Vivre sur la Terre – the French Edition of Living on the Earth

Cover of Vivre sur la Terre

See a flip book of the covers and opening pages, click here.

Here is an English translation of the introduction to the book written by the editor at Editions Ulmer, Lila Hervé-Gruyer.

“How Living on the Earth became Vivre sur la Terre…

“The story of this book is magical. For several years, I have dreamed of getting my hands on this mysterious book, but second-hand copies are sold at a high price on the Internet. One day, I came across a website that sold the Spanish version. When I received it, I was moved.

“Alicia’s drawings and words resonate very strongly with me. This 19 year old hippie embodies a freedom, a simplicity and a carefree attitude that we miss today. An almost dreamed life, a total commitment. Alicia proposes to live like a flowing river or a growing tree. To live in the middle of nature, in community, out of the consumer society and far from capitalism.

“50 years after the first edition of Living on the Earth, the biosphere is enoxerably degrading and anxiety is rising, even faster than the ocean level. Alicia reminds us that ecological movements are not new. Today too often derided, the hippies had the courage to question the very foundations of a capitalist society. It does a lot of good to delve into their legacy, full of struggles and inventiveness. Reading Alicia, the answer is here, almost obvious, in front of our eyes. I am convinced that living on love alone is not naive, but one of the possible solutions to face this ecological crisis. A fair, beautiful, desirable, joyful and fun path.

“One day, I bring this treasure to the office, to share with my colleagues. This hippie bible is a literary UFO! A bestseller that has gone around the world, translated into Japanese, Korean, Spanish… And sold more than 350,000 copies for the American version.

“We bet with Emmanuelle and Antoine, Ulmer’s managers, that it could work. I contacted Alicia who quickly told me that the book would be published in English to celebrate its 50th birthday! What a happy coincidence, life is well done. Virginie started translating and Alicia agreed to rewrite everything by hand in French, a language she does not speak. Once the translation is finalized, Alicia starts writing, courageously. She spends more than 6 days on some pages. Until she injures her hand and the project comes to a halt.

“That’s where Harmonie the aptly named comes in. I was working with this potter-designer-artist on another book. I had shown her Alicia’s book and she too had fallen in love with it. She often asked me about the translation and I was disappointed to tell her that it wasn’t going well… Until I received a handwritten note from Harmonie: her handwriting looked like Alicia’s! So Harmonie started to rewrite the book with a lot of enthusiasm. 248 pages later, Agathe proofreads, Camille prepares the files, it goes to the printer’s.

“This is why you can now hold this precious book in your hands. The moving testimony of an emancipated young woman living as close to nature as possible, patiently rewritten to be as close as possible to the original. Because in 2022, we continue to have a great need for Peace and Love.

“I wish you all to live closer to the flowers!”

Lila Hervé-Gruyer

The woman that translated Living on the Earth into French

Virginie Gettle in her kitchen. Such a lovely smile!
And her old wooden hutch with so many beautiful ceramic plates. This woman has so much style!


I love seeing the face of this wonderful woman with whom I exchanged emails for months last year!
I love the facade of her house! And the door! And the wooden shutters! Vive la France!

This is Virginie Gettle, who translated Living on the Earth into French last year. Vivre sur la Terre will be released in October.

I recently sent Virginie as a gift the apron I designed from the herb and spice page of Living on the Earth, with her French translation. She is posing in it in her kitchen and just outside the kitchen door of her house.

I am so thrilled to receive these photos.

If you would like one of these aprons, the order page is here.

Artist Bill Wheeler’s story of my coming to live on his land in southwestern Sonoma County, in 1969

“Round, brown eyes, round, young body and round, curly brown hair, Alicia spoke softly but with assurance. After thinking quietly for a while, she asked me if I knew of any coffee houses where she could play and sing for money. Shortly before dark, she dressed warmly and set out to find a place to stay. My concern over her welfare that rainy night was unfounded as I discovered a few days later when she returned to the studio, bursting with merriment, and related her adventures. She had been welcomed at several people’s houses and was planning to go back to the city, get her things and come back to stay.

