The Aylett Project: Rachel Kendall Interviews Bill Ectric

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Rachel Kendall of Sein und Werden interviewed me about the new collection of essays on the work of Steve Aylett, edited by me and D. Harlan Wilson. Here’ an excerpt:

Rachel Kendall: A number of writers in the anthology refer to Aylett as a writers’ writer. What does that mean to you, and do you think it is significant?
Bill Ectric: Serious writers do a lot of reading. We pay attention to style, theme, and plot. We’ve seen just about every variation of theme and plot imaginable. We’ve seen detailed flowery prose and terse compact sentences; romanticism, realism, modernism, postmodernism, and all manner of genres and sub-genres. Steve Aylett, apparently bored with what’s gone before, moves past it all, often in a humorous way. Other writers get it. It’s not that he disdains what has come before him, he just doesn’t want to read what seems to him as the same books over and over again. Here’s one example: A few years ago I got interested in astronomer/alchemist John Dee and his working relationship with spirit medium/occultist Edward Kelley. I read books, articles, and essays on these men. Much later, in the Appendix to Aylett’s Shamanspace, I found a single sentence that cracked me up with laughter, because it summarized everything I’d read about Dee and Kelley with, “Elizabethan alchemist John Dee witnessed the scarab star of god blooming with a creak from the wooden table at Clerkenwell – a vision immediately waylaid by the arrival of unwitting holy man Edward Kelley who wasted years of Dee’s time with useless signs and wonders.” It was like, that’s all you need to know! You know?  If I call someone a “guitarist’s guitarist” it means that because I play the guitar, I can see just what they are doing, even though I can’t do it myself. Maybe I can learn to do it, but I would have never thought of it.

Time Adjusters on Sein und Werden: The Joy of Encountering a Great Editor

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Having been in the self-publishing business for a number of years, it’s been a joy to work with a professional editor,  in the person of Rachel Kendall of Sein und Werden, who actually showed a personal interest in my work. I’m happy to announce that my novella, Time Adjusters, has been selected by Sein und Werden to be featured as a free download. Before submitting the story to Sein und Werden, I had rewritten parts of it and added additional material, including the introduction that includes references to William S. Burroughs. With the keen editing advice of Ms. Kendall, I believe Time Adjusters is better than ever.

Check it out here

Words are Flowing Across Paper Shores of a Wine Dark Sea

Above: The book cover of Scarabocchio and a picture of Grace Andreacchi outside the Church of San Zacccaria in Venezia in winter 2008, merged into a painting by Theobald von Oer called Der Weimarer Musenhof (The Weimer Court of the Muses). Painted in 1860, it depicts Johann Schiller speaking to a group of people, including Goethe, to the right. Wikipedia says this picture is in the public domain. We’ll see.

Listen to the first line of Scarabocchio, by Grace Andreacchi:

I came here first of all to work.  By which I mean not only, nor even in the first place, to make black marks on paper, but also to look about me, to observe the passing scene, to tread in the iron-clad footsteps of dead Crusaders along the black shores of a wine dark sea, to pose for my official portrait with the ancient temple of Segeste serving as the highly appropriate backdrop or stage set if you will. 

And later in the same chapter:

We sailed directly into the heart of a storm, sea and sky were one black and sickening whirlpool.  I lay in the bunk shivering with nausea and fear, watching the rats run back and forth across the tilting walls.  The water came in and I tasted the dark salt wine of the mythopoëic sea.  I shut my eyes tight and was once again an Unborn, rocked in swirling waters, dreaming the pure nameless passions of infancy.  When the sky cleared and the dripping sails were unfurled like the white wings of waterbirds shaking off sleep and I staggered on deck to see the sky blue once again in all its cloudless innocence I was almost sorry to be alive, my head stuffed with thousands and millions of names, names for all things as well as their Latin equivalents.  I would have liked to linger in that salty twilight a little longer, perhaps passing imperceptibly over into death. 

I don’t know if the above collage makes any sense, but I’m rather please with the way it turned out. I got the idea from reading V. Ulea’s review of Grace Andreacchi’s novel, Scarabocchio, at Sein Und Werden

Ulea describes the book as, “A whimsical interlacing of the ideas introduced by Weimar Classicism (including its central concept of harmony and synthesis of Ancient Greek literature and romanticism) and those expressed by Glenn Gould (whose own path can be described as “reconciliation” with Romanticism through Wagner and Strauss) creates a contrapuntal discourse between artists and thinkers of all times.”

So first, I read up on Weimar Classicism. It felt refreshing to swim in a different lake for a change, after playing Marco Polo with Dickens, Conan Doyle, and Wadsworth Camp. This is good stuff.