ko, and married a girl from the area.  Here, he found a publisher, Cole Swift & Sons, who had offices not only in Moji-Ko, but also in Bombay, London, and Paris.  With them, he produced his first book of poems “The Plum in Mr. Blum’s Pudding.” The entire book was written in Moji-Ko, with a broken typewriter that couldn’t type the letter “E” due to the malfunction of the typewriter. It became the first book of poetry that doesn’t use the capital letter “E” nor a small “e.” This of course, caused a great deal of controversy in the Poetry World.  For a little awhile it was banned in all countries that have a letter E in their country’s name.  The scandal even touched Tosh personally, when for about a month or two he was known as “Tosh Brman.” (The “e” was removed from his last name).

Banned from writing poetry and told to be kept away from all workable typewriters, Tosh decided to start up a press TamTam Books, that focused on post-war French writing.  At the time, he started this press, no one was interested in the writer Boris Vian, so, he devoted his finances and time to promote the works of Vian. Not surprisingly, no one was interested in Boris Vian when he closed his press.   Therefore it was a major disappointment for him when he got turned down the highest French medal of honor, but also he couldn’t get a visa to visit France.   In fact, he became banned in France.  With that in mind, Tosh wrote his last book “Sparks-Tastic” that became an instant classic for the Kindle set.   It seemed that Kindle would malfunction whenever it tried to download the non-fictional work.  With a string of failures in his background and clearly, nothing was going to happen in his future, Tosh decided to move to Izu Ōshima, where he became a manager of the Innomaru House, an inn and a house of loose women who served not only the local population but also customers from the mainland.   It was here when he….”

This is where I had to finish off the obituary, because at this time, I’m not sure what or how my “ending” will happen.  Fate often knocks on my door, and it is that fateful moment where I either go with the wind, or against it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mount Mihara Part 1 (Travel Journal)

This late morning we all ended up in the car and headed towards Mount Mihara.   It’s an active volcano located right in the center of Izu Oshima, an island that is two hours (by speed ferry) from Tokyo.  Driving on the island cannot possibly be the easiest thing to do.  There is just the main road that goes completely around the island, and not one part of the highway that is straight. It is nothing but curves and sharp turns throughout the endless street.  If you drive completely around, it will take an hour.  I believe the entire milage of the circle is 35 miles.   To get to the volcano from the Haru Elementary School, where we are all working and staying for the Art Islands in TOKYO art festival - takes about 30 minutes. The one street that leads us to a dead end, so we can park and walk to the mountain, can only fit one car.   Yet, on this curvy road, it’s a two-way street.  One can’t see what is around the bend, and usually you come upon a car head-on.  So, one has to drive very slowly, and sort of hope that no one will hit you.  As for me, I hold my breath till we get to the point when we can pull over.

We then walk through a very lush and green pathway that takes us to the desert that is nick-named "Pluto."   The substance on the ground is fine black sand, with an occasional black rock.   The immense space on the top of the mountain makes the island, down below, looks small for some odd reason.  I did not feel that we came from down there, because "there" looks totally different when you're looking above the landscape. What I saw ahead of me was an endless black landscape that gave everything a shade of gray.   Also, I noticed that there was no evidence of life, except for us tourists.   No birds.   No insects.   No plant life.  Just black rock and earth.   There was also a strong wind that made me feel like I would be dragged to the bottom of the hill.  I suffer as a result of vertigo, and suddenly I couldn't take another step in front of me. I felt if the volcano itself was dragging me into its entrance of no return.

I went back to the car by myself, and wrote this short travel journal.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Sunday Series: Sunday August 23, 2015 (Izu Oshima Island, Tokyo, Japan)

The Sunday Series:
Sunday August 23, 2015

Izu Oshima, Tokyo, Japan

Every Sunday, here at the Haru Elementary School, my duties are to sweep the floors and clean up the bathrooms.  I’m here as an artist to take part in an arts festival that is taking place later next month.  From August to the end of September, the festival takes over the elementary school as their gallery and office space.  The school itself became something of the past, in 2009.   Being here now, it is like the entire population of students and their teachers made a run for it, and just left everything in the classrooms intact.  When I first walked in the door last week, it was an eerie feeling of a presence of not one, but many individuals who threw themselves from one classroom to another.  The school itself was under construction by the noted Japanese architect Takamasa Yoshizaka, who once worked as an assistant to Le Corbusier in Paris.  In fact, he translated Le Corbusier’s writings from French to Japanese.  Although I’m totally not sure about this, but I suspect that he designed this school sometime in the early 1960s.   On the property is an Olympic sized drained swimming pool and a baseball field - both are covered by natural growth with an occasional poisoned snake here and there. 