“Gray weeks passed before I saw her again. This time, Alicia wore the air of an established resident and nothing else. When most folks were still in warm sweaters, Alicia could be seen wandering around in the fog without a stitch of clothes, a book or some sewing under her arm. When the sun began to warm the air the following spring, she was in the garden almost every day, doing yoga and tending the vegetables. She was the only community member who gardened regularly that second summer. Without her care, the community garden would have never started. In those days she was also the only person on the Ridge who was neither ‘without income’ nor on welfare. She generated income from various creative projects which she sold, an activity then unique among Open Landers.

“Alicia began working on an intercommunal newsletter, describing in unpretentious script and with simple line drawings the basic skills needed by newcomers to live primitively in an isolated, rural community. She demonstrated with childlike fluidity how to build a shelter, shit in the ground, chop wood, have a baby, etc. The project took her over a year, during which time she left with the winter ’69 exodus that took many Ridge residents further north into Humbolt County.

“When she returned the next summer, she announced that the newsletter had grown into a book which was being privately financed and published by a Berkeley publisher with the title Living On The Earth. It turned out to be a phenomenon, the first edition of 10,000 selling out in three weeks. One copy found its way to Bennett Cerf at Random House. Delighted and impressed, Cerf bought the book and Alicia, now Alicia Bay Laurel, was sent on a national promotional tour to explain to America the joys of Open Land living. By the following Christmas, Living On The Earth had become a best seller with 150,000 copies sold. It engendered much sympathy and interest in a simple, non-technical life style. Whatever it was we were doing together on the land, people were hungry to know more.”

Alicia Bay Laurel, Wheeler Ranch, Bill Wheeler
July 31, 2017 – I visit Bill Wheeler at his homebuilt house and art studio on his land, six months before his death early the following year. Photo by Karin Lease.

In 2017, Kireei, a Spanish magazine about natural style, wrote a crowdfunding plea for the Spanish edition of Living on the Earth. It exists today as Viviendo en la Tierra.


Alicia Bay Laurel en Tokio, 1974, vestida en una blusa y una falda que
ella diseñó y hizo.

Verkami: Viviendo en la Tierra de Alicia Bay Laurel

por Cristina Camarena | May 25, 2017

Hoy os cuento este proyecto que busca fondos a través de Verkami porque me ha parecido maravilloso. Confieso que no conocía Viviendo en la Tierra de Alicia Bay Laurel, a pesar de ser un bestseller, una guía clásica para la vida natural, bohemia y alternativa en el campo escrita por Alicia Bay Laurel en la comuna Wheeler Ranch en el norte de California a finales de los sesenta. La biblia del movimiento back-to-the-land y las comunas hippies de la década de los setenta que capturó el espíritu de toda una generación.

Viviendo en la Tierra es para aquellos que prefieren cortar leña para el fuego antes que trabajar en una oficina para pagar la factura de la compañía eléctrica. Un libro diseñado sin índices, sin capítulos, sin reglas ni estructuras, un libro que se construye sobre el aprendizaje del día a día.

Escrito e ilustrado a mano por Alicia Bay Laurel cuando esta tenía tan sólo 19 años, como si se tratara de un diario, originalmente fue concebido como una guía destinada exclusivamente a distribuirse internamente entre las comunas. El libro fue publicado por The Bookworks en Berkeley, California y se agotó inmediatamente. Random House lo reeditó en 1971 y vendió más de 350.000 copias en pocos meses convirtiéndose así en un New York Times Bestseller. Viviendo en la Tierra cambió radicalmente la forma de concebir un libro y con su estilo ha influido durante décadas a numerosos artistas y diseñadores.

Kachina ediciones pone en marcha este proyecto, para hacer posible la traducción, edición, impresión y distribución de este mítico libro. Podéis contribuir comprándolo y eligiendo modalidad para las recompensas siguiendo este enlace. Es un proyecto valiente que vale la pena apoyar.

