Tsunami Buck

Tsunami Buck is a little storytelling project that is part of #The100DayProject on Instagram. I am telling the story of a man obsessed with tsunamis. I am creating an illustration in Photoshop everyday for 100 days along with a little 100–150 word chapter that will hopefully develop into some sort of coherent fictional narrative. This project is also an experimentation in fictional storytelling through instagram which is very much a visual medium. PS Buck is a real person I met while living in Boulder Creek, CA. He was obsessed by tsunamis to the point that he had bought and read so many books about it. Locals starting donating him all kinds of books and he eventually opened a bookshop inside the local taqueria in town. Over the period of two years I found myself hanging out with Buck in his bookshop while on my visits to town. He was, obviously, a bit eccentric but I was fascinated by his single minded obsession with tsunamis and with his theories about how tsunamis have been the single most important factor in shaping global history. This project will us his stories and theories but I will also make stuff up along the way. It is my attempt at approaching the “real truth” or, as Werner Herzog would say, the Ecstatic Truth. Thank You. PS If you’d like an easier way to read the story, you can check it out here on my instagram account. @snowliontigre

Chapter 1

If the tides don’t bring you in then maybe you would be lost at sea. We will look for you. Don’t worry. We will send our boats out to sea and look for you. We will dig the depths of the ocean looking for you. But at some point we will have to stop because we will not be able to continue on looking for you for years on end. By that time we would have forgotten how you look like and we would have forgotten the sound of your voice. I am sorry but we will have to stop then, because it will be like going on a search for something but not knowing what you are supposed to be looking for. So maybe, if you realize that you are completely lost and there is no chance of any return, then drop a message in a bottle.

Chapter 2

Write your name, the name of your parents, the name of the street where you lived, name of your wife, how your house looked like, maybe even let us know how your dog looked like if you have a dog and write about the first time you ever went out to sea and how it felt like. Let us know about that feeling of being lost between the two endless plains of water and sky. Let us know about how you kept time each day with the movement of the sun. Maybe you were only able to measure the time three times a day — sunrise, noon, sunset.

Chapter 3

And maybe you passed your time staring at the different shaped clouds and maybe a particular cloud could have reminded you of an old man who lived down your street sitting on a chair on his porch staring into the distance. Write all those thoughts down on a sheet of paper and put it in a bottle. Any bottle will do. But you have to close the bottle with a good cork and set it adrift only when you know you are about to die, when you are sure that the sunset you saw out in the west was the last sunset you will ever see. You can pray to Allah, Vishnu, Jesus, Buddha or whatever faith you subscribe to hoping that the bottle will be taken to a shore by a current. Or you can choose not to pray because actually the ocean doesn’t really hear anybody’s prayers. It does what it does and rest assured that it will bring your message in the bottle to a shore. Maybe it will not be our shore — this shore — but it will be a shore.

Chapter 4

Who wrote that shit? I asked Buck. I don’t know man. Some guy sitting over his desk somewhere in Paris. I mean obviously he wrote that shit in French and they translated it. You know France was hit by a tsunami in the late 1700's. Why do you think the French Revolution happened? TSU-NA-MI. Bullshit, I said. No dude. It really happened. A fucking tsunami hit the coast of Normandy. All the fields got covered in salt water and you couldn’t grow nothing out there. They ran out of food and it was a fucking famine. Next thing you know people started killing each other for food. They didn’t engage in cannibalistic practices but, you know, they fucking executed the King. Louis the XIV. Yeah dude. I’m telling you a fucking tsunami fucked everything up for that guy.

Chapter 5

They jailed him high up in a tower in a hole of a cell. They had chained him like a common criminal with chains on rings around his ankles, his neck and wrists. While he wait for his execution, he couldn’t understand why his subjects wanted to kill him. He thought to himself that he did what every king was supposed to do. But he had missed one thing. I mean he was too young to remember it. He must have been barely three months or something when a wandering gypsy called Melquiades came to the steps of the royal palace and demanded that the Queen let him read the palms of the newborn prince. The Queen obliged because she had heard that Melquiades was a rainmaker who had correctly predicted the fall of an Egyptian king once. Upon looking at the prince’s left palm, all he could utter was the word, “OCEAN! OCEAN! OCEAN!”

Chapter 6

Originally published at tseringnorbu.com.