MR WHISKERS WITHOUT THE PICNIC BASKET

MARCUS SLEASE FICTION, NOMADIC SURREALISM, The Autobiography of Don Whiskers

The only award I ever won, and didn’t even enter, was for a poem called “Mr Whiskers and the Picnic Basket.” It was published in Hayden’s Ferry Review as a winner of the AWP Intro Journals Award. I was completing my MFA at UNC Greensboro at the time. Then it was republished at storySouth in 2004. This time of my life, in Greensboro, North Carolina with the terrific writing community of the UNC Greensboro MFA program, as well as the artist collective The Lucifer Poetics Group, was full of possibilities, wonder, and a sense of coming home as a writer. I mean, that is where my real writing life began. It was also one of the larger turning points in my life journey. Almost two years later, after a lot of personal therapy and marriage counseling, I reduced my life to 15 kilos and flew to South Korea to live. A few months after moving to South Korea, I signed my divorce papers. I also left the United States forever, although I have been back a few times to visit in the last 12 years.

It is 2018. So yeah, 14 years later, that one poem, “Mr Whiskers and the Picnic Basket,” rather suddenly infiltrated my novel manuscript The Autobiography of Don Whiskers, and that manuscript has already been infiltrated many times already. So, in other words, there is a lot of mutation happening. Various forms of alchemy.

For about six years, The Autobiography of Don Whiskers used to be called Never Mind the Beasts, the name of my MFA thesis, mostly coined by a good friend and fellow poet in the Greensboro MFA program, Dan Albergotti.

Never Mind the Beasts is also, of course, the title of this blog, in various incarnations since 2003.

Now my first novel manuscript has become The Autobiography of Don Whiskers. And Mr. Whiskers, from so long ago, is the main character. Of course, it is not quite the same character as the one in the poem. Don Whiskers has become fleshy and fully expanded and full blown. Me and not me.

The Autobiography of Don Whiskers is epic travels and immigration. It begins in Northern Ireland and then travels to Milton Keynes, England. Then Las Vegas, Utah, Washington State, North Carolina, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, England, and then the novel ends in Madrid, Spain. Part two picks up in Madrid. The autofiction of Karl Ove Knausgaard, as well as the surrealism of James Tate, Lukas Tomin, and Leonora Carrington, helped open up possibilities for this trilogy of novels in progress. Part one is called The Autobiography of Don Whiskers and part two, I am already 60 pages into it, is called Hermit Kingdom. It is a hybrid novel, a mix of various genres including prose poetry and flash fiction, but it is quite seamless as well. It is partly autofiction and partly nomadic surrealism. A nice blend.

 

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NOMADIC POETICS WITH MARCUS SLEASE AND GRZEGORZ WROBLEWSKI AT DESPERATE LITERATURE

Grzegorz Wroblewski Poetry, MARCUS SLEASE POETRY, NOMADIC SURREALISM, the spirit of the bathtub

A terrific launch last night of The Spirit of the Bathtub with Grzegorz Wroblewski reading from his latest work (in English) Zero Visibility (translated by Piotr Gwiazda).

Super nice folks in the audience. Nice chats during and afterwards.

We are not alone folks!

 

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THE SPIRIT OF THE BATHTUB LAUNCH

Grzegorz Wroblewski Poetry, MARCUS SLEASE POETRY, NOMADIC SURREALISM, the spirit of the bathtub

Tomorrow in Madrid, 11th May 2018, at Desperate Literature Bookshop, I am launching my new book The Spirit of the Bathtub, along with visiting poet Grzegorz Wroblewski, also reading from his newest work, Zero Visibility (translated by Piotr Gwiazda).

The fun starts at 8PM. Entry 3 euro. You get a glass of wine (or beer) and support the bookshop. The only one of its kind (except maybe Shakespeare and Company in Paris).

YIPPPPPIEEEEEEE!

 

 

 

NEVER MIND THE BEASTS: A NEW WEBSITE

NOMADIC SURREALISM

I just reached over half million visits on my blogger website Never Mind the Beasts.  A mile stone maybe. Thank you so much for stopping by!!

The blogger Never Mind the Beasts blog has now gone dark to avoid duplicate content.

Never Mind the Beasts now has its own domain and a new site. This is the new site.

I have moved posts from blogger to this site (2003-2018). Over the years, I have discovered some themes/interests in the blog posts: buddhism, NY School poetry, absurdism, indie publishing, surrealism, and especially travel. The travel writing is really a nomadic travel writing from living in many countries. Autofiction sometimes.

