Beating back the dustbin


Day 9
Day 9

Istanbul, 1927

My Dearest Zissy,

Your new book arrived in the mail and I can’t express to you enough my deepest envy and admiration of your success and ability. It’s a wonderful piece of work and it’s very well done. Most notably of all, it’s big! I have no idea how such a massive thing gets produced.

Everything I’ve ever written amounts to a single pamphlet by comparison.

My system of writing is simple: I wake up in the morning and write about 300 words. Then I include illustrations from the day before.

Horace sometimes prevents me from drawing anything, so I have to use any other free time that I can find in the day. No free time means no illustration, as is the case today, so I’ll add one later. The priority is on having something written.

That is the system for now: Zero readership, zero emphasis on finding an audience. No special format for the time being. Only writing.

This is somehow freeing to me because it means creating a body of work that can be promoted later. I have it. It is mine. It is not a massive tome to be recognized or critiqued. Perhaps it will be found after I die and be unceremoniously tossed into the trash with my old photos trinkets. Maybe that’s the way it should be: “Without further ado” should be it’s title, and it should recieve no ado whatsoever.

Your book deserves tons of ado, because it weighs tons and there are so many of them in print. How many of them are there? 100,000? You should donate a copy to each of the public libraries in Istanbul. It sounds impressive! You’d get bragging rights and still have 99,987 copies left for your dustbin! Minus anything that’s been sold, you might still have enough to build a small pyramid, which I think is what we all actually want: A massive immovable blight on the landscape dedicated to our egoes, for all eternity. It’s the dream of beating the dustbin that’s ready to greet us all at the end.

Congratulations, Zissy, you may have actually beat the dustbin!

-J. Ozawa

My plan for the year


Istanbul, 1976

My Dearest Zissy,

Poor old Edmund has been lost in the winding, hilly streets of Istanbul for days and have no way to find him. The police have no information, and the proprieters of our usual haunts have long stopped speaking to us. Berfu, a colleague from the sanitarium, had been tasked with scouring the hospitals for any information but instead spent all of Tuesday pretending to be a doctor and stealing puddings from patients.

He suggested that Edmund may have been carried to Galata Tower by seagulls, so last night we had a lovely dinner there and saw a bellydance show.

As much as we would like to find Edmund, there are a few other things that I would like to get done this year. For one, I am planning a trip to Seattle this summer to see family and friends. Horace is very excited to see his grandparents and to have the opportunity to scream and throw fits in English rather than Turkish.

During that time, I wish to work on the more serious business of writing and publishing, as well as making people buy useless trinkets that they don’t really need in order to pay for the trip. Seattle is a comparatively expensive place, but it’s lovely. I am not one for big talk, but in a year I would like to move there.

The world is full of wonderful new challenges and opportunities, Zissy, and I hope that you are finding yours.

I don’t know when or if I will be able to see you again, but take care,

-J. Ozawa

One thing to focus on


Day 7
Day 7

Dearest Zissy,

1977 will be my year. I’m finally going to start working on the novel that I’ve been working on.

I can hear you laughing, Zissy, and I think that after over ten years of procrastinating, some derisive laughter is deserved.

These letters I am writing to you are a wonderful stimulus for me, and for that I sincerely thank you.

In other news, Edmund picked up a new dog after I’d called the city pound on the last one because of the smell. I think that the only animals that belong in houses are the ones that build them themselves. And if any of them wants to keep a dog for a pet, they’re welcome to have ours.

This has of course led to a fierce conflict with Edmund who can still include smell as one of his four remaining four and must therefore understand the validity of my point.

Much love,

J. Ozawa

My perfect business model


Day 6
Day 6

Dearest Zissy,

I have heard that your new employment is not going very well. I am sorry to say that mine has not, either. I feel clumsy in that place, as though I’m trying to assemble a watch with oven mitts. Also, there is the matter of my employer yelling and telling me to get out and just please go home.

I’ve returned to the work of putting together a new book from the piles of scrap paper that litter my office. This one should be about how to make money using only your computer and an online connection. By telling people how to create books about making money, they can make money by telling people the same thing. It’s a lot like my last book, which saves me a lot of time and thought.