In the principal's office, where I do my daily writing, I’m surrounded by images of past awards, trophies, and various class photographs over the years.   The one thing that becomes clear from looking at the photographs is that teachers start multiplying faster than the students.   Youth, over time, eventually moved to the main land, more likely to Tokyo, and left the island behind.  I can’t speak for the property, but this structure has only been in existence for forty years or so.  Yet it’s a building from the past, and left to rot.  Artists, like rats, need space to do their art, so at the moment it’s a happy relationship between the recent past and the ‘now. ' Still, I feel a great deal of sadness seeing rows of trophies that no longer have any meaning for anyone.   At the time, there must have been great happiness, and nothing but a great future to look forward to.  But life had other plans, and what’s important then is now not-so-important anymore.  

There are a series of photographs on the wall of various teachers who once taught here - and I imagine now, most are dead.  The same for students.  How many of these serious looking faces are alive now?  Even the baseball diamond and the swimming pool are dead.  It’s summertime and all I can smell is death.   The sliding windows on both sides of me are open, and the mosquitos, dragon flies, and an occasional lizard crawls or flies in to bite or harass me.  I wear insect repellent like it is cheap perfume and I want to hide the smell of my decay.  

As I was writing late one night, I felt a presence near me, and I turned around and it was an older gentleman.  I just presume that he was one of the artists here - so many come and go on a daily basis.  The odd thing is he sat behind the table that was once the principal’s desk.  He just sat there looking at me, with no emotion on his face.  He was dressed in a suit and tie, which is an odd outfit for an artist here, and especially in the wet hot weather   of August. It was strange, but then again I’m in a foreign part of the world, and therefore I don’t try to read one’s face, or clothing, especially since I don’t know the language or the customs of those who are from here.  One distinctive thing I notice is that when I saw him, the temperature changed and it became slightly cooler.  If he’s the reason to make the room more comfortable, then I’m perfectly ok with him being here.  And since this is an open studio for artists, it is common for them to come and go as they please. 

The room got warmer all of sudden, and I turned around and he wasn’t sitting at the desk, nor anywhere in the room.  He left.  Oddly I didn’t hear him leave the room.  But since I was totally involved in my writing, I really didn’t think too much about it.  When I finished my work and turned off the computer, I went to the hallway, and I saw the older gentleman slowly walking down towards the other rooms and making a left turn to one of the classrooms. Since I was going in the same direction, I went by the classroom expecting to see him there, but alas, he wasn’t there.  I of course, walked past the classroom again, but I slowly went back and forth in front of the room just to make sure he wasn’t there.  Nothing.  I entered and I did notice that it was cooler in this room than the hallway - which was odd, because all the windows were open in the hall. 

One shouldn’t do this, but I had some hot sake while taking a bath.  It’s dangerous because you can pass out due to the combination of the heat of the bath, the temperature outside, as well as the alcohol.  When I got out of the bath, while drying myself, I heard a noise outside.  I put my clothes on and walked towards the noise, which was coming from the hallway.   From the hallway, I could see a light in my office.  The sound, which was like one or maybe two people walking with the faint sound of a conversation.  It could be one of the other artists here, but I think not, because it was late, and everyone usually is asleep by now.  I walk towards the office slowly.  I wasn’t that fearful it was a burglar - my first thought it was an animal of some sort. Due that in the heat I keep the windows open in the office just to hopefully keep the air circulating.   As I slowly approached the entrance I stuck my head inside the doorway.

What I saw on the desk was a girl in what I think was wearing a Japanese student uniform - maybe 15 or 16, laying on the top, with her skirt above her panties.  I immediately turned away.    I then put my head through the doorway, and this time, she was looking directly at me.  No emotion in her face.  Just laying there.  As if waiting for me.  But also at the same time, I felt her gaze was really looking at nothing.  I felt panicked, but I didn’t want to make any harsh or sudden movement.  When I look towards the desk again, I didn’t see her.   Nor was there any sign of her in the room.   I stayed there for ten minutes doing nothing. I then turned the lights off and stood in the dark for a minute or so.  Nothing.  Unlike the last time I saw the old man at the desk, the temperature didn’t seem to change.  I was trying to logically figure all of this out.   There is nothing to figure out. 

