WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

My name is Slease. I was born Silcock.

When I worked as a burpee seed salesperson, on the phones, or sold All-State Life Insurance, on the phones, or AOL, on the phones, or DirectTV, on the phones, or Marriot Hotel Time Shares to rich people, on the phones, I was just Marcus.

Your surname is supposed to tell you all about your lineage and heritage and prestige. Authors, who want to be prestige, have prestige surnames, some even use initials for their first names. I am not prestige.

And when I worked construction, mixing cement, running the wheelbarrow up the planks, or the graveyard shift at Chevron with alien conspiracy radio blaring in the background, or sat on the milkcrates during my break at the mercantile, or delivered papers, or wrapped plastic around crates at the warehouse, or cleaned the banks and paint factories and offices in the evenings, I had no name, and that was fine really.

My first novel, Never Mind the Beasts, a culmination of my lifetime of reading and writing and art making, is coming out this month, & I see my name again. And I am OK with it. It’s a name. But it doesn’t carry any heritage. What’s inside it might be something different. There is another name for the language, and how it is used, the various kinds of art making.

Here are some names: working class experimental fiction, hybrid novel, episodic novel, immigration novel, Irish novel, travel writing, nomadic surrealism, third person autofiction, trauma novel, bisexuality novel, poetic novel, and on and on and on it goes.

A name is a a name is a name. A way to classify. My work is porous. I am Mr Slippery.

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