Retiring history professor Perry Gregson wonders whether it had to be this way. Should he have known to turn down a semester abroad so he would have been with his chronically ill little sister when she passed away? Could he have avoided turning her death into a template for severing his romantic bonds? The Use of Regret is Perry’s eternally recirculating journey through the truths and fictions and fantasies of his life, a trek that points up parallels between the human mind and the United States, each of which is simultaneously a single entity and a constitution of hundreds of millions of living parts. With a soundtrack of Pink Floyd, Lou Reed, Kenny Rogers, Modest Mouse, Kate Bush, and David Bowie scoring his internal roadtrip, Perry scours his psychic landscape for escape from his cell of self, a way to find within a life already lived, a life in which (as The Cure sang during his childhood) “no one ever knows or loves another,” a means to connect with the already-lost, “to atone, to make amends, pay tribute to your failures, you can’t really make restitution but you do your best, put in the effort anyway, willingly, that’s how you want to be now, no regrets, no regrets.”

Well, I helped.  But in terms of the front-cover concept, the layout, the drawings, and all the computer-graphics-whatever-you-call-it stuff, that was shea M gauer, a longtime Long Beach resident who’s really good at this stuff.  Don’t believe me?  Check him out online at ontheroughseesofmyeyes.  He also co-owned {open}, the bitchen bookstore/performance space, which was the non-virtual home base of The Use of Regret, until it closed in late 2012.

Can’t blame you.  Order it here:  www.createspace.com/3396566.         Cost:  $10.