…more Weiser work from the late ’70s

by Alden Cole on July 9, 2015 · 0 comments

“Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty.” – Frank Herbert (1920 – )

AstrologyofPlantsWPThe late ’70s were an emotional nadir in my life. I was approaching my mid-thirties, and still wondering “What’s it all about Aldi?” I understand my present reticence to revisit that period; why it has been difficult to ‘make’ time to write about those last two years in New York. Self-revelation without the lies we traditionally tell ourselves, like growing old, is not for sissies. My initial connection to Weiser’s bookstore then working for Samuel Weiser Inc., the publishing house that specialized in the Occult, Esoterica, and Oriental Philsophies, was my anchor in a sea of internal chaos that even had me wondering at one point if I should become a monk and join a religious order, or become a Jungian therapist. Glad I did neither now, but at the time, those two options, among many that were on the shelf as possible escapes I might want to pursue when I grew up, seemed like preferable options to the lifestyle I was living: working in the day and cruising at night. I rarely made art for myself, being totally caught up in the illustration work I was doing for Weiser’s as my major creative expression at the time. Today’s arts for example. The above air-brushed piece was created as a potential cover for a book about astrology, but was never used. The two printed book covers below show a penchant for creating b&w pen-&-ink drawings which were often used for one purpose, after which I would colorize them, using the new version for another. Or at least hopefully; I colorized the original of the drawing used on the cover of the Talking Tree, hoping it would eventually be reproduced as a poster; another vain hope I didn’t pursue actively enough to manifest.

“Our high respect for a well read person is praise enough for literature.” – T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)

Face2FaceWPThe books I designed covers for may not qualify as literature, but their influence in my life at the time was as vital to my growth as any knowledge acquired through that medium. To my present recollection, these artworks were created sometime in the summer/fall of ’77, while living in Harold Stover’s NYC apartment, yet again. Convinced that I was exempt from the rule of “No matter where you go, there you are” I was still intent on going to San Francisco by that fall, thinking I’d be happier there than in New York. That particular illusion hadn’t dematerialized by early summer ’77 when Stover left his teaching position at the Alexander Robertson School for the months of July and August to relax and compose while visiting Latrobe, PA, where his mother still lived in the house of his youth. Accepting that I was serious about moving to SF that fall, he offered me his twelfth-floor apartment for the summer so I could save some money for the move. At the time I was living down on the ninth floor of the same building, The Broadmoor on Broadway at 102nd St., having been there since the previous September, when I moved into an apartment of my own for the first time in months, after having spent the summer of ’76 in his apartment; settling down after moving frequently from ’74-’76, a total of 16 times.

HistoryWMWPSo another 4th of July was spent in Stover’s apartment on the twelfth floor with a view looking south over NYC’s storied depths, a land of canyons bordering on the wilds of Riverside Park, my favorite cruising ground. This was the summer I reworked the mural in the bedroom, which was featured several postings ago. This time however I had two cats on my hands, unlike the summer before when I had only one. What to do? I was losing my mind. It was the second summer of Son of Sam being abroad on the streets of NYC victimizing couples; and as I smoked my brains loose, staring out the windows over my stretch of Manhattan, I wondered if I too could become so crazy as to wreck such havoc on others. Fortunately the answer I came up with was ‘NO’ – that particular possibility was doubtful, considering my childhood background plus my admitted needs for attention, approval and love.



June10-July6WP“My hopes are not always realized, but I always hope.” –Ovid (43 BC – ca. 18 AD)

Sunflowers: June 10 – July 6, 2015

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