Paginas de Living on the Earth
Un niño, Charley Mikul, con un venado en el bosque, al comunidad hippie, Wheeler Ranch, 1969

La contraportada del libro
, Viviendo en la Tierra
Alicia Bay Laurel tocando una flauta de bambu que ella misma se hizo a sí misma.
La foto fue tomada en la ciudad de Nueva York durante una gira publicitaria de
Living on the Earth en 1971.
Las familias de la comunidad hippie Star Mountain en 1973.

Alicia Bay Laurel, al comunidad hippie Wheeler Ranch al 1969, durante el tiempo
que trabajaba al escribir y dibujar Living on the Earth, mostrando la colcha de
retazos que estaba haciend
o

Digital graphic layouts for the upcoming vinyl LP release of Love Cry Want

Single pocket cover layout for vinyl LP of Love Cry Want

I’ve been working, under the guidance of digital designer Karen Tsugawa, to create the LP cover, disc labels, and an insert booklet for Love Cry Want, an avant-garde/psychedelic rock album by the band of the same name, recorded live at an antiwar rally in Washington DC in 1972. I wanted to focus on the non-violent action aspect of the performance, and collected images illustrating the passion and intersection of the civil rights and peace movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

We just got the InDesign files ready to go to press last night, and expect to have albums back from the pressing plant in the autumn.

The blue lettering on the spine and in the green box will be printed in black. The blue signals that these pieces of font text have been outlined in preparation to go to press.

Labels for the vinyl LP disk in the template provided by the pressing plant.

Labels for each side of the 12″ LP disc, on their template. In this template, the blue line is the “safety” border, the black line is the trim line and the red line is the bleed border.

The front cover of the 8 panel insert booklet

The 11″ x 11″ insert booklet has eight panels, the first and last of which are the same as the front and back of the album cover. Inside are my liner notes, a review by Dave Segal published in Jazz Times in 2005, bios of the band members, and a map of the cover photos with information about each photo.

The two photos on the front cover were taken by Howard Ruffner during the May 4, 1970 Kent State Massacre, when Ohio National Guard fired on students protesting the US invasion of Cambodia, killing four and wounding nine.

Laurel Krause, co-founder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal, introduced me to Howard Ruffner, who granted me permission to use these photos, as well as the one he took on the back cover of a radiant Coretta Scott King and Senator George McGovern, arm in arm, leading a peace march in Washington DC in 1969.

Illustration for the back cover flap of Vivre sur la Terre, the French edition of Living on the Earth.

I just drew this yesterday, July 24th, 2022, by request of the publisher, Editions Ulmer, which had decided to add a dustjacket at the last minute, and needed something for the flap inside of the back cover. This week, the book goes to press.

Every tree is a “Tree of Life.” They make life from sunlight, water and earth. They offer shelter and nourishment to everyone.

Vivre sur la Terre, the French edition of Living on the Earth, is about to go to press

Front cover of the Editions Ulmer French translation of Living on the Earth

Lila Hervé-Gruyer, the book’s editor at Editions Ulmer wrote the story of how she found the book, which she sent to me translated into English (below). It will be included in the finished book, in French, of course.

How Living on the Earth became Vivre sur la Terre…

The story of this book is magical. For several years, I have dreamed of getting my hands on this mysterious book, but second-hand copies are sold at a high price on the Internet. One day, I came across a website that sold the Spanish version. When I received it, I was moved.

Alicia’s drawings and words resonate very strongly with me. This 19 year old hippie embodies a freedom, a simplicity and a carefree attitude that we miss today. An almost dreamed life, a total commitment. Alicia proposes to live like a flowing river or a growing tree. To live in the middle of nature, in community, out of the consumer society and far from capitalism.