It was a few days later, while looking at the wall while focusing on my writing, that I come upon her.  She is one of many in a classroom photo, taken outside my (the Principal’s) window.  She is sitting down in the front row, near the Principal.  What happened to them, or why, I don’t know.  Or perhaps it is just my imagination over-reacting due to stress, the heat, and being thrown into another culture.  Nevertheless I walk gently into every room in this school, not knowing what is around the corner.  

Izu Oshima, Japan

At the moment I'm in Japan, mostly staying on an island called Izu Oshima.   Lun*na Menoh is participating in the 5th International Contemporary Art Exhibition: Art Islands in Tokyo 2015.  As for me, I'm writing a new book which will be about the island as well as the rest of Japan.  The structure where we work is the Habu Elementary School, which was abandoned in 2009.  Since then, the arts festival, for their summer event,  have taken over the premise for the last five years.  It's a beautiful mid-century building designed by Takamasa Yoshizaka.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Sunday Series: Sunday August 16, 2015 (Tokyo)

The Sunday Series:

Sunday August 16, 2015

When you look upon the stars as you lay on a Shibuya pavement, it is not the star that you’re looking at, but a projection of a star on a tall building looking over the Shibuya crossing.  If one is to fall on a street, it is best that you do it here, because everyone is polite enough not to step on you.   So without that reflection, I’m happy to lie on my back and watch the projection, that is very much my life, taking place on the oversized screen.   I felt a kick on my side, and I looked up towards her direction.  It was Aki who by chance just came upon me.  She took my arm to pick me up, and she dusted my shoulders and butt, and told me to follow her.

We went to a Doutor coffee shop that is two or three buildings from Tower Records.  It’s a good meeting place because one, it’s huge, and two, pleasantly bland.  I, for one, like a space that doesn’t have too much of an identity.  When I write or think, I like to be in an environment or landscape that is totally neutral.  Doutor Coffee fits all the requirements for me to focus on empty space, and with my imagination, I can feel every inch of that space to my liking.   Even on such a Sunday evening, the coffee shop is full of people quietly chatting or students working on their schoolwork.  When I come in with a pen and a notebook, I pretty much fit in this world of total bliss.   Of course, as others are doing English sentence diagrams. I’m trying to find some form of structure for me just to exist in.

Once you get in Doutor, you have to find a table as soon as possible.  It is very difficult to find seating in a coffee shop in Tokyo, especially in the afternoon and early evening.   Locate space and place your belongs on the seat and table itself.  Then back to the counter to order your coffee.  No one steals anything in Tokyo, at least go through one’s bag or purse.  Well, it's possible that it can happen, but it doesn’t happen that often in Japan.   We brought our coffees to the table, which was about six feet away from the smoking section, which is an open room.  When you look at their section, you can’t see a figure, just large bellowing white smoke.  Once in a while you see an arm or head poking out of the smoke, but then within seconds it disappears into the tobacco mist.

Tokyo is such a formatted city.  One can only fit in, and it’s very difficult town if you chose to embrace the system, yet remain apart from it.  It is best to be like me - never learn the language and allow yourself to be thrown into one situation after another.  A typhoon can come, and like the powerful wind, one is picked up and placed in another landscape.  It is very much like Buster Keaton in his film “Sherlock Junior.” Except it’s Tosh Junior, and the location is Shibuya Tokyo.

Among other things I have been suffering from jet-lag, which makes it impossible for me to focus on things on hand.   As I talk to Aki, I notice that her mouth was moving and I was responding to what she is saying, but I haven’t the foggiest idea what she is actually commenting on.  I wish I could quote her, but the sound coming out of her mouth is just that - vowels without meaning.  She may have been speaking to me in Japanese.  A language I don’t know, but I pretend to know in dicey situations.   Such as this one.  I then become aware that she may know that I’m missing the bouncing ball here, and that makes me panic, but I hide it well with my acting ability to look interested through my eyes and hand gestures.  But as I look at her, I can feel my eyes crossing, and I now wonder if she notices.  She then asks me if I’m feeling OK?  Shit.