Edmund has advised me to continue with trying to find more honest work, but I believe he wants me to spend less time at home.

Keep your chin up, dear, and don’t talk to strangers,

J. Ozawa

P.S. I broke almost every dish in the kitchen.

Don Qixote



Dearest Zissy,

I’ve caused Edmund to lose an eye again, and he has been very salty with me as of late.

Grandfather has been talking about you again and all of the great success you’ve been having with your donkey show. Except for poor Edmund, we can’t wait to see it.

Horace has taken a wrong turn with his toilet training. Although he is perfectly capable of using the potty by himself, he sometimes chooses to do his busines elsewhere. Yesterday he soaked a coloring book when he couldn’t find his yellow crayon. He’s more of an artist than a critic, and still not much of a problem solver.

I hope to hear from you soon,


J. Ozawa

From behind the electric fence


15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge Day 4
Istanbul, 1971

Dearest Zissy,
We installed an electric fence for our mailman, but he proved himself to be an unshakable menace and we continued to get letters. It seems he’d purchased a set of thick rubber cloves and boots and sprang, catlike, over our barricade with his skinny old body and big bag of letters in tow.
Thus, it seems as though I have discovered the secret to getting the Turkish post office to work more effectively: Simply surround everything with electrified razor wire and perhaps some packs of barking dogs and rabid weasels for the purpose of trying to stop it.
At the very worst, the service we recieve from them would not change.
Edmund sends his love. Unfortunately, he is in the hospital with some injuries that he would rather I not tell you about.
Our poor,defeated fence is now inactive as well, and the mailman now taunts me on a daily basis by leaning against it and criticising my personage with foul language. It’s an extremely ugly show, and the neighbors have begun participating as well. It seems that we are not well liked.
With the fence broken, there is nothing between them and me. I suppose that I am partly to blame for it, since it was me who connected the fence to the copper plumbing in our home, thereby causing Edmund’s injury and injuries to some of our neighbors.
It is very hard to explain to them how such an act was funny, particularly with that minacious mailman leading the charge.
Please write back, I would love to learn more about what is happening with you. Did you get that new job you wanted?
Summer is upon us, Zissy, and it would be lovely if you would come to Turkey and visit us at the cottage.
Under Siege,
J. Ozawa



15 Days to Freedom Day 3
Istanbul, 1981

Dear Zissy,

I’ve found a problem with my system for productivity. I haven’t done anything since 1979, and it took me nearly fifteen minutes to find a pen to write to you with.
It was in the refrigerator.

Edmund tells me that I need to find meaningful work, but his situation is similar to mine except that he seems to enjoy himself more. He he’s been trying to create games to play in the yard. He spends hours outside with balls and sticks and clubs, hanging nets from the trees, stringing ropes across the garden, and filling his ‘rulebook’ with undescipherable gibberish.

His obsession with creating the perfect backyard game gave me an idea as well.

It started with one neighborhood dog, which I spotted in our yard. When I went to shoo him out, he hunched back and made his mess right in the middle of Edmund’s grid, between what Edmund was calling ‘the hook line’ and ‘the guardian line’.

With a single piece of chicken, I was able to entice three more mutts into our yard to do their business on Edmund’s playing field. Suddenly, my idea began to solidify and take shape.

When Edmund returned from the hardware store carrying what he planned to use to create a new kind of sports equipment, I left the house through the front door with a stack of flyers for my new dogsitting service.

Over the next week, I had as my clients all of the biggest, meanest animals I could find with which to mess up Edmund’s pitch.

Unfortunately, Edmund is allergic to dogs, so he was not very keen on my little joke. So, I took down my flyers and returned all of the animals to their owners. Then I used the money that I had made with my dogsitting business and bought bags of manure from the local horse farm.
Well, I am sorry Zissy, but I need to finish this letter soon. This pen is running out of ink and I’m unable to find another one.

Please come and visit us at the cottage sometime. We’ll have a cookout in the back yard.


