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William J. Craddock and BE NOT CONTENT.

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Stoner humor is a way of giving the finger to consensus reality. That’s what I always liked in Burroughs’s Yage Letters or in Phil Dick’s Scanner Darkly, or William J. Craddock’s Be Not Content. Turning your back on received ideas. Participatory surrealism.

[I’m proud to announce that my Transreal Books publishing company has scored the coup of bringing William J. Craddock’s classic psychedelic novel back into availability. As of June 15, 2012. I reached an agreement with Craddock’s widow, and Be Not Content is now available both as an ebook and as a quality paperback. Go to the Transreal Books page and you can get Craddock’s book in any format directly from us, or you can get it via Amazon. Go here to read my intro to the new edition. Many thanks to all the readers of this blog for your support and encouragement.]

Back to the memories—here’s two old journal excerpts of mine about the book.

(1) Oct 5, 2003. I bought a used book on the web, William J. Craddock, Be Not Content, a book I worshipped in the 1970s, and then lost. I paid too much for this used copy, $140, and it’s not in very good shape, but I just had to own it again. It was pure joy rereading it, I recognized so very many bits that I’ve totally integrated into my worldview, so many kicks and tricks that I used in my own transreal work. What I hadn’t remembered/understood in reading the book in the Seventies is that it’s set in San Jose. It’s a Bildungsroman transreal novel about Craddock’s experiences as an acid-head while a student at San Jose State, 1963-1967.

[4D Painting by David Povilaitis.]

He was born in 1946 like me, and went to college the same years! I wish I could find him and give him a copy of my mirror-world right-coast work in the same vein, on the same period, The Secret of Life. Looking for him on the web reveals only one hit, a reprint of something he had in one of those Authors Lives reference sets back when Be Not Content came out. [Note, I can’t find this link anymore.] He was born in Los Gatos. Was living in the Santa Cruz mountains. Right when I moved here in 1986, I remember seeing a column by him the Santa Cruz free newspaper Good Times. I hope he’s still alive. Maybe I could help get Be Not Content back into print.

I’m always worrying about wasting time, right, and I saw a great line in Be Not Content, the author-narrator Abel Egregore expresses this fear to one of his stoner friends, who guffaws, “Time? How can you waste time?” And I get a little enlightenment there. Time and space, the all-pervasive ineluctable modalities. What’s to waste? You use one second per second no matter what you’re doing. A wonderful teaching.

(2) September 25, 2005. A fan emailed me that Craddock is dead, so today I went to the SJSU library to look up Craddock’s obit. It was on microfilm, San Jose Mercury News, March 20, 2004, a tiny obit written by, I think, his wife Teresa. How little recognition he died with. It was eerie, the microfilms are down in the basement in this new and graphically uncluttered room with an art piece that makes the room look like a mausoleum — the two facing side walls are covered with mirrors set into tiny arched openings like the doors to crypt boxes. Like being in Citizen Kane. I pull open the huge flat metal drawer with ranks and ranks of microfilm boxes, my hand reaches in, plucks out the box with Billy’s obit. Go to the microfilm reader, the same old big clunky kind of machine as ever, grind forward to his the obits on 3/20/04, I’m looking for a big article, but it’s just a little tiny thing, with a picture him looking tired and sad, his eyes hidden in dark sockets.

How bum, how alien, how weird it would be for him to see this microfilm room in a flash-forward, him walking careless and high around the campus forty years ago and suddenly, whoah, he sees the hand pulling out the box of microfilm with its image of his weary, suffering face.

When I go outside, the bell on Tower Hall is ringing an hour, tolling deep and reverberant, the sounds overlapping and forming beats. “It tolls for thee.” I really am going to die, and someone will walk around this campus marveling that Rudy Rucker once trod here, and now is no more, that really and truly is gonna happen. Nobody escapes. William Craddock knew this his whole life long, I think he wrote something like “there is only the one trip, the true trip of life itself.”

It’s not quite accurate to call the book “stoner humor,” by the way. Better to post what Billy said about it on the back cover of his book:

See also his entry in Gale Contemporary Authors in one of the comments below…

In 2009, my friend Nick H., who lives near Boulder Creek, came across Billy’s grave in Soquel and sent me two pictures.

RIP, man.

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65 Responses to “William J. Craddock and BE NOT CONTENT.”

  1. MarcL Says:

    Be Not Content is an unforgettable book. At one point about 20 years ago, Stephen P. Brown was lending his copy around; I was next in line after Gibson. That’s how scarce they were even then. I saw one copy in a used bookshop a few years later–should have snapped it up.

  2. Steve H Says:

    Who knows, Rudy, maybe you’ll be the one guy who doesn’t die. 100 years from now you’ll still be crankin’ ‘em out.

  3. Bruce Sterling Says:

    *You ain’t dead yet, gramps.

    *They just figured out a way to hotwire Alzheimers’ cells.
    You may be kicking it at 95.

  4. hell o Says:

    in Flurb.. The Maria magdalene story was The best!! veery god!!

  5. Rudy Says:

    Interesting post by Paul Di Filippo about Craddock today, regarding his novel Twilight Candelabra.

    I didn’t like Twilight Candelbra as much as Be Not Content, it’s kind of a downer. A coke book instead of an acid book.