What I would do now to be able to go back to the Shibuya crossing, and lay myself on the ground and just let the neon lights bath me with its rays.  Even in the hum of people talking in the cafe, I can hear the cicadas in the air, as if pulling me outside.  The temperature is around 90, and the humidity is high as well.  The whole city is like being in a kitchen with the oven fully on.  The heat is intense, and I feel embarrassed that my hands are sweaty as well as my wrists.  When I place them on the table, it seems I leave a pool of water, and I quickly swipe the moisture off the coffee table.

I ask her if it’s ok if we go to a record store - someplace like Reco-Fan.  I want to escape the heat, but I also don’t want to have a conversation.  I just want to move among the vinyl bins and if we need to chat, we can do it there.  The record store is about three blocks in a large building, which name I totally forgot, but that’s OK, because Tokyo is just visual to me.  I never think of a language when looking for a structure or place in the city.  It is always the shape of the building that stands out, or if it's near another shop.  I often miss the building by walking right by it, and I try to imagine how I could do such a thing?    Reck-Fan is on the 4th floor, so we got into the elevator.  The door opens to a paradise, and even in my weak state, I have a smile on my face.   Right away I found two albums that I have been searching for eons: One is “We Want Billy” which is a live recoding with Billy Fury in the early 60s, with Joe Meeks’ band The Tornados.   The album itself is not great, but it holds a lot of history for me.  Also I love the cover.  The other album is a Japanese release of songs the Rolling Stones recorded, but for other people.  The songs are all produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, and they either showed up as 45 rpm singles or demos.   It’s an intriguing way to look at a bands’ (The Stones) work, through this specific route in trying to sell themselves as songwriters.

It dawned on me that I was feeling much better, and I decided to purchase the two albums and Aki, and I left the store.  I asked her if she would come with me to the Shibuya crossing and lay on the ground with me.  She said yes, for reasons that will never be clear to me, but as we approached the crossing, I grabbed her hand and as soon as the walk sign went on, we ran to the center and placed ourselves on the pavement, looking up to the stars that are not there.  But we both shared a certain amount of imagination, and as the thousands walked around us, I tried to count the stars that were in my mind.  I lost count after ten.  She made it to fifteen.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Sunday Series: Sunday August 9, 2015

The Sunday Series
Sunday August 9, 2015

The stench that is America.  You can smell on one’s hair and clothes. It is just like cigarette smoke in a crowded bar.  After awhile, the smell of dirty smoke lingers on you like it was a 3D object.  Some days, I just want to throw myself over the Los Angeles River, but it’s not deep enough to drown, just to crack your head.   The "Martini Drinkers of Los Angeles" is the only club that I’m a member of.   I have kept the membership up, even days or months, where I have nothing to eat.  Which due to my long habit of martini drinking, I always have the olive instead of the lemon peel.  Lemon peel is more delicious, but with hunger, the olive can be filling.  The Queen of the Tarts just came into TAIX bar, and I make sure the remaining olive is in my mouth, because he will take it for sure.  Us hunger boys can smell the hunger off others. 

The girls here are really something.   Sunday night is group sex night.  Buy one drink, the additional drink is free.  I go with my baby, and we do the can-can in front of the band stage.  The drumming is no-stop-keep-going.  Someone told me the Kray twins own this place.  I should have guessed from the interior.  It’s very rear if you get my drift.  The woman at the bar, she is by herself. I think she’s an actress.  I have seen all her movies.  Even the bad ones.  But wait, she looks too much like her, so it can’t possibly be her.  Is it?

I’m with the boys, and we’re talking about the waitress.   Each time I go to town, I see her face, serving the drinks, without a sense of violence in her movement as she approaches the table.  I rather be with the boys, now that I’m dressed up like a man, and standing up on my own two feet.  We have our matching cufflinks, and ties, and the blue oxford button up shirts - we stand together or we fall individually.  

I’m so drunk, that when I leave the bar, and look up at the night sky, I started to count the stars, but eventually I lose count and would have to start over again.  My partner in crime was supposed to write down the numbers as I counted them off, but he has other things on his mind. Shoot the stars out, because they’re so distracting, yet so beautiful.  I like to smell the night air, because there is something so deadly or sleepy that’s out there, and I feel like I’m walking on someone else’s property.   I tiptoe back into the bar with my pal, and we continue our drinking.

