|Haunted Houses, Time Warps, a duck, and a Baboon:
Time Adjusters is a Multi-Layered Must-Read
| Sinister Bill . . . . . . . . . . . Friendly Bill
|In another story, Bill features a college student who
puts a cut-up message on a website. The cut-up
technique is a style of writing where sentences are
cut up and re-arranged to make new sentences. Cut-
ups might be fun to do, but reading a cut-up poem
by another person can be very tedious, so Bill
doesn't write the story as a cut-up. He writes it as
a regular, straight-forward story wherein some
gangsters read the boy's cut-up message and
mistake the meaning - they think the student has
found out about a murder they committed, so they
set out to kill the boy!
A couple of the stories have spiritual overtones.
One tale ends with the Buddhist concept of finding
a middle path in life. Another shows how a child
deals with religious persecution by the government.
One story even mentions a grade-school favorite of
mine - A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle
(although I would not recommend this book for
young children, especially the bizarre tale of The
House and the Baboon).
The one story in Time Adjusters that is not so
straightforward is a short poem called Club Web. Bill
told me that his own mother read Club Web and said
she had “no idea what it was about and probably
didn't want to know.”
I asked Bill to discuss Club Web, the only poem in
the book. I mean, I like this poem and I think I
understand most of it, but it IS a cut-up, with a
certain sinister vagueness . . .
APRIL KITTINGER: Club Web is kind of Goth isn't it?
BILL ECTRIC: Yeah, it's kinda goth. I'm happy that
you say that, because that's what I was going for.
APRIL: How did you write it?
A cut-up poem by Bill Ectric
Dedicated to William S. Burroughs
A vampire game rave club, The Club Web.
Crowd chatters up a staircase, painted
harlequins or corpse-like,
The Queen’s wonders discussed on drama slowly
from the drug effects.
Boy on two days leave, shook his head, you
folks be fools.
He who winks trouble picture gallery,
And effective blood human seduced, and go
Out into the curious crowd wise wicked entice
consent a glass of sherry.
Master of Ceremony greets with a high shrill
No sex scene so dreamily erotic,
Perfect, these remarks, he took him and
opened a path.
But to the hungry soul voice one knows
special, indeed beautiful the night.
Into the office now, men looked back here,
eyes cause trouble.
Go for a walk with me.
The stone side-path and rich rooms connect -
Sweet honeycomb, there are attractions
circling around everything.
Behind an arm and better wait who fools with
He stranger-invited her, on all levels the
To the move he by by the out he he forward he
but he he he loathes…
The townspeople surge onto the marble walk,
look down, satisfied it was not their soul,
Another wide-eyed pretty trickles sherry red.
|BILL: Club Web is a cut-up poem, hence the dedication to William S. Burroughs. I chose five different books,
which were totally unrelated to one another, and took a couple of sentences from each book. I mixed them up
on a web site called the Grazulis Cut-Up Machine. After I mixed up the words, I began manipulating them into
new sentences. Soon, a story suggested itself, partly within the new sentences and partly in my mind. With this
story in mind, I made the words fit my purpose.
APRIL: It seems to take place in a rave club, but also a vampire role-playing club.
BILL: Right. That's what it is. Maybe they are not real vampires, but maybe a real vampire walks among them. Or,
maybe it is an analogy for a sexual predator. It can be both, of course.
APRIL: What's the deal with the "queen's wonders"?
BILL: I admit this is vague. In my vision, I saw the owner of the club as a distinguished, extravagant drag queen,
who takes great pride in the decor, the surroundings, the ambiance of the nightclub. The patrons are impressed!
It is not necessarily an exclusively gay bar, but all types of people are here.
APRIL: Why is the voice "shrill"?
BILL: Well, it's like, they are all very enthusiastic about the club, and they are being greeted ceremoniously, but
underneath it all is a trace of unhealthy need, expressed in the shrillness. I'm not saying a certain sexual
orientation is unhealthy, I'm talking about what Burroughs calls "control" by either drugs, lust, thirst for power,
thirst for blood.
APRIL: And someone is being seduced in some way?
BILL: Yes. Seduction and maneuvering.
APRIL: What about the honeycomb and the buzzing?
BILL: Really good nightclubs have more than one level, and passageways to connecting rooms, walkways, one
might say, like a honeycomb. In the phrase "rich rooms connect" I use the word "rich" as in vividly satisfying, a
description of the connecting rooms. Next, think of pheromones, those chemicals that animals secrete to attract
the opposite sex. That is the sweet attractions circling around everything - the word "sweet" goes with both the
richness of the rooms and the sweetness of the attractions; as we say, the "birds and the bees" as a reference to
sex. So it's like bees buzzing, and it can also describe the "buzz" from drugs or alcohol. Two people go for a walk
on a stone sidewalk. Enchantment is all around.
APRIL: And then you say, 'He stranger invited her."
BILL: Yeah, he stranger-invited her. We teach our children, "Don't go with strangers! If a stranger invites you to
come with them, don't go!"
APRIL: What happens next? Why did you repeat words like, "he, he, by, he, by . . ."
BILL: It's intended to convey a sense of loathing, because it's so terrible you cannot speak it without a stutter,
as in, "What did he do to you?" "He, he, he..."
APRIL: And the climax. A girl is dead, right?
BILL: In my mind, I pictured a pretty young person lying on the sidewalk. She could have bloody vampire bites on
her neck if you want to see this as a supernatural poem. Or she could have a stab wound from a knife. Like,
remember that song, Mack the Knife? The part of the song that says, "On the sidewalk, lies a body...oozing life;
someone's sneaking round the corner, could that someone be Mack the Knife?"
APRIL: I think that was a little before my time. Who sang it?
BILL: Bobby Darin, girl!
APRIL: Was he in the Rat Pack?
BILL: No, not really, but he might have hung out with them, I don't know.
APRIL: Is the girl on the sidewalk dead? Or will she turn into a vampire?
BILL: Well, it's open to interpretation, but it's definitely vampire imagery all the way through.
|The stories in Bill Ectric's book, Time Adjusters, work on more than one level. Each story is a lot of fun,
sometimes scary, sometimes funny, sometimes weirdly intriguing. The characters and dialogue seem real.
On another level, Ectric demonstrates a familiarity with various literary concepts, without ever boring the reader
with his knowledge. For example, he makes reference to the deconstruction method of Jacques Derrida, but he
doesn't dwell on it; rather, he uses it in a story about a haunted house.