LOVE IS TO SPOON AS ROCK IS TO CHIP

After Turkey, and a stint of dog walking in Italy, he moves to London, falls in love, lands a gig as an adjunct professor at an American style university in London. He feels a sense of community with the avant garde poetry community and starts to write a novel from his experiences living in various countries. Feels the joy of NY school poetry. His brother, in Utah, dies suddenly from an overdose and he visits his family for the first time in over seven years.

An excerpt from the first of my nomadic surrealist novels, Never Mind the Beasts, available now from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

from Never Mind the Beasts by Marcus Slease

SOUTH KOREA 2006

In 2006, after ten years of marriage and a looming divorce, he flew to South Korea. He created a good face for the job. A good face is the key.

Love? Yes please!

Doraji doraji doraji! I walk over the pass where balloon flowers bloom. Hey-ya, hey! An ya hey say yo! I walk over the pass where balloon flowers bloom. Hey-ha hey! An ya hey say yo! Reminds me of mother and twinkling boys. Hey-ya, hey! An ya hey say yo!

Here is an excerpt from Never Mind the Beasts, available now from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

from Never Mind the Beasts by Marcus Slease. Image: Figuras fantásticas a caballo by Leonora Carrington

THE DOCKLANDS

Don Whiskers and Pineapple live in the Docklands, East London, in a council flat. They visit the river for ancient histories. They take the Mega Bus in the Mega City and visit Amsterdam. They stay on a boat called The Gandalf. Back home, they stand on the balcony from the cheap seats and look at Morgan Stanley and HSBC with glowing red lights. They find shiny dinosaurs among the monuments to finance. The monuments are too removed from the human hand. Bring back the human hand. They use their human hands to collect clippings from plants and grow them with superfood. They want them to grow big and strong.

Here is a reading from the Docklands section of my debut novel Never Mind the Beasts, available now from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

The Docklands by Marcus Slease

BORA

While working in Trieste as a dog walker, and trying to become a writer, he imagines James Joyce, middle class or higher, like almost all artists and writers. He does not have the advantages but also the advantages, coming from somewhere else. You can only do so much, but how much.

The bora howls and howls. His relationship is failing. She wants the product and he wants the process. His wild horses are running away from him. Looking out to sea at Piazza Unita. A nomadic existence, but also stability. Trying to juggle them, like everyone.

Here is a reading from the Italian section of my debut novel Never Mind the Beasts, available now from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

“Bora” from Never Mind the Beasts by Marcus Slease

YOUNG LOVE

He took a long time to do it, or at least a long time for some. After the mission, at age 20, he went back to N.Ireland and England, tried on a condom at his cousin’s house, just for the fitting. He wanted to become bohemian and watched Pulp Fiction at the theatre.

He met a young woman from Australia and she told him about doing it, and when you do it, you miss it, and he missed it, even though he hadn’t done it. Then he went to college, at Southern Utah University, worked at a call centre selling Burpie seeds, and before he knew it he was married. They read the patriarchal blessing. They felt the burning in their bosoms.

They moved to Bellingham, WA and then Greensboro, NC. Then, after ten years, the divorce and leaving the United States of America forever for a nomadic existence. No more alien card.

Here is a reading about those years of young love, from my debut novel Never Mind the Beasts, available now from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

from Never Mind the Beasts by Marcus Slease

THE TRIAL

After returning home early from the mission, I had my first sexual experience, it was called docking. I took off my secret garments and attended the trial, in a big wooden room. The devils were coming.

I couldn’t return to my job at the mercantile. Every job interview in the small town asked me if I still believed. But eventually I found a job, in a nearby town, as a shoe salesman, at J.C. Penny, and began dating and attending Jr College dances, posing on haystacks, trying to make myself into something different.

Here is a short excerpt from my novel Never Mind the Beasts, available now from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.

THE HOLY MISSION

My debut novel, Never Mind the Beasts, has many movements, from many lifetimes and many countries. When I lived in North America, I lived in many states, both physically and mentally, and you might also say spiritually. I went on a holy mission (from 1993-1994) to Boise, Idaho. Age 19-20. But I returned home early, took off my secret underwear, and much later revealed the secret handshakes, and even my secret name. I am supposed to be disemboweled, and also beheaded, according to the signs I made in the secret chambers, but it hasn’t happened, maybe it happens later, after my death, before I am sent to outer darkness for denying the holy spirit. I don’t believe it, but it still scares me.