One drinks after another, and I’m scared to even look at the final bill.  I don’t. I just hand the waitress my card, hoping that she will make it go away.  My life as told through the eyes of the beautiful young waitress. She is so much smarter than me.  She is the one with the mostist.  As my eyes glaze over the table, I focus on the half full (I’m an optimist) glass of whisky, and I think “Dear God, now what?” 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Patriotism - The Rite of Love and Death (1966), by Yukio Mishima

Tosh on the Island of Izu Oshima (Japan)

I will be spending my time on this island called "Izu Oshima," for the annual arts festival called "Arts Islands in Tokyo."   Lun*na Menoh is invited, and therefore her husband, yours truly, will come along for the adventure.  I'm hoping to write a book about my experiences on the island as well as on the festival itself.

The above photograph is a satellite photograph of Izu Oshima, and the darkened area with the perfect round hole is an active volcano by the name of Mount Mihara.  Which by the way, in the 1930s, was the number one suicide spot for young lovers.   I don't plan to jump in, but one never knows.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

The Sunday Series: Sunday August 2, 2015

The Sunday Series:
Sunday August 2, 2015

This Sunday, it will be exactly three years ago that I left my job as a book-buyer for a well-known bookstore in Los Angeles.  Off -and-on, I have worked there for twenty-five years.   The last 15 years are pretty much straight through.  From the end of 2009 to August 2012, my chief role was to buy books for the store.   Without a doubt, it was the best job I have ever had.   There wasn’t a day, even though sometimes it was a struggle, that I didn’t enjoy.   For me, it was like being on a beautiful island, surrounded by books and interesting people.  I never underestimated the customers as well as my fellow workers at the shop.   Also, it was one of the few things I have done in my life that I felt was a total success.  Of course, one makes mistakes here and there, but over-all I’m very proud of the work I have done at this bookstore. 

Since I left the job, I have been living off my savings, which I see disappear on a daily basis.   While working, I tend to add services such as cable, more internet speed, and dining out.  Slowly I have been eliminating some of the service, and I pretty much stopped eating at restaurants.  I also used to go to expensive markets like Gelsons, but now, I tend to shop for generic brands in discounted supermarkets.  I ate meat, but now gave that up, which in hindsight, is good for my health.   My breakfast every morning is instant oatmeal, and at one time, I would empty two packets for breakfast, but now, I only eat one packet of instant oatmeal.  I add water of course, but very little, to make it more thick, and therefore more filling.   I avoid lunch and focus on having broccoli head and a plate of pasta for dinner.  My wine of choice is Two-buck Chuck.   I get a buzz which helps me in the long run to forget my everyday struggle or my lack of inner-happiness.  

I have a large library, and I tend to either re-read my books or go to the library, which I’m extremely fond of.  You tend to have to wait for popular titles, but the price of books is pretty expensive.   If I have the money, I don't mind spending it on books, but then I have to think about the use of electricity in the house.  I normally like to read at night, but to save money I have all the lights out - about an hour after dusk.  It doesn’t save a whole lot, but everything helps.  To save water, due to the cost of the Department of Water and Power, and the drought, I pour myself a big glass of water in a glass, and I place it in the refrigerator.  I sip on it throughout the day which helps with hunger and it is also something I look forward for the duration of the day.  

I miss my work greatly, because it was a job where everyday I had to do something.  Purchasing books for a store are pretty much seven days a week type of occupation.  Since it’s a busy store, I needed to re-stock the titles as soon as they were sold.  The public gets hungry for books, and therefore I had to supply their hunger. The same I do at home now for my body and soul.  

I have heard that in Japan, they put a lid over the bath to keep it warm, and therefore the whole family can use it, after showering.  What I do is fill the bathtub up with water, and completely shut the room up - even closing the window.  The temperature gets cooler of course, but it is never frozen, perhaps due to the Southern California climate.   Nevertheless I just use a dime-sized drop of shampoo and the latter I use it to wash my body as well.   I perhaps go through this procedure every other day.  I don’t do that much physical activity, so I rarely sweat, unless the humidity is high.   To minimize my life in such a way has become an art to me.  Besides writing, I have very little tools to express myself, and I think through poverty, I found a medium that suits my purpose.  Currency is the cancer of the 21st century.  I prefer to live without it and just focus on the everyday needs one may or may not have.  We’re all individuals, and we each have our specific issues that we must deal with.  Mine is to go to disappear into the entrance of nonexistence.   To open that door, and to stick one’s head through the entrance, and then jump in, sounds like a beautiful ending to this narrative.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015