J. Ozawa

I’ll scour the bazaars for useless trinkets to sell


Day 2
Istanbul, 1975

Dearest Zissy,

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. First, the bad news: I’m going to be in Istanbul for a long time unless I can figure a way out. The good news is that Edmund is enjoying his new bald pate. I was concerned that it would take much longer for him to forgive me for that little stunt, but I explained to him that it was merely a performance piece.

Horace is growing up quickly. He’ll be three years old in a couple of days. The other day he figured out how to turn on the vaccuum cleaner to blow balloons across the room.

Clever little man.

Anyway, back to the business of this letter. I’ve undertaken a 15 Day challenge in experiential living during which I’ll redefine myself and emerge a new man at the end.

This morning I had my juice and dry toast as promised, followed by coffee and simit with cream cheese.

I took a stroll by the seaside in Kadikoy and watched some ferries go by like some kind broken-hearted sissyboy. I write this because there were in fact no fewer than five broken-hearted sissyboys within ten meters of me. I asked them to make sure. Broken hearts are somehow drawn to that place like flies would be to a honeyed turd.

I’ll take my strolls elsewhere, thank you very much.

For the second day of the challenge, I’m required to define some actions necessary to achieving my goal, which is of course to become unstuck from this place and to never be so stuck again.
To that end, I’ll need to rely on the Turkish post office, that one-armed trapeeze artist of an institution, and the bazaars.

I’ll vow to master the ropes and misplace my trust within 24 hours.

Until then, I’ll leave you with this lovely picture of Edmund’s mother.

J. Ozawa

Dry toast, juice, and rigorous kinesthetics


15 Days to Freedom Blog Challenge Day 1
Istantul, 1968

 Dearest Zissy,
There’s a silent pall over the cottage these days. Since the death of Edmund’s television, that is. Now the poor old fruit just sits in his corner of the kitchen and drinks wine. He starts at around noon, when his stomach has sufficiently recovered from the previous night’s abuse. Then at around three, he sweetly asks me to go to the butcher or the bread shop, and, “Oh, by the way, if I could pick up a bottle of wine or two for our evening meal…”

Our home has become so littered with discarded corks and clanking bottles that I actually miss the squawking thing. The bakelite shell of the thing is still there on the floor of our living room where I kicked it off of the table. I’ve been told not to touch it, which is comical to me as I was never permitted to touch it in the first place.

In fact, I only ever touched it once, and that was with my foot.

Now it is a cruel monument to remind him that he will either need to pay attention to his life or go further into the bottle. He’s choosing the latter.

Nevermind. Better seen and not heard.

You might wonder what makes me so callous towards someone as nice as Edmund, or what caused me to destroy an innocent piece of household equipment. It would be difficult to try and explain because I simply can’t – except to say that I would like for us to live more experientially and outside of that small rectangle of white noise, which I believe is mostly responsible for keeping us indoors and away from the company of others.

While arguing this point with Edmund, our conversation became a pitched battle for idealogical dominance in our small home, with both sides slurring their words into nonsensical alphabet soup until we almost came to blows over whether or not we should listen to the radio more, ride bicycles or use cars, use organc soap or meditate, and get matching tattoos, and so on.
I’m only glad that there is no record of that evening’s conversation except for that unfortunate television.

So that is how it happened.

Today is the first day of what I’m calling my experiment in experiential living.
The house is silent. I’ve made amends with my friend. I’m having a nice breakfast.

God bless us all, every one of us.

-J. Ozawa

Pummelled for a time


Istanbul, 1981

To Batuhan the Fiend,

Caffeine is the devil, or so I’ve often said. I put my faith in it regularly and so should you.
I was extremely glad to hear that you’ve purchased a dancing bear from a camp of traveling gypsies as a way to promote your new online course about how to make money while being extremely stupid. It’s going to be a fitting end for you. It’s going to take a lot of money to feed that bear, and given the effectiveness of your so-called system, I’m sure that the raging beast will be taking a bite out of your ass.
Then it’s going to do a dance.
So will I.
Your friend in greed,
J. Ozawa