For the record: Okayama City Central Library (map) 56 Futsukaichimachi, Kita Ward, Okayama, 700-0843, Japan
Annotations Hat: cheap Thamel, Kathmandu Mask: hemp, also from Nepal via Japan Glasses: broken, from Bali Shirt: (my design) Ambassador, Chiang Mai Belt: brown, Fossil Trousers: uniqlo (also boxers & v-neck) Socks: (not seem but stripey), Buffalo, cheap at Ross in Montréal Shoes: (not exactly Team Zissou) Adidas Baby carrier: made in Japan (name escapes, update later)
Various artifacts in situ, as seen in “Kura Grain Barn Art Studio / Music Lounge” (which needs a proper name).
Note: Inside the kura grainbarn studio/music lounge. It’s a magnificent 150+-year-old wooden structure but dang, gets hot and humid in the Japan summer and with so many books, records, papers, artifacts, etc, im working to keep the temperature and humidity under control. ~ Under 70% humidity now which is a big step as a few days ago it was over 80%! Still too high to be comfortable and ideal for sure. Have two fans and a dehumidifier going on timers, a whole bunch of those little packets of salty kind of stuff, and some other “boxes“ of dehumidifying agents. ~ Most of these items were stored in climate control storage for years so want to keep them in good condition and avoid any kind of unnecessary deterioration. Not a professional archivist but I’m doing what I can.
Continuing the story of the Olympia SM9 typewriter (from 2018 at Wonder Hotel) simply to show the difference a year of diligence and intrepidness can bring.
Yup, it truly was the most difficult of times, pulled in directions i didn’t want to go but then… states and provinces crossed, affairs sorted, planes and memories faced, trains and ferries joined / turmoil, bureaucracy, paperwork, disrespect and frustration, all well, just sort of sorted itself out. I mean, I know how but the point is: the time came when i was reunited with this typewriter and all was different from when i left it.
Still the keys get jammed, the ribbon inexplicably requires flipping/rewinding after barely a page of typing but, now smudged with thumbprints from changing said ribbon and supplied with aerogrammes from often lost countries, used envelopes with franked stamps (and sometimes intimate thoughts), and the usual hotel stationery, I made things.
Mostly poems and erstwhile letters, quite literally banged out without regard for perfection, just passion! Rapid transcriptions from scribbled journals, imagined lives of a doppelgänger, and notes from undergrounds.
Then joyfully accessorized with inky stamps and collages of postage stamps which may or may not have anything to do with the poem at hand (actually, they were all very intentionally consciously chosen but hey… that’s for the art to say). Oh, you can find evidence of these sessions in Items: Forgotten cycle vol. 7 Espionage and bits in vol. 6 Circumnavigation.
Now, the burly beast sits in a teakwood closet awaiting another opportunity to resist my indelicate fingers. Reminding me to touch gently with nuance and care.
All this is to say, art saves lives (in some cases anyhow).
Somewhere along the line, the wheels fell off completely, everything gone: life (rather death), love (so much), parents (both), career (ugh), health, confidence, desire, happiness, trust… all completely vanished.
Strung out, hospitals of a kind I won’t even mention, wrung out, battered and so very bruised… but, I pulled it together (thanks to kind pal) and found a safe place to hide.
A tiny room in a guest house ran by a kindly family who brought me coffee in the morning and otherwise gave me space to just be alone with, one small window, a fridge, a wet bathroom, a desk and bar, hard bed and two power outlets.
I purchased a typewriter and a printer and used in both extensively, enjoyably and liberally. The walls became covered with photos which caught my fancy, art which sparked something else, mementos of joys and fears to face.
The typewriter, and Olympia SM-9 from the 1970s (note: Owner’s manual (pdf): SM9-1970s) seems to be a knock off of some kind as I can’t find a serial number and, it just doesn’t have that solid precise action that the machine “should have”. There are a few foibles but it’s made of heavy solid metal, came “new in box” – shiny and pristine, just something is not quite right, kind of like me.
Anyhow, me and this machine typed poems on pads of hotel stationery, occasional repurposed telegram, letters which i’ll never send, and punk rock lyrics of angst and despair.
The neighbour was from Slovenia with a local mistress and a cigarette hobby and a little enough communication to be just the right amount.
I called this room “the Wonder Hotel” inspired by a SRO flophouse in my broken heart at home city of Vancouver. When i left, the daughters took down all my art bits and i made a massive scrapbook of rejuvenations, inspirations + amusements
I (mostly) hid, I (mostly) became calm, I pulled it together and then the future started. And started with this typewriter. Sloppiness and all. Maybe it is me after all.
I stayed in Sri Lanka (near Galle) for a while doing some Ayurvedic treatments, drinking tea and wondering wtf i was doing etc. As such, i made an address stamp for ease in my copious correspondence, usually performed at a tea shack down the road.