Then, a realisation. Most of books of poetry also deal with travel, but often with an absurdist or surrealist angle. Maybe a soft surrealism. So yes, nomadic surrealism. This is a nice label, as far as labels go, for my work. But only as long as it doesn’t become constraining, as most labels, or mean nothing, unless it is the good kind of nothing, the kind of nothing pregnant with possibilities. I like that kind of nothing. And also the nothing of liberation and freedom (Buddhism).

I am still unsure if I should have all the posts from 2003 until 2018. I am tempted to start fresh with 12 or so posts on this new website. Starting fresh is one of my favourite activities. Returning to a beginner’s mind.

It is nice to start fresh. Another reason for traveling. Starting fresh. Seeing things as if for the first time. This can also become a function of art. Starting fresh. A beginner’s mind.

Here are some rainbow puppies to celebrate this author website and blog:

 

 

 

 

LEAKY LIFEBOAT

MARCUS SLEASE POETRY, NOMADIC SURREALISM, the spirit of the bathtub

Perfectionism. I have felt it, and feel it, do you feel it? For me, it comes from various places. My Mormon upbringing and experience as an immigrant in the United States. Trying to get everything right, as the eldest of seven children and a first generation immigrant, and that optimism of American culture that can sometimes mask pain rather than dealing with it. Or, the reverse, in Britannia, misery feeding on misery, sometimes.

Keep trying, fail better.

We are all broken.

It is maybe helpful to admit our vulnerabilities.

Here is a poem. It is called “Leaky Lifeboat.” From my book The Spirit of the Bathtub

The Spirit of the Bathtub is available now from Apocalypse Party:

www.apocalypse-party.com/thespiritoft…bathtub.html

I WEPT TO MY OLD UMBIBLICAL CORD

NOMADIC SURREALISM, the spirit of the bathtub

Some of my stories are lyrical and surreal. They allow a lot of room for the imagination to create meaning. An active participation of reader and writer. Also, in the surrealist tradition, a journey between the conscious and less conscious parts of our minds. The various energies that direct our lives. Hopefully something to hold onto, like a good walking stick, but also allowing for spontaneity and directionless wanderings. The umbilical cord. You have to cut it. Welcome to the cosmic bathtub. This one has some mashup from Basho. A nomadic surrealism. It is also in the tradition of the cosmic egg. It is called “The Big Egg.”

 

The Spirit of the Bathtub is now available from Apocalypse Party:

https://www.apocalypse-party.com/thespiritofthebathtub.html

HOLE IN THE MIDDLE

ABSURDIST LITERATURE, MARCUS SLEASE POETRY, the spirit of the bathtub

In 2012 I was living in Katowice, Poland. One of my favorite days was national donut day. It is a big deal in Poland and in Poland the donuts are very good. They are maybe my favourite donuts in the whole world. There really isn’t a hole in a Polish donut. You have to make your own hole. It is, however, a little round. But not as round as the prefab donuts in other countries. It is more imperfect, less round. There is no real round in nature. The Polish donut is closer to real nature. It is very filling.

Happy national Polish donut day!!

 

THE SPIRIT OF THE BATHTUB

MARCUS SLEASE POETRY, NOMADIC SURREALISM, the spirit of the bathtub

My nomadic travels in South Korea, Utah, Turkey, Italy, Poland, and London. From 2009-2015. A kind of spiritual book, but not the hokey kind. There is lots of imagination. Bring your own walking stick.

Coming soon . . ……………………………………………..

More info over here:

THE SPIRIT OF THE BATHTUB

 

THE ELEPHANTS

NOMADIC SURREALISM, the green monk

The moon is sometimes bloated. There is so much. Just stop, slow down, take a look at your brain. It is very bloated. Put your thoughts in a balloon, maybe 99 red balloons, and pop them. Over and over.

Here are some balloons. From my book The Green Monk, forthcoming from Boiler House Press on 5th November 2018.

Available at The Elephants.

THE BOMB, THE DEMONS, AMERICAN HAMBURGERS

MARCUS SLEASE FICTION, The Autobiography of Don Whiskers

The opening, for now, of The Autobiography of Don Whiskers.

My novel in progress (partly a memoir).

It begins in Northern Ireland and then moves to Milton Keynes, England.

And then a trailer park in Vallejo, California.

Don Whiskers is the main character.