    I don’t think I mentioned that I talked to Craddock’s wife Teresa on the phone a couple of years ago—we were put in contact by a biker who was buying Craddock’s hog—and she mentioned that there were still about five of his unpublished novels floating around in manuscript form.

  6. Pat Simmons Says:

    Hey Rudy,

    It was nice to read your thoughts about Bill Craddock. I was close friends with him for many years. I always loved his writings, sense of humor and warm heart. So glad others are still enjoying the books, and are able to see things through his incredibly perceptive vision. He was/is a great person, who I shared many wonderful experiences with. My life is richer because of our friendship. I have had the pleasure of reading (many years ago) some of his unpublished work, and can testify to his continuing greatness as a writer. I hope others will be able to read some of these stories in the near future. Thanks again for mentioning him and his work. All the best to you and your readers.

  7. Tony Susco Says:

    Hi Pat,

    Was so sorry to hear of Bill’s passing. He was a hero in my mind, as well as a truely kind soul. I have read Be Not Content at various stages in my life and it never ceases to amaze and inspire me. Was nice hooking up with you in Reno. Hope all is well. God bless.

  8. Rudy Says:

    Here’s the Gale Contemporary Authors entry on Wm. Craddock from 2002, sent to me by Pete Risley. Thanks, Pete!

    William J(ames) Craddock

    1946-2004

    Nationality: American
    Entry Updated : 02/26/2002
    Place of Birth: San Jose,
    CA

    Personal Information: Family: Born July 16, 1946, in San Jose, CA; son of William O. (an executive) and Camille J. (Hatch) Craddock; married Carole Anne Bronzich, November 27, 1967 (divorced); married Teresa Lynn Thorne (a fashions buyer), July 27, 1975. Education: Attended San Jose State College (now University), 1964-67. Politics: None. Religion: None. Avocational Interests: Motorcycles, collecting antique firearms, writers (including Peter S. Beagle, Philip K. Dick, and Anne Steinhardt), paintings of Richard Dadd, drawings of Martin Van Maele and George Metzger, and miniature replicas of human skulls.
    Memberships: National Rifle Association, National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, Lompico Volunteers, Night Riders Motorcycle Club (secretary-treasurer, 1966-67; vice-president, 1967–). Addresses: Office: 2872 Chesterfield Dr., Santa Cruz, CA 95062. Agent: Joan Stewart, William Morris Agency, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019.

    Career:
    Writer. Worked as ditch digger, 1962.

    WRITINGS BY THE AUTHOR:

    • Be Not Content, Doubleday, 1970.

    • Twilight Candelarba, Doubleday, 1972.

    Author of unpublished novels, including “Backtrack, ” 1970, “The Fall of Because, ” 1973, “The Fading Grass, ” 1975, and “A Passage of Shadows, ” 1976. Columnist for Los Gatos-Saratoga Times Observer, 1963-67. Contributor of articles to periodicals, including Easyriders, and to other publications, sometimes under pseudonym William James. Editor and publisher of Mobius Strip, 1966-67.

    Sidelights

    Craddock told CA: “Doubleday tentatively accepted Be Not Content in 1968. They asked me to omit certain chapters detailing the effects of LSD-25 and revise various `too esoteric’ passages they felt would be `incomprehensible to the reading public. . . which is’–they reminded me–`largely unfamiliar with drugs or the underground drug culture.’ (Even in 1968 I thought they were being just a bit conservative–but didn’t wanna argue the point.)

    “While waiting for the anticipated wild joy of actual publication I wrote a second and much longer novel (intended as a sequel and wrap-up of Be Not Content) entitled `Backtrack, ‘ which followed the first book’s main characters through the disillusioning reentry years immediately after the winter
    of 1967 and the death of hippie-hope. This grand opus was rejected after due consideration.”

    After Craddock received an advance for his novel Twilight Candelabra, he “moved back into the mountains where, for the next three years, I did any number of things besides write. I managed to do a short and admittedly unmarketable book called `The Fall of Because, ‘ a satire overlaying a serious
    allegorical treatment of `modern magick, ‘ which was submitted to and rejected by Doubleday, thereby meeting and completing my second contract with them.

    “I remarried and was moved (not to say enticed) to a lovely old house above Los Gatos, CA, where I wrote a novel about the transitional early 1970′s entitled `The Fading Grass.’ From the `quaint village of my birth, ‘ my wife and I then moved to the Santa Cruz mountains and, once settled, I did an occult novel called `A Passage of Shadows.’ ”

    Craddock has attempted to resolve the dilemma of his unpublished manuscripts by acquiring an agent. “In the meanwhile–having stumbled past my thirtieth birthday, somewhat less enthusiastic than I was ten years ago about the idea of filling pages with cloudy reflections of personal visions, suddenly able to
    report `nostalgic Americana’ firsthand in the wake of a motorcycle accident that put me in the hospital for the first time in a decade-and-a-half of constant riding, still unable to adjust my waking hours with the sun–I have begun a book on certain selected people throughout history who fall (usually inadvertently) into a particular category.”

    Source: Contemporary Authors
    Online,
    Gale, 2002.
    Gale Database: Contemporary Authors.

