"…be forgot, and never…."

        There’s been a lot of talk about William Rotsler within Memory Hole lately, mostly because of Michael R. Bernstein’s in-progress Rotsler art archive. This caused me to look into my file of unused Rotsler’s, and assure myself that they are all rather applicable to my in-progress memoirs. I’m going to continue to hold them in reserve for that purpose.
        I did the next best thing…I dug up a Rotsler portfolio I published in 1965. It was in my on-topic fanzine SaFari, for FAPA in February 1965.
       There is an editorial credit: "I hope (the artwork) turns out…if they do, it will be solely as a result of the tender, loving care of Juanita Coulson, with an assist from Buck…."


        I wrote a special memory piece named "Just My Bill…." for Dwain Kaiser about my years with Rotsler, only I’m beginning to suspect that Dwain’s suppressing it completely.
       Other than that, most of the talk about Rotsler has been about the artist, not the man, and it’s very difficult for me to separate the two.
       As an artist, William Rotsler was one hell of a man. As a man, William Rotsler was one hell of a piece of art. He was, among other things, writer, director, choreographer, and best boy for all his life. Bigger than life and twice as hearty. A cuddly bear of voraciousness radiating warmth and embraces. Hail fellow well met!


        Here is an example of a typical Rotsler party invitation at the peak of his perfection. This is dated November 1, 1969 and features Paul Turner (at left) and William Rotsler with two unnamed party guests.

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       To have known Rotsler was to love him. There was no room for equivocation. I knew he loved me long before I could even discuss with myself the possibility that I loved him as well. I’m retarded in some directions. I don’t think I ever told him, but I’m positive he knew. I loved him. I love him still. Somewhere inside of me, Bill lives forever.
         I could not post this without the help and cooperation of Bill Burns and efanzines.com. This is a salute to our friend William Rotsler, in appreciation. A toast to gods departed. A God bless those still around.

--Earl Kemp, December 19, 2000

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