50 years after the first edition of Living on the Earth, the biosphere is enoxerably degrading and anxiety is rising, even faster than the ocean level. Alicia reminds us that ecological movements are not new. Today too often derided, the hippies had the courage to question the very foundations of a capitalist society. It does a lot of good to delve into their legacy, full of struggles and inventiveness. Reading Alicia, the answer is here, almost obvious, in front of our eyes. I am convinced that living on love alone is not naive, but one of the possible solutions to face this ecological crisis. A fair, beautiful, desirable, joyful and fun path.

One day, I bring this treasure to the office, to share with my colleagues. This hippie bible is a literary UFO! A bestseller that has gone around the world, translated into Japanese, Korean, Spanish… And sold more than 350,000 copies for the American version.

We bet with Emmanuelle and Antoine, Ulmer’s managers, that it could work. I contacted Alicia who quickly told me that the book would be published in English to celebrate its 50th birthday! What a happy coincidence, life is well done. Virginie started translating and Alicia agreed to rewrite everything by hand in French, a language she does not speak. Once the translation is finalized, Alicia starts writing, courageously. She spends more than 6 days on some pages. Until she injures her hand and the project comes to a halt.

That’s where Harmonie the aptly named comes in. I was working with this potter-designer-artist on another book. I had shown her Alicia’s book and she too had fallen in love with it. She often asked me about the translation and I was disappointed to tell her that it wasn’t going well… Until I received a handwritten note from Harmonie: her handwriting looked like Alicia’s! So Harmonie started to rewrite the book with a lot of enthusiasm. 248 pages later, Agathe proofreads, Camille prepares the files, it goes to the printer’s.

This is why you can now hold this precious book in your hands. The moving testimony of an emancipated young woman living as close to nature as possible, patiently rewritten to be as close as possible to the original. Because in 2022, we continue to have a great need for Peace and Love.

I wish you all to live closer to the flowers!

Lila, editor of the book.

And here is the note from artist Harmonie Begon, who beautifully hand-lettered Vivre sur la Terre after I had to stop a year ago, due to an injury to my right arm and shoulder.

Dear Alicia,

When Lila told me about your book, I thought it was beautiful. When I got my hands on it, I thought it was sublime.

I have a special affection for notebooks and journals. I fill many of them, with words and drawings, like you.

Writing by hand each of your pages was an intense experience. For I did not only write, I read, I integrated, I almost lived these observations. I have traveled. I felt like leaving my desk a hundred times to cook, tinker, create, camp, repair, build. That’s the beauty of your book, it makes you want to live.

To live for real, to do with what we have. To be inventive, creative, to learn. To be outside. To take the time to do.

“This book is for those who would rather chop wood than work in an office to pay for gas and electricity.”

I find myself in these words, and I like to believe that we can still have this logic of things, that it is not too late.

I believe in the importance of passing on knowledge and skills, the importance of sharing, always, what has been shared with us, because nothing can compare to that feeling, the one that comes when you have accomplished something yourself, when you are capable. When you have been able to do it.

Thank you for your words, your poetry, and your music that lulled my long days of writing.




Lisa Rovner’s Interview of Alicia Bay Laurel for “Wilder” Magazine’s Summer/Fall 2013 issue

Illustrated with art from Living on the Earth. Lisa is a skillful interviewer!

I am happy to say that I’ve now watched Agnes Varda’s joyously surrealist film about her uncle, my artist mentor, Jean “Yanco” Varda, many times. I also linked it to the page in my online store for the blue on blue t-shirt I designed with the Living on the Earth houseboat pages, which arose from my years living at Gate Five, Sausalito. I made a black and white version of the t-shirt as well, with the movie link there too.
Here’s where I found these pages online:

http://www.messageisthemedium.com/sites/default/files/AliciaBayLaurelWILDERSummer-Fall-Final.pdf

Vote for Being of the Sun in the 2022 COVR Awards Contest

Please vote for Being of the Sun in the “iconic book” section of the Coalition for Visionary Resources contest. The ballot is at: https://covr.org/covr-awards-public-voting/ Deadline is April 24th.