  9. Dan Pulcrano Says:

    Rudy, thanks for posting the note about Bill Craddock. I hadn’t heard that he died. I chatted with him many times during visits to the Classic Motorcycles shop that Pat Simmons owned on Mission Ave. in Santa Cruz, and I remember his newspaper column. He lived on Pat’s property for a while, before Pat moved to Hawaii. He was a nice guy and I’m saddened to hear he’s gone.

  10. Bill Compton Says:

    Hi Jim. Photos i received. Thanks

  11. ALan Goldstein Says:

    How interesting that so many people, including myself, that have such vivid and fond memories of reading Bill Craddocks book Be Not Content (I read it in 1970 or ’71 while living in Redwood Estates) have just now learned of his passing three years ago. What drew me to the Internet to Goggle in William Craddock? What brought on a wave of memories of the years 1970 to 1972, of those who shared experiences, mostly pot and acid induced, in the Santa Cruz Mountains? Why did I suddenly have a need to job my memory even to recall Bill’s first name, and fail at recalling the name of his great novel? Maybe it was my 61st b-day and finding out I would need a drug to control high blood pressure. Or maybe it was a PBS film on “the Hippies” that I found kindly to those of us who never reached either a state of enlightenment or contentment (I would have to reread Bill’s novel to know if that was to be expected), and perhaps wasted a good deal of our potential in the trying. Who knows? All I can say is that I am glad I took the time to do the googling, sad that Bill’s life ended at such an early age, and happy that there are others still out there that remember Be Not Content as the holy grail of the 60′s.

  12. lex Says:

    I find your site/blog really interesting, and I am wondering how we can get his books back into print?! I read Be Not Content in high school (’00) and recently again last year, and its always been a favorite of mine. I think its really powerful, & important for the current times. I appreciate what you have put together here.

    Peace.

  13. M. C. Jones Says:

    I had wondered over the years what had become of WJC. B/c of Google, and my increasing satisfaction from looking up old books and movies, including the very esoteric, an old curiosity struck me, about the author of TC, which I had bought in paperback in the early 70s at a college bookstore b/c it just seemed to jump out at me, as I was fresh back from the Marines (in the rear with the gear). TC is one of the few books I have read more than once (e.g., The Crying of Lot 49; Remembrances; Love in the Time of Cholera; One Two Three Infinity; The Immense Journey, several others), mainly b/c I thought that the narrative was either autobiographical or pure inventive genius, or both. It was at once shocking and realistic. It has been nearly 40 years, but who could write those passages about Damon Dusk and Herwoman and all the rest without having been there? Something in this man’s testosterone and acid addled delirium resonated with my view of a desperately confused, endangered world. I knew he was a spokesman for the times we were going through. Thanks to Google, and the details provided by his widow’s website and others, I was saddened to learn of his death, but even more saddened to learn that he hadn’t found the following and support he deserved. I shared some of those 60′s experiences, in my own oblique way. WJC pushed the boundaries of literature and consciousness, but his success depended on the psychedelic intelligence of his readership, which proved wanting. I have not read Be Not Content (which I had never heard of until this web search), but I will. I don’t think the vision is dead, just dormant, and its relevance will only be plain as the conditions become more horrible. WJC understood the violence inherent in human nature and knew that to effectively moralize against it, to advance civilization, you must first draw attention to reality. I am glad I Googled him. It sews up some loose ends. I’m sorry I never knew him. I will find “Be Not Content”, b/c if it is better than TC (as the reviewers say), it is worth a read 35 years later.

  14. Alan Says:

    I recently made a list of my top 20 lifetime books. My criteria include being a book that I’ve held on to, that I’ve often recommended to others, and that I’ve reread often. My list is mostly non-fiction.
    One of the few novels on the list is “Be Not Content”. It moves me in ways that few other books have ever done. I’m saddened that it is so hard to find, as it makes my recommendation almost meaningless.

  15. Jackie Says:

    Yes, thanks so much for this blog. I read Be Not Content in about 1971 in a typical house of that time, probably 8 or 10 of us living in a cabin at Donner Lake. The book disappeared before I had the chance to finish it, and I’ve never found another copy, but it had a huge influence on me and my thought processes as well. Its quality of introspection is missing from nearly all modern work–and people, too. I’ve been fascinated reading your blog and the comments after it.

  16. Rudy Says:

    I appreciate all the positive comments about Bill Craddock’s work.

    I have been trying to get a few publishers to reissue BE NOT CONTENT, but so far none of them seems to be going for it.

    I still hope someone will step up, if they can get a contract with Bill’s widow Teresa (and help her revert the rights from Doubleday).

    Although a big legit publisher would best, if all else fails, maybe a small wildcat press could do it. Kevin Kelly has an article “Book Yourself” in the Uploads section of issue #12 of MAKE magazine describing how it really is quite easy to publish a book in POD (Print On Demand) and ebook format. The article isn’t online, but there is a little stub with links to the sites mentioned in the article.

  17. Doug Pulling Says:

    Billy Craddock’s passing was not overlooked by those who knew him well. Some memorials were posted in 2004 by members of his high school class:

    http://vintage64.blogspot.com

    Those of you who are interested in his writing may get a better picture of his true self in these remembrances. Scroll through the articles to find those about WJC.

