Cool Travel Guides for the End Times!!!!

Free D.I.Y. Literature
"Would You Like to Know More?"

Do-it-Yourself Church of the Mysterioso Sacred Scriptures, Righteous Rants, Holy Revelations, Paranoid Prophecies, Harebrained Schemes, Crackpot Ideas, Crazed Visions, Lurid Fantasies, Strange Dreams, Eerie Predictions, Unwanted Miracles, Cultic Come-ons, Dread Invocations, Forbidden Secrets, Outright Lies, Spine-Tingling Blasphemy, Blessings, Curses, Cures, Spells and Cool Zen Teachings

The Church of the Mysterioso

("We're not for everyone!")

The Church was founded in the distant, fabled past by the Reverend Mel Ash (legitimate mail-order minister) and is a tongue-in-cheek but dead serious eerie wise-guy one-man art-cult that exists solely for the purpose of periodically publishing small, old-school photo-copied tracts & mini-booklets delving into many spiritual mysteries in a series called "Cool Travel Guides for the End Times".

mini book by mel ash
DIY Mini-Books are a part of Mel's workshops. Download and create the ZEN as You Like It DIY mini-book. Many more coming soon!

The booklet "Zen the Way You Like It" was the first in the series, which is now approaching twenty (count 'em: 20!!!) titles. (Any affiliation with or knowledge of or similarity to the Church of the Sub-Genius is vigorously denied.) The booklets are also an artistic and cultural homage to the great street literature tradition of America, as exemplified by Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" pamphlets, self-published rants by "cranks" of all stripes, and innumerable small religious tracts, most notably those from Chick Publications.

The DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos of the original Beat movement, formulated out of necessity and belief, revolutionized publishing, empowering poets and street seers to publish and distribute their own visionary, "non-commercial" work via early mimeograph technology. City Lights Books of San Francisco, founded in 1953 by Lawrence Ferlinghetti is a prime example of the power of alternative publishing. Their small press publication of Allen Ginsbergís Howl led to landmark free speech breakthroughs and eventually changed the culture as the Beats introduced Zen and alternative lifestyles to mainstream America, giving birth to the counter-culture of the '60s that continues to evolve to this day. As Ginsberg himself said, the goal is to "publish to your own heartís delight."

The look of Mysterioso literature is purposely low-tech, homemade and old school, utilizing both found and clip art in a post-post-modern aesthetic of cultural appropriation and detournement a la Situationist theory (look it up). The booklets are intended as media viruses and spiritual propagandi that are passed hand to hand, left on subway seats and on diner counters, slipped inside books and coat pockets. "Or something like that."

mini book by mel ash
Download and create the Here It Is! The Rules DIY mini-book. Many more coming soon!
mini book by mel ash
Download and create the Are You A Problem Thinker DIY mini-book. Many more coming soon!
mini book by mel ash
Download and create the The World Doesn't Care Sutra DIY mini-book. Many more coming soon!

Other popular titles in the series include: Elvis Died For Our Sins, Viking Jesus, 13 Things You Can Learn as a Vampire, The World Doesn't Care Sutra, Buddha Mystery Solved!, Random Buddha, Fortune Cookies, The Last Zen Poem Ever!, Forbidden Secrets of the Tantric Sex Masters, Voodoo Sex Charm, Beat Me!, Martian Poverty and many others. Some of these will available for your downloading here on this website, while others may become available through the mail or what's left of it.

Many thousands of the "Zen the Way You Like It!" booklets have been handed out by Rev. Mel in his ongoing ministry and its reading has become a popular feature of his Zen workshops. The booklet succinctly explains Zen and actually confers Instant Enlightenment (as if you needed it!). It remains the best introduction to both Mel Ash and his Zen philosophy. Seriously.

Creativity is the Visible Motion of the Spirit

Rev. Mel Ash
Church of the Mysterioso
Wallet-size Official Portrait
(Not valid for fake I.D.)
Photo: Melanie Denslow

As a means of exploring humor, irony, graphic art, cultural change and commentary and sometimes serious teaching, the booklets are a creative outlet for the Rev. and he hopes you enjoy them in the spirit in which they were created. Suggestions for new titles gladly considered, but the Rev. prefers that you, yourself, create your own books and publish them to the world!!! Yup, this website even has arts and crafts!

A mainstay of Mel's teaching is actions as well as words. Activities, exercises, rituals, arts: these things make the spiritual real and immediate. Throughout all Ash's writing and teachings, you will always be asked to do, actually do, something. And as a result of that Doing, you are guaranteed a clarity in Being. Or your suffering back.

Says Bodhidharma, Zen founder: "Zen is a direct pointing at reality, beyond words and scripture." Show; donít tell is the essential Zen technique and one that works! Commitment and action on one's own behalf brings immeasurable results. All the Universe asks is a tiny push.

Publish Yourself!

Every person a prophet! Every soul an author! Everybody an artist! Instructions on how to download and assemble official Church of the Mysterioso tracts and how to create your own follows, excerpted from Beat Spirit by Mel Ash. Remember, you are free to copy and distribute the Mysterioso booklets to your heart's content, free of charge, spreading the word, but the copyright remains the author's.


Below is pictured the pattern for a small booklet you can mass-produce yourself. Assembly directions also apply to the booklets you can download from this site.

Fold an 8 1/2 x 11inch piece of white paper as shown, four folds total, sharply creasing the folds with a fingernail or object. Reopen the paper and flatten. Youíll see you have eight separate boxes.

On the side labeled (A) you will start your book. In space 1, create your cover. Start your poem, essay or artwork on 2, using graphics, handwriting, typesetting, or artwork. Use a glue stick if youíre doing cut & paste. Continue through 5, turn the paper around and finish up at 8, which will be either the last page or a back cover.

Scan and print or Photo-copy your original at 100%, creating a master from which other copies are mass-produced. Make your last changes and clean-ups on this copy.

Now you can quickly and cheaply run off as many of the booklet as you like from your master, either with a photo-copier or your printer at home if youíve scanned the original.

Fold your copies again like you did the original, creasing the folds. You can fold and slice three at a time for more efficiency. Open and flatten the copies, carefully and mindfully slicing along the line in the middle of the page (from C to D) with an X-Acto, razor blade or similar tool.

Now fold the paper lengthwise and push it together.

The cut will balloon the paper open, creating a diamond-like shape. Push the pages in, fold and crease, creating your own book! Itís hard to accurately describe how to do this procedure, but after a couple of tries, youíll become an expert.

Possibilities: make lots of copies to give as presents, sell them at small bookstores or use them as I do. I always carry a few to leave on subway seats, on shelves in stores or to hand to people on the street. Especially those trying to sell me something, usually political, religious or corporate propaganda.

In doing this, you stop being a passive consumer of mediated culture and become an active creator, a virus in the media bloodstream through the not-so-covert distribution of your own samizdat (Russian word for homemade oppositional literature). Who knows? Maybe youíll even get discovered like many of the Beats when they created their own small publications.

home | about mel ash | zen of recovery | events | writings | books | zen tarot
audio/video | reviews | engage mel ash | resources | media | links | contact