Wombwell Rainbow Interviews
I am honoured and privileged that the following writers local, national and international have agreed to be interviewed by me. I gave the writers two options: an emailed list of questions or a more fluid interview via messenger.
The usual ground is covered about motivation, daily routines and work ethic, but some surprises too. Some of these poets you may know, others may be new to you. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
is a (mostly) absurdist, surrealist, and fabulist writer from Portadown, N. Ireland. He is the author of
The Green Monk (https://www.boilerhouse.press/product-page/the-green-monk#) (Boiler House Press),
The Spirit of the Bathtub (https://www.apocalypse-party.com/thespiritofthebathtub.html) (Apocalypse Party),
Play Yr Kardz Right (https://dostoyevskywannabe.com/original/play_yr_kardz_right)(Dostoyevsky Wannabe),
Rides (https://www.amazon.com/Rides-Marcus-Slease/dp/1291923381) (Blart Books),
Mu ( (dream) So (Window) (https://poorclaudia.org/book/mu-dream-so-window)(Poor Claudia),
and Godzenie (http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/Poetry/godzenie-by-marcus-slease-158/) ( (Blazevox),
among others. His writing has been translated into Danish and Polish, featured in the Best British Poetry series, and he has performed his work at various festivals and events in Prague, Madrid, London, Bristol, Manchester, North Carolina, and Ireland. He has made his home in such places as Turkey, Poland, Italy, South Korea, the United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom – experiences that inform his nomadic surrealist writing. Currently, he lives in Castelldefels, Spain and teaches high school literature in Barcelona. He is working on a trilogy of nomadic surrealist novels. Find out more on his website: Never Mind the Beasts.(https://nevermindthebeasts.com/)
1. What inspired you to write fiction?
I tend to gravitate towards hybrids. A mix of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Blurring boundaries. Usually flash fiction, or interconnecting flash fiction in the form of novels. I am interested in consciousness in all its various forms and I think fiction can offer great transportation for the exploration of consciousness (along with music, visual art etc.)
2. Who introduced you to fiction?
Literature was for survival, alone in my room, a survivor of various traumas (who isn’t). Fiction offered, and still offers, portals to other worlds, other minds, other places and possibilities. My first love was probably James Joyce and Samuel Beckett, although I was never monogamous, I hopped around a lot. There is so much on offer.
3. How aware were you of the dominating presence of older writers?
I felt quite quickly that it was more about class than age. Who has the resources, networks, and connections. It starts early. You know, the birth lottery. Where you go to school and so on. The wealthy help the wealthy. It really is an uphill climb to achieve any kind of recognition without the right class connections. The awards and recognitions are usually given to upper middle class and higher, folks with mommies and daddies who graduated high school. But that’s not to say there isn’t great work, of course, it just get tedious seeing how literature, at least most of the more recognised literature, is often centred around upper middle class existence and made into universal human experience. And older writers, well, they are more and more excluded unless they achieve recognition early. Like most things in advertising, the emphasis is on youth and beauty. And yet, despite all this, I feel lucky to have some generous folks publish and mentor and help me. So it’s not like upper middle class, or middle class, if it still exists, is somehow inherently “bad.” The pie, if you like pies, is smaller and smaller for everyone.
4. What is your daily writing routine?
I usually write when I am not supposed to be writing. When I am supposed to be doing something else. That is the best time for writing. it is sneaky way to get around the pressure to produce something great, which seems to have gained in weight as I gotten older and older, and read more and more. Optimally, it is the evening, as the sun is setting, but now, with teaching high school and arriving home everyday at 8PM in the evening, that’s not possible. So I write on the weekends, or early morning, or most especially when I am supposed to be creating lesson plans or grading papers. When I lived in London I wrote a lot on public transportation.
5. What motivates you to write?
Freedom. To move outside the tyranny of the small self.
6. What is your work ethic?
To reconcile work and play is my work ethic.
7. How do the writers you read when you were young influence you today?
My active loves have changed of course. Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, for instance, although I still love them, have given way to the influences of Lydia Davis, Leonora Carrington, and others. Then again, I think all those experiences are still there. The sum of many influences, and it is ongoing, and not only in literature.
8. Who of today’s writers do you admire the most and why?
Lately, Jon Fosse and László Krasznahorkai for their epic poetic sentences, Tim Atkins for his generosity and expansive poetics, Lydia Davis for her brilliant brevity, absurdity, and humour. Ah. The list is long.
9. Why do you write?
It feels like a necessity for my well-being.
10. What would you say to someone who asked you “How do you become a writer?”
It seems, at least from my experience, the most common answer to this question from other writers is to become a writer you have to write. Just keep writing. However, to find an audience, or get published, that takes a lot of persistence and feeling of necessity, not to mention a ton of dumb luck. It is often helpful to find a community of interesting writers, whether virtually or in person, and go from there.
11. Tell me about the writing projects you have on at the moment.
I am working on a trilogy of nomadic surrealist novels. Interconnected flash fictions. Hybrids. Some excerpts from the novels are published online, if any folks are interested, over here (https://www.adjacentpineapple.com/marcus-slease) and here (http://five2onemagazine.com/from-the-autobiography-of-don-whiskers-by-marcus-slease/)