  18. vd jr Says:

    wow , do i remember bill wild bill cradoock —? ? ? —–> yes , los gatos times obsever employee ( me ) —> i thought he was WILD BILL ——> I GREW UP

  19. vd jr continues Says:

    we lived in the santa cruz mts read his LGTO column , doobie bros ? sure , we knew everyone , chateau , lexington school alumn , LGHS , alma , newts , REDWOODS , ———-> why did i google his name > ??? who gave me a computer ? sorry to see he passed -0——-> i think i must have met mr craddock at the office ? its all fuzzy , T-Observer , Mr Held ? dateline , mt shasta

  20. Carol Helander Says:

    On a whim after bits of “Be Not content” zizzed through my aging brain, I googled it and found that Craddock is no longer here. I remember him sitting in the funky but cool old house my room mate (Barbie Sussman) and I shared in the foothills of east San Jose surrounded by abandoned orchards (likely all tract homes now) in ’71. At 19, I was younger than the handful of humans hanging out (one couple were “characters” in the book and cheerfully giving him flack about the literary liberties he took) and was in a sort of awe. He was beautiful and funny as hell. A movie starring Sophia Loren was on and he went into a rant about how lovely Sophia could be with that “little old fat guy”. He was intense and hilarious. A couple months after that, the house caught afire and burned down. I married a musician in a band with another “character” David Anderly (?) from the book. Left San Jose and never saw Bill again and have no friends or family in San Jose now so never go near it. I also remember Pat Simmons at Barbie’s place. I was hoping he was still riding and writing.

  21. Jeff Gabrielson Says:

    If someone (not between the ages of 55-65) asked me about the 60s “Be Not Content” would be the book I would reccomend. I so indetified with the book that I actually grew a beard because of the cover and I have had a full beard ever since.

    I am optimistc that humans will eventually find there way again, and that the ideas, questions, themes and truths found in “Be Not Content” will be seen as prophetic.
    Jeff
    Boulder County Colorado eqhex@yahoo.com

  22. Randal Says:

    I read Be Not Content way back when and it was the real deal then and still is. Have been looking for a copy for nearly 30years but no luck. Hope a publisher is found soon. A mighty mighty book both for the narrative and the ethos which has gone the way of all good things in this mad world of post modern nihilism. Am not a publisher but one might be found here?

  23. Dianne Says:

    I was studying for finals at Library East at UF sometime in the early 70′s and saw the red re-bound copy of Be Not Content on the jammed shelves in front of me. I barely withstood the urge to start reading it right then, but blowing off finals was out of the question that quarter at least, so I contiued my studying with thought that as soon as my last final was done I would reward myself with reading that book. I LOVED it. I enjoyed it more than Electric Cool Aide Acid Test, Remember Be Here Now, High Priest, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and On The Road. Over the years, I could only rarely remember the title and never recall the author, but never forgot that very cool book. And here is a Blog. Love the Internet. I hope to find a copy some day. I want to re-live that experience so much. Good luck to you all and if anyone finds copy lets try to do an e-book!!

  24. joe smathers Says:

    I read the book, in high school, 1970 I think, a bunch of us passsed a copy around. We did a lot of stuff, my favorite line was “it dosen’t matter what you do in life as long as you do it with a soul”, the internet amazes me.

  25. joe smathers Says:

    I got it wrong “a little more soul”

  26. Ashley Brown Says:

    I just read Be Not Content last night… AMAZING. I stumbled across a mere listing of it on a website and became curious and, after discovering copies ran upward of fifty bucks (I think I’m willing to shell out this much now, I gotta own a copy), I was delighted to find it at the Kansas City library. Being 24 I can’t lay claim to specific nostalgia in regards to the decade, but of course psychedelic experiences are timeless… he was a totally beautiful writer. What I wouldn’t give to read the sequel… it’s a total tragedy that such a book has withered into obscurity since its original publication. I feel certain that there must be a publisher, if only small-time, who would recognize its value as both firsthand cultural ‘document’ and superb memoir.

  27. Carol McGrath Says:

    Was recently telling my college going son about the wonderful story, Be Not Content, and decided to read it again. Had no idea it was so difficult to find and am glad to have treasured my copy all these years. Never knew the man but ran the same streets, mountains, campus at the same time, so identified completely with the trip. Sure walked some similar drug paths. Sorry to hear of his passing, but so glad to see the following he has retained decades after. Far out.

  28. Carlo D'Anna Says:

    I grew up in San Jose and lived in Santa Cruz at about the same time William did. I am a bit younger than he was, but had almost a parallel situation with some of his book Be Not Content. In our cadre of friends we had about two copies passing around that we would read in our travels to the mountains or beaches. It was read and quoted many times, though it would be hard to emulate. There was some mythical LSD experiences related in the book as I recall. Most of us were a bit too frightened by the edgy places Williams character went with his mind. I seem to remember, when I lived in Santa Cruz seeing William riding around in a sportscar convertible, his blond hair flying behind him. Someone was always saying he was spotted here and there. A good friend of mine still has one of the copies of the book. The book is so rare now, it costs up to $500 to get a nice copy.