Note from Tracee Dunblazier, the president of COVR:

“The important thing for voters to know is that they cannot navigate away from the ballot once it’s begun. They’ll want to have gone through all the entries in the voter’s guide beforehand. Voters must make a choice in every category, even if it’s ‘none-of-the-above’.”

Here’s where to download the voter’s guide!

Author’s statement:

Behold:

I present for your consideration, Being of the Sun, an un-guide for curating your own path to higher consciousness, originally published in 1973, and re-released last October 2021 by Echo Point Books & Media.

In between then and now, Being of the Sun has done yeoman duty, providing ideas for ceremonies in the wild, chants, drone music and music theory, amusing craft projects, healing practices and freedom from dogmatic concepts to wiccans, pagans, Druids and unnameable other free-spirited beings for decades.

I am Alicia Bay Laurel, the author/illustrator/designer of the best-selling early sustainable living classic, Living on the Earth, which is newly in print in its 50th anniversary, 5th English language edition. I’ve created other illustrated books, fine art, and commissioned illustrations, as well as producing/designing/performing/touring eight albums of original and historic music.

I collaborated in 1972-1973 on the text and the music in Being of the Sun with composer, musician, author and philosopher Ramon Sender Barayón, a friend since 1969. I illustrated, designed and hand-lettered Being of the Sun myself.

You can hear me and Ramón improvising our ecstatic music in the soundtrack of the book trailer for our book, Being of the Sun:

I’ve submitted Being of the Sun as an “iconic” book, because it is, in fact, iconic – it’s not just previously published, but a book that has already moved thousands of people around the world to insist on spiritual creativity, freedom of consciousness, and oneness with nature, over the past 49 years.

Here is the history of the book and reader comments:

Here is the book’s page in my store, Indigo With Stars:

Ramón and I also made a recording of the music from the book. He recorded us on a reel-to-reel tape recorder in 1973. In 2013, I obtained a digital copy of the tape, took it to a recording studio, and had it remastered into a CD.

https://indigowithstars.com/…/songs-from-being-of-the-sun

“Your work still inspires and brings joy to so many!”

Alastair Gordon
Author, Architecture Critic
Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design
New York, New York

“Beautiful Extraordinary Book!”

Brigitte Mars
Herbalist, Professor, Author, Plant Expert, Natural Food Chef

“Alicia Bay Laurel and Ramón Sender Barayón share their vision of yoga, healing, sun songs, moon songs, meditation, ceremonies, communes, solitudes, and more in a how-to format connecting us back to our inner child, naked & free!

“May the holy words found in this book heal the world at a time when we need them most!”

Tracy Conti and Stephen McCarty
Solar Return Shop
Echo Park, Los Angeles, California

“We don’t own or keep much in our lives, but this is one of the most treasured. This book came into our lives and gave us such joy. Wonderful images and genuine words of love and care for the planet and each other. Gratitude each day for the arrival of the Morning Star, bringer of life and joy to each and every living being on this planet.”

Neil and Ness
Getting high on nature


Interview podcast and tea party with herbalist Bianca Scott

Podcast: November 2021 interview of Alicia Bay Laurel by herbalist/skateboarding goddess/millennial bohemian Bianca Scott, broadcast on Spotify.

Writes Bianca: “Alicia Bay Laurel, a pure child of the revolution. We seek the truth as we discuss Alicia’s journey of peace, love, freedom, poltergeists, acid and spirituality. We share our thoughts surrounding The Cockette’s pink velvet cock and balls of sexual anarchy to the power Media has over innocent human beings. For the first time on LifeFlux, I drank tea picked out by my guest. Who would have thought ginger tastes so good in hot water? It was a dream come true to speak with such a bright soul who’s book, Living on the Earth, gave light to my journey just a few years ago. Purchase Alicia Bay Laurel’s handwritten and illustrated, award-winning books and music CDs at aliciabaylaurel.com. If you are human, these books are meant for you. Cheers!”