Here is an excerpt from Never Mind the Beasts. The holy mission and returning home early. This is a true story:

COFFEE HALL

Worzel Gummidge is on the telly. The father has a new calling in the new church to convert more converts, and also a job in London, driving a train in the underground. There is also Bletchley, a swimming pool with a slide, and hot chocolate, from the machine. He learns how long to brush his teeth, and also his talent for reading, but he is not allowed to watch Jesus Christ Superstar. The wrong Jesus. He is not a rock star.

An excerpt from my debut novel, Never Mind the Beasts, now available from Dostoyevsky Wannabe. This except takes place in Milton Keynes England, in Coffee Hall. It is the 1980s and the family has just been converted by Mormon missionaries from America.

NEVER MIND THE BEASTS OPENING

Never Mind the Beasts, an experimental working class novel, begins in Portadown, N. Ireland, with my biological father, The Troubles, in one way or another, and then the move to London, first a homeless hostel, and then later Milton Keynes, with government social housing. It begins in the 1974 and then moves into the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and beyond.

Here is an excerpt from the opening of the novel:

NEVER MIND THE BEASTS OPENING from Marcus Slease on Vimeo.

Class consciousness

There is so much of it, and from an early age it was all about the work, working hard to climb a ladder, and we are all climbing ladders, of some sort, hoping for something better, and too much moaning doesn’t help, but it’s there, sometimes hard to put your finger on it, it’s there, less visible sometimes, in one way or another, how I tried to disguise it, changing my voice over and over, from working class Northern Irish to working class British and then just plain small town American, where the accents don’t give you away so easily, and then changing my clothing, trying to pass for middle class, and then feeling guilty, what am I really, if you like too many comforts you are becoming middle class, but that’s a narrow reality, all those small boxes of our identities. But yes, it was there, in London when I worked at a private university, as an adjunct/fractional instructor, and most of the other lecturers and professors had posh accents, and I felt out of place, tried to change my clothes and dress more conservative, and after over six years of working there I was never fully comfortable, feeling like an imposter teaching classes at a university, and I have that dream often, with variations, the imposter.

Now, here, a high school teacher, it feels more natural, but for so long I wanted to teach university, I saw the pictures, a professor in a comfortable chair with lots of books surrounding them, a pipe in their mouth, comfortable in their existence in a world of ideas and art, but that was not the reality, and high school teaching is more of a grind, but less pretentious, and I never felt at home with the university bursting with their self righteous theories, but, and yet, I did, I loved the chance to think and read and discuss, and then later, do some creative writing as a graduate student, that was something I could never have guessed existed, living breathing artists and writers, and my university days as a student were filled with wonder, especially as an undergraduate, and in America, since I went to state universities for eight years of education, I felt the class consciousness less often, although it was there too, during graduate school especially, there were quite a lot of upper middle class people there, and I tried to fit into that world, but I didn’t. What am I even talking about, I like middle class art, cinema, poetry, music, novels, and I don’t want to be confined to some narrow definition of the working class narrative, from misery to redemption, or just misery forever, and I probably wouldn’t refuse money from some fellowship or other, if it was handed to me, and I am enjoying comforts, like healthy eating, sunshine, and meditation, but my background is fully working class, for generations upon generations, but maybe I am climbing out of it, in mind, not income, and is that so terrible, and what is middle class anyway, and what am I even talking about.

Now, here, one of many foreign countries I have lived in, trying to find a sense of place (impossible), but at least somewhere I can survive financially and psychologically and create my art after a full day of high school teaching, and it is happening, I can do it, you can do it, if you make time for it, if it is really necessary. Never Mind the Beasts, an experimental working class novel, my debut novel at age 46, has just been published, and that feels like something, and I feel lucky to have it with a press very aware of class consciousness, with the editors from working class backgrounds, and very little money, and still finding a way to put out books that other publishers pass over, because it doesn’t fit the dominant middle class aesthetic and readership, and that is really something. I don’t have time and money to attend exotic art colonies or travel around on reading tours and I don’t win fellowships and prizes, I am not connected. I just work for money and survival and make time for my art when I find it, and it is a good life really, one fully chosen consciously, to attend university, despite the overwhelming odds against it, and make time for reading and thinking, even though no one I knew went there, and creating art, and to do that, since I don’t come from the money, and can’t become a bohemian with something to fall back on, I have to live a minimalist existence, no car, property, children, savings, retirement, just simple living, full time work, and great love, and that is how I make time for the art/writing, and it is the only thing really keeping me going, it is not a luxury, or a commodity, it is a necessity.