  29. morgannelear Says:

    I lived with Andy Piercy/Pearcy in San Jose while Bill was writing his book. His mother had a nice little chateau in Los Gatos that we used to make love in after we broke up. In Bill’s first book, Andy was the crazy one who counted his brain cells popping alllllll of the time. He wasn’t crazy, he was just a philosopher. But everything that Bill said about him used to drive Andy a bit crazy.
    Are you still out there Andy????
    Anne

  30. Chas. J. Bruske Says:

    Roger Winthrope introduced me to Be Not Content in 1970. We were attending a small university in central Wisconsin. The book resonated with those of us who were having similar thoughts and experiences. A friend of mine found a copy of Be Not Content, in Seattle thirty years ago, and I found Twilight Candelabra in a small bookstore in Eugene, Oregon, a couple of years later. I have shared them with friends and acquaintances over the years. Craddock captured the essence of the mid-1960′s. My condolences to the friends and family of William.
    PS
    Is there any interest/activity to document Craddock’s life in film?

  31. Dark Voice Says:

    hey rudy..thanks so much for info re: billy craddock…such a good soul..when i think of all the wasted millions gone thru that idiot thompson’s greedy fingers. “good doctor” indeed, hah!..and then bill’s fate (who could write rings around that nixon freak s., it just makes me sad….but being an old “prankster”, one of the few remaining, i understand, having been very close to neal ..and his buddy ginzy..and of course dear old william s….and hunkey,

    it’s very rare the good ones ever escape obscurity…and maybe thats for the best. i sure had a close chance to see what that “blinding horror show fame” did to kesey…not pretty….and all those poor hippy kids in prison so that scum garcia could cut a deal with the govt. to keep him in heroin….like ken said once to me..”we have to face the fact that we failed”..and i said, ken, those jerks that run the so called music industry did very well by us. he laughed, good old country boys that we were.

    but regarding bill….i live in japan..have a copy of both of bill’s books, and many friends in the small press publishing circle for magick in the u.k…
    and would love to bring out a very high quality bootleg of them.

    screw doubleday..their doin to billy what that scum allen klein did to jodorowsky’s films…killing the work….burying it deeper than lovecraft’s corpses..

    at least that would get billy’s work our where it belongs..

    and if it made any money i could send it to his widow…

    maybe you could figure a way to recover the other manuscripts from doubleday..being a published and acclaimed writer yourself.

    i don’t seem to be able to connect with teresa thru the link you provided or thru google.

    would love to be able to talk with her.

    by the way, my scooter of choice was NORTON…and i rode with the angels for 1964-1968 without ever gettin beaten..course i never betrayed their trust like that junky/cheapdrunk thompson.

    in fact, the night of the famous “merry pranksters welcome the hell’s angels ” party in la honda, i was gettin extreamly high with my biker buddies, red mountain juice and such, while that scum thompson never even showed his face…dispite all the lies he wrote about bein there that night..and i know this for a fact since we all saw in the dawn together…and miss thompson was no where in site…neither was kesey for that matter…he was safe inside the cabin with faye and the kids…..thanks to a supply of owsley i had (white lightning) it was the most peaceful hell’s angels gathering ever.

    feel free to write me..

    best

    william

  32. Rudy Says:

    “Dark Voice” — Interesting to see your comments on Billy Craddock’s history of our times.

    I have a spam filter that dumps messages with cursing into the spam bucket, and only happened to save yours by chance. 99.9% of messages with bad words are porn ads, which is why I filter them out.

    I did talk to Teresa once, and I do still dream of getting a small press to re-issue Billy’s masterpieces. We’ll see what’s further down the road.

  33. Carlo D'Anna Says:

    Hello all again. I finally found a copy of Be Not Content at an obscure online auction. At a very reasonable price! When it arrived, I held it in my hands reverently, like it was an ancient Sanskrit manuscript freshly excavated from a tomb.
    I promptly encased the book with a protective cover and set it amongst the other eldrich tomes in the library.
    Thanks, Rudy for the chance to read all these great comments about a wonderful book.
    Carlo

  34. Tom Morrissey Says:

    Just ran across this site tonight…sorry to hear of William’s passing. Read both books as soon as they were available; worked in several bookstores in the early ’70s and always managed to put them on display. I was so taken by Be Not Content – ’cause it was real and seemed to be about us that I wrote him (I lived in Illinois at the time- a lot of us on a farm). The best thing was that he wrote back and we kept a fairly regular correspondence up for about a year. Never had a chance to meet but the letters were a treasure…alas the letters disappeared long ago and many moves ago. Last summer drove from SF to Seattle and thought about William/Billy every time we saw a lone biker on the road. Thanks for this website Rudy.
    Tmo

  35. Brian Segal Says:

    I ran across this site last night. I read Be Not Content in the early 1970s. The book was being passed around a group of us. Probably it was being shared the same way by many people. I tried to find a copy recently but no luck at all.Hearing of William Craddock’s passing brought back alot of memories of those crazy times.If I found a copy of it I would give it to my wife to read. She is a number of years youger then me and I thought it would at least give her a taste of those years that now seem so long past.

  36. Drv Says:

    i knew billy before i knew my sister an brother. form the age of 5 billy and i were best friends. this was a friendship that lasted untill his death. he and i shared a deep conection and closeness that endured time and distance. i knew billy in a way few if any others did.

  37. Chris Arana Says:

    I went to High School with Billy! I was the good girl dork and he was the bad boy!! I loved him and we were friends! The hilite of my life was when he gave me a ride on his “hog”!! I will remember him forever! Have a mirror and matching scones he made me in 1965!! I have his book and need a copy of his obituary to make our circle complete. Love to all who knew him!

