Over the years I have been blessed with many good friends, but let me tell you something about just one of them—one who many of you also know because he has written a couple dozen books, has lectured and taught in this country and abroad for years, teaches astrology on his own website, and is famed as an opera singer and gourmet chef.
Noel Tyl is a big guy, standing approximately six foot nine inches—a very imposing figure when he was on stage as Wotan in Wagnerian opera. He has charisma and, of course, a voice that projects to the furthest reaches of an opera house or lecture hall. His warmth reaches out and embraces even the largest crowd. I am not telling you about his career in astrology, opera, or business. But I do want to say something about his ability to write, and his constant role as a very good friend.
I first met Noel in the early 1970s when we published his first book, The Horoscope as Identity, soon followed by the twelve volumes of The Principles & Practice of Astrology series. He was living in Germany at the time, and decided to move to St. Paul. He bought a house a block away from ours on Summit Avenue. His daughter, Kimberly, used to baby-sit for our son, Gabe, and we saw each other nearly every day.
Later he moved to the Washington D.C. area to start an advertising agency, and now lives near Phoenix. But we e-mail each other and talk on the phone. He is always aware of my horoscope and alerts me to transits affecting health and business. As a good friend, he is caring and perceptive, and is always responsive to and interested in my work and family.
As of this writing, we have published more books by Noel than any other author. Those earlier books are no longer in print; with the advent of computerized astrology and its availability on-line, the market for basic astrological books has changed. Today, he concentrates on the “special topics”—those particular areas of astrological practice where his expertise and innovative applications extend the art of astrological counseling to contemporary needs. When he is working on a new title, he will often call first thing in the morning to report on progress saying, “I’ve been up since four this morning—God, this is exciting; a really important book.”
How long does it take to write a good book? Noel can write a book in a couple of months or so, but that doesn’t recognize all the knowledge and skill that is background to the book. He is a skilled writer like Bertrand Russell, who could dictate an entire book, including footnotes and references, without depending on notes and references of his own. Such skill is rare and really appreciated by our editorial staff.
Noel loves three things in life: astrology, music, and cooking. Of course he loves people, his friends, his wife, his daughter, and his father. He cares deeply for his community of students and companions in astrology. But I am writing about the man in his day-to-day life. I was amazed when I discovered the level of his devotion to gourmet cooking. He doesn’t ever allow his wife to cook. He prepares the menu, shops for the ingredients, and enters into the art of food preparation with the same superlative style that marked his presence on stage.
A couple of years ago I challenged him to write a master cookbook, and to inject it with adventure, humor, recipes, and guidance to true gourmet performance. As usual, he produced the book quickly and expertly. We had him come up to St. Paul for a professional photo shoot. I wanted him on the book’s cover, conveying his great humor and love for the art. We have a great cover that invites you into his kitchen for a delightful experience.
The recipes were carefully reviewed by our staff experts for ease-of-use so that the reader can have confidence that his dinners will be truly memorable—whether served to a large assembly of guests or an intimate dinner for two. Great meals need not be costly meals, and unlike some gourmet cookbooks, this one guides you to economical meals. It tells you exactly what you need for preparation and how to buy the right ingredients. What’s most important is that the text is enjoyable, for I have learned that many devoted cooks read cookbooks in bed just the way I do good mystery fiction from our new imprint, Midnight Ink.
Now I want to say that Noel’s book, The Sophisticated Gourmet, has not garnered the sales it deserves. There’s so much competition for shelf space in the chain book stores that we are pushed aside. I am also disappointed that Noel has not been picked up for his own gourmet cooking show on major television. He has the style, presence, and knowledge to be the star that fills the shoes of Julia Child.
Friendship is a “magic circle” bringing us together. I often speak of my “Llewellyn Family"—our staff and authors, our customers and dealers, and our vendors. Our family is also a magic circle. A magic circle is a container of awareness and of mutuality. We give and receive from one another.
These are the autumn months, the months of the last harvest and of preparation for the coming of winter and the blessings of Yule. It’s appropriate to thank our friends, and to spread the joy of the harvest. May this year bring peace and plenty to the larger magic circle of the global community.
— Carl Llewellyn Weschcke, Publisher
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