The title comes from Yitzchak Luria:
"Writing is impossible because all things are related. I can hardly open my mouth to speak without feeling as though the sea burst its dams and overflowed. How then shall I express what my soul has received, and how can I put it down in a book?"
Rather than interpreting that as a cry of despair, or an expression of mystical awe (which is how the good rabbi consciously intended it), Tom Bradley has accepted Yitzy-baby's utterance as a challenge. Allowing the "sea to burst its dams and overflow," acknowledging that "all things are related," he has refused to find writing impossible, and has put it down in this book about writing itself.
Put It Down in a Book is organized in two parts, Theory and Practice. In the former Tom examines the all-relatedness of certain recent fiction and poetry to older literature and scriptures, meanwhile providing an overview of textual transmission, starting with oral-improvised verse and continuing through the mud tablet, the scroll, the codex and the web.
Part Two furnishes practical applications of the theories propounded in Part One. The reader is edified with such works as "Graphic Presidential Sex," "Between You and the Man-sized Prophylactic With the Zipper," "Slimy Pope (On the Succumbing of Karol Wojtyla)," "Holiday in Hiroshima," "Learning From the Smart Dead Beatle’s Bad Example," "Foul Fiend Flibbertigibbet," "How to Buy LSD in Japan"--and, of course, who could forget the ever-poignant "Support the Troops by Giving them Posthumous Boners"?
Put It Down in a Book climaxes with a couple of critical appendices from the estimable Israeli journalist Barry Katz. In an interview he and Tom discuss, among several dozen other things, the commingled themes of mustard and pederasty in his recent Bizarro cult novel, Lemur. And, in "King Kong vs. Godzilla: Tom Bradley Happy-Fucks Osaka," Barry Katz provides reportage of a reading Tom gave in that purgatorial burg. There were motorcycle punks, Yakuza gangsters and extreme rightist fanatics all over the place!
Fission Among the Fanatics is about growing up downwind of hydrogen bomb test sites (the sky turned black as midnight during lunchtime at Tom's kindergarten), and receiving a writerly vocation among Mormon fundamentalists. He ends up pursuing that vocation in exile, among religious nuts of a different stripe, in the most famous nuclear test sites of all: Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It’s a full-circle deal, with an extended stopover of several years in Red China. (Tom was kicked out for political reasons, detailed in the book.)
"This is a book-length tour-de-force essay... and the first appearance of a genre so strange we are turning away from naming it."
-- Andrei Codrescu
"The fetid swamp of patriotism. The vapid legacy of TV culture. The intolerable stench of America's meat-based habits. Tom Bradley has seen it all coming and given it an inimitable voice. His prose delights as it slices and carves. His ideas entertain even as they challenge and provoke. We finally have a term for what falls between fiction and non-fiction: Bradley."
-- Mickey Z., novelist, poet, essayist, and the only person on the planet to appear in a radical book with Noam Chomsky and a karate flick with Billy Blanks.
The title comes from the doughty Megatherion's Autohagiography--
My Hands Were Clean constitutes exactly half of a beast with two backs. The opposite side of this flip book is Dr. Gonzo, in which America's sick approach to mental health is autopsied by the formidably hilarious Deb Hoag, psychiatric missionary among the Mescalero Apaches.
Tom has allowed the honeyed tongues of Dog Horn Publishing to sweet-talk him into compiling a nonfiction anthology. It's entitled--
New Cross-Fucked Musings on a Manic Reality:
Nonfiction of the Enigmatic Polygeneration
This volume is ripe with prime produce sprung from minds that span five decades, but comprise a single literary generation.
And who are the Enigmatic Polygeneration? Tom christened them in Chapter Four of Put It Down in a Book, as follows:
"Digital connectivity has rendered physical locality irrelevant and made polyversality the new thing.... Once space has been erased by the miracle of email, so has time, in terms of its effects on the human frame.... In a creation where particles can spookily act upon each other at a distance of quadrillions of light years, the Seven Ages of Man are as days in the week, and a generation can span an open-ended number of decades... I'll invent a name that's doubly apt, as these writers produce electricity as well as useful heat..."
In this collection, among other delights, you will meet a pornographic ventriloquist and a man who has spent a lifetime getting laid only because he looks like certain famous people. You'll be taken deep into the heads of such gentry as Charles Manson, Jack the Ripper (who, we learn, was actually Bram Stoker), and Kerry Thornley, author of a book about Lee Harvey Oswald published before the Kennedy assassination.
Andrew Gallix will give you a crash course in transgression, and underground press legend Hugh Fox will bring you to understand what it means to have been the small Jewish boy who grew up to become Charles Bukowski's biographer.
Meanwhile, mighty Dave Migman teaches us how to live and die. Fabulous Adam Lowe reveals his misadventures as judge of the Mr. Gay UK pageant. And lovely Deb Hoag...well, as usual, she's got a surprise!