  38. william Says:

    hello rudy…..i tried bill’s widow’s site, but all i get is one page in japanese. i would like to help get bill’s other books published, but i can’t find a connection to her. can you help me? as someone who was there in those days with bill…
    a merry prankster as a matter of fact, i have a more that literary interest in bill’s work…i know the terrain very well.
    i tested acid for owsley, was on the bus, good friends with neal cassady and co. (ginzy, bill burroughs et all) and survived to tell the tale…p.s i found a copy of your book (postsingular) and am enjoying it..best regards, william

  39. william Says:

    hey rudy..thanks for the post..i forgot about that mail i sent you in feb. glad i didn’t kick off the censor this time. i hope some one responds to my words..especialy those folk who knew billy as a friend…i think bill’s work is more important than ever, since there seems to be a whole new generation of hip kids looking for some answers to the big question. i really don’t know of any books on the s.f.60′s that were actually written by someone who was there…best, william

  40. Michael Witkin Says:

    Thanks for posting the obit, Rudy. I was two years ahead of Craddock at LGHS. Many of my friends from class of ’62 hung with him. I never met him, but could have recognized him by sight.

  41. alan vlautin Says:

    So nice to see how others have been touched and illuminated, even, by Bill’s presence and writing. I am sure this is a great comfort to Teresa. My wife and I were far away and could not attend the services to our sorrow. Below are the words I sent in our place trying to convey the unique beauty and wisdom of my friend.

    Life provides some blessings. Friendship and love are at the top of my list. Bill Craddock’s friendship is an enduring blessing in my life. Besides being a reliable and true friend, his gift of cutting through the cant, puffery, hypocrisy and outright lies that entangle public and private discourse further enlightened and made me a more worthy opponent of pinheads in positions of authority and pious fools who hold forth as our religious and political leadership. Bill, through some inherent sensibility, sought alternative means of reaching the personal and moral strength needed to go past the crap that befuddles and comprises our desires to lead a good life. In his writing and discourse there was humor, joy and a level of honesty that commended him to the Gods, if not all others. Bill succeeded in life. He loved and was loved, very deeply.

    Bill and I met in the heydays of the 60s at San Jose State College. We were both occasional contributors to the college newspaper. Sharing common purists and interests, Bill, several others, and myself launched an alternative student newspaper, “The Mobius Strip”, which only through Bill’s level headed dedication and hard work published several issues, delighting our contemporaries, annoying authorities and cementing our friendship. Over the years Bill and I shared adventures and confidences. I always knew he had, for me, the honest word and good advice. In 1984, I convinced him to travel to down to southern Mexico to a little town I’d been visiting for several years. In the course of revels there I fell in love with a beautiful woman from Quebec. Agonizing over the perils of a long distance romance when we both returned to our native climes, Bill, with his always-quick common sense, told me “Al, Just marry the lady”. That advice, well taken then, enriches my life from that day. Bill remained Paule’s and my most treasured friend till the day of his passing.

    Bill was never a self-promoter of his work or embellished his experiences in his writing to pump his image up. His was a straightforward attempt to describe and document, not analyze, our times, our dreams, foolishness and heartfelt attempts to achieve change in our selves and our society. His first novel, “Be Not Content”, clearly delineated this and his second published work, “Twilight Candelabra”, uniquely foreshadowed the outlaw scenarios and riffs that infuse much of today’s mainstream and alternative literature and film. Someday, I hope, his other works, that his forever loving wife, Teresa, has carefully conserved will have a wider audience to appreciate his uncommon ability to describe walking barefoot through those existential streets of our youth, over the shards of the shattered realities, their jagged edges sparkling at our feet, shimmering in time to the music in our souls.

    Yea, it was something like that and it went by pretty quick but there is a flame that still burns and won’t go out, like love and friendship. May your blessings be many and may you have friends like Bill.

  42. Dagny Says:

    I had such a big crush on Billy, his bike (I think it was a knuckel head) was so nice. I let mutual friends talk me into buying Billy’s old black “36″ Chevy coop from him even though I had no drivers licence or the ability to drive. I have thought about him from time to time and was sad to hear he passed away. I am grateful to have known him……… so long ago.

  43. Robert T Says:

    I read both of WJC’s books in the early 1980s. We found a copy of Be Not Content in the UC Berkeley library and a copy of Twilight Candelabra in a used book store. The descriptions of the hopes and dreams of folks in “Be Not Content” are really evocative and very poignant. I felt like it really informed me (coming of age in the post-punk years) about what the hippie years (a mere 15 years and yet a world away it seemed) were all about to the young people who lived them. Be Not Content made a big impression on me at the time. I was moved to read how those thoughtful emotionally open kids, hatefully lambasted by so many of their elders as immoral for their drug use and sexual behavior, were really trying to apply Jesus’s teachings of peace, love, and universal brotherhood to life in the wildly immoral years of war, police crackdowns, and assassinations. If only those mean cops could have been made to understand.

    I would dearly love to reread them. And the unpublished works (unless they are truly unsuitable for publication). Is there any way to cajole/ encourage/ persuade Teresa into putting those books out there? The internet makes it possible to distribute writings without reliance on a publisher.

    Failing that, what if someone scanned copies of the two published works and put ‘em out there on the net? Maybe send them to the Gutenberg Project? If they will never be published again then no money would be lost by anyone and the books might find new and wider audiences. In not too many more years they’ll turn 50 and become officially public domain, right?

    RIP WJC. Thanks for recording your personal social history so eloquently. Your work really deserves wider readership.

  44. Victor Koman Says:

    I grew up in Los Gatos, a wonderful town in which to be a kid, and read Bill Craddock’s weekly column, The Vicious Cycle, in the Los Gatos Times-Observer. Dig into those microfilms for a real trip! I remember thinking “Wow! If a leather-clad biker can write a thoughtful, articulate series of essays, then I have to accept people at a far deeper level than face-value.” While I never came across his books, I always wondered how he’d gotten along in life. Sorry to learn of his passing. And I’m glad a fellow author was touched by his words.

  45. Heavypsychman Says:

    Does anyone have a Pdf file of this book? If so send to my email address or contact my blog

    Peace

  46. Anonymous Says:

    On William J. Craddock:

    Hi Ruddy!

    I was about 17 or 18 years old when I first read Willy J.’s book “Be Not Content!”…it profoundly affected me…as did Leary/Alpert/Metzner’s “Psychedelic Experience” and later on Alpert’s “Be Not Content”…I am now nearing 60 in 2012…DO THE MATH!…what do you think I was doing back then?…anyway…this guy was so “under-appreciated” …”back in the day”…anyway…that is “a long time gone” (C/S/Nash& Y)…if you are young or old…”dialed in” or “not”…this is a goody!

  47. Andy Hy Says:

    I’d forgotten that Bill was a water sign, Cancer. Creativity, sensitivity…
    Two days separate our birthdays, though several years.
    I first read Be Not Content in either late 1970, or early 71. It was assigned reading by my San Jose City College professor, Dr. Robert Weston. Dr. Weston had the book available thru the SJCC bookstore, and though I lost the first copy (hardback) to a fire, a friend of mine found another copy in a used bookshop in StaCruz and I still have it. Also have a copy of Twilight Candelabra. (thanks to Marcella Rawley!) I’d been riding motocycles since age 15, but bought my first Harley in 1975 largely as a result of Bill’s writings/influence. Had lots of good times at the Chatz, some of which I remember.
    Used to go to Pat’s shop up on the North Side but mostly hung out in The Pit. Nasty places with little soul like the Side Pocket, Towne House, Pot Belly, but also kool places like the Club Bella, and a funky downtown Campbell dancehall with live music, the name of which escapes me.
    I agree with many of the posts above that BNC needs to be republished. It’s a classic tale and should be part of an English Lit/American author study. San Jose State chould help with bucks or connections somehow, seeing as it’s Bill’s alma mater.

    Still livin’ in Lost Gatos….

  48. Rudy Says:

    Thanks, all, for the comments on Bill and BE NOT CONTENT. At one point I was able to get in touch with Bill’s widow Teresa, but now I’ve lost track of her. I still agree that it would be great to get BE NOT CONTENT back into print, if only as an ebook. And I always wonder about the unpublished sequel that Bill is said to have written.

    Have a great 2012, everyone. Here’s a useful thought that I came across in some of my old notes:

    I’m always worrying about wasting time, right, and I saw a great line in BE NOT CONTENT. The author-narrator Abel Egregore expresses this fear to one of his stoner friends, who guffaws, “Time? How can you waste time?” And I get a little enlightenment there. What’s to waste? You use one second per second no matter what you’re doing. So relax.

  49. Doug Vieyra Says:

    Met him once. I was seeing his sister Diane at the time (1960), and enjoyed both their home in Los Gatos and his mom, who was very nice to a young fellow. His father (also named Bill (William), at the time, as I remember (it has been a few years) was a General in (I think) the Marines Corps. Young Bill was a blurr of whorlling energy, dashing to and fro in a hurried rush to experience, consume and explore all things. I remember thinking “What a contrast between the older Bill and the younger Bill”. His sister Diane said that young Bill showed promise. He was writing even then. But I had no interest then (or now) in young Bill. Only his sister Diane was of interest to me.

  50. Tim Says:

    Boy, does this bring back memories. I was best friends with Marty Piercy (Andy’s younger brother) in high school, before he went crazy and attacked his mother, ending up in the psych wards forever after. I also played guitar for Byron Kanney in about 1969 or so. These two guys were Able and Brian in Be Not Content. Yes, the book is incredible; a lot like the On The Road for the 60s. What is interesting is it is written out of the experience, not about the experience. I think that is what makes it so classic, and so phenomenal.

  51. Tim Says:

    worldcat.org finds any book, in any library, anywhere. Be Not Content is in many libraries and apparently there is an online edition.

  52. Rudy Says:

    Thanks for the tip, Tim. worldcat.org indeed turns up a lot of print copies of Be Not Content in libraries. The “ebook” copies that worldcat turns up don’t seem to be real ebooks in the current sense of the word, that is, they’re PDF scans that may live in some university libraries. I haven’t figured out how to get at these scans, but I’ll look into that a little more.

    There IS one of these scans on Google books, but you can’t actually READ it in the sense of going from page to page, all you can is search for words in it, and find passages, which is kind of interesting, but the basic problem of creating an ebook edition isn’t yet solved.

    I have some hopes of helping Bill’s family to put out a true ebook edition in the next year or so—something that anyone can buy at a reasonable price and then read on their Kindle or NOOK or smartphone or PC. We’ll see how it goes.

  53. Rudy Says:

    Good news! Today I met with Billy’s widow, Teresa Craddock, and we reached an agreement for me to epublish BE NOT CONTENT as an ebook in the Kindle, NOOK, and other formats. I’ll be working through my new endeavor, Transreal Books, where I recently published my own Complete Stories.

    I hope to have BE NOT CONTENT up as an ebook by June.

  54. shawn Says:

    I have had a copy of this book for decades and have read it several times, classic work needs to be republished.

  55. LC Smith Says:

    Thanks for your dedication in this Rudy. Though I have 4 or 5 copies around the house it makes me happy that the book I caried like a bible will be there for others. I can only think of one or two other books that I would give to people if I felt they would “get” it and tell them to read it and pass it on to another like soul. Thanks again Rudy

  56. Gene Avery Says:

    reverberating theme, the Great Book that was pass’d around by like-mind’d frends – i’m in the “karass” too – Carmichael near Sacramento CA ’69 or 70 hair past my shoulders going almost everywher barefoot (except when i show’d-up for work @ Elliot’s Health-Foods)
    & BE NoT CONTENT shone like LiQuid Platinum in our living-room, kitchen, backyard w/compost-pile & Big Family Garden – everybody read it – I’m stunn’d w/Reverence to reMembR, Uncle John’s Band on the daily juke – I sat in a green-corduroy easy-chair by living plants in sunshine from the lace-curtain’d doubl-window READING, LIVING
    wm J Craddok’s share’d DREAM-QUEST, he was the kind of writer who could “alchemy” the reader into LIVING the pages – the characters he describe’d, he turn’d 3 or 4 into totems or logos / guess I’m trying to say Human-Family Archetypes – he share’d Respect & Love for all Family, tho’ wher he was Questing he had to go Alone – & we went with him thru Da Booke – like many posts here i too lost contact with the book-title, author’s name, & nostalgic-murmurs would visit me thru the years (ther’s something oddly NOSTALGIC about contents of the whole novel) but for the “life of me” I cdn’t recall name nor title – had to make do with Kenneth Patchen’s JOURNAL of ALBION M00NLITE (which offer’d plenty nutrients of its own) AND THEN lo; in Sept just before the Twin Towers I’m in Sacra Central Library & in an aisle the book LIGHTS UP like 33 light-bulbs from a shelf & THER IT IS – I recognize’d name & title immediately – checkt it out & reREAD it – it was like stumbling on 23 or more lovely fly-agarics resting under shade of Cedar – wow – all the juices still intact as I effortlessly turn’d the pages, savoring ….I’v got to read every title the man wrote
    another dog-ear’d paperback that got pass’d-around was VOYAGE to ARCTURUS

  57. Zuck Says:

    Bill Craddock now has a Facebook page:

    http://www.facebook.com/WIlliamJCraddock

  58. Zuck Says:

    Billy now has a Facebook page!

    Username is /WIlliamJCraddock

  59. Gregg Catanese Says:

    Great article about Bill Craddock by Dan Pulcrano in this weeks San Jose Metro!

    Not up as of right now on metroactive.com, but might be soon ?

  60. Rudy Says:

    Here’s the online San Jose METRO arcticle about Billy and BE NOT CONTENT
    http://www.metroactive.com/features/bill-craddock-be-not-content.html

    And here’s the new Facebook page about Billy, although I think you need to sign onto Facebook to see it
    https://www.facebook.com/WIlliamJCraddock

  61. Otto Pylot Says:

    Thanks to you and Teresa Craddock, I now have a new paperback copy of BNC to replace my well read, but long since lost, original copy. Having walked the very same streets under very similar conditions, the memories just flooded back after reading (re-reading) BNC. Finished it last night, put the book down with a sigh, closed my eyes, and reflected on past times, past lives, and lost friends. I sincerely hope that an intact copy of Backtrack can be found and published to help close the circle.

  62. Leslie T. Levin Says:

    So, I turned sixty years on planet earth a few months ago. I have lived a very respectable and (for the most part) a very straight-laced life. Whenever I feel a need to get in touch with my spirit, the keeper of my true self, I always hark back to my encounter with Be Not Content. I remeber the excitement that I felt when I read the first few pages. I remember the elation that I experienced when I read the last page. I knew then that I would carry the memory of that experience with me throughout my life. And, indeed, I have. I have often wondered what happened to my copy of the book. I believe I lost it in an apartment fire about thirty five years ago. Sometimes, I go into a local bookstore and search for a used copy, but have never come across one…but what a wonderful memory to have carried with me, like an old friend….

  63. Tony Susco Says:

    My thanks to whoever is responsible for the Kindle edition of Be Not Content.

  64. Otto Pylot Says:

    Anything new on finding/obtaining Backtrack?

  65. Rudy Says:

    Otto, I talked to Teresa Craddock about BACKTRACK several times, but it does seem to be lost. Possibly in a house fire. She let me look at one of the later unpublished novels, THE FADING GRASS, and it seems in some respects autobiographical like BE NOT CONTENT, but it’s from a post-psychedelic and sadder time.


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