a novel by János Márkus-Barbarossa
translated by by Blanka Székely
...I'll stay, revered Professor, why wouldn't I, though in my learning, asking, in my getting in the groove, in mostly everything I proved to be and continue to prove to be clumsy. I continually bonk the dead dog though I have the jitters of that too!
My statements so far are putative, feared of and not clear: whom am I making them for? Maybe for myself only? Get real! Because masochism is a serious thing, especially the theatrical one. So I'll stay for I can't think of anything better! This is a fussy stage, it is really worth, with all due fucking respect! – Sometimes I should be ashamed of my mug but I see no sense, reason or topicality of it, nor the place for some late or over-fluted explanations. For what's the sense? You tried to paddle in us, in some of us, who were disposed to peek beyond your words that the native state of mortals like us is the discovery the reason of our will also, to palpate it here and there, to validate it among the bushes and scout mushrooms of our coerced environment.
Of course, if it is really a must, or if it is truly a must that he badly wants it. This is how I understood his remonstrances and now I surge into it with all I have: – if my supposed creator would have attested a little more fantasy in me, it was likely that it would have tinkled in–between my thighs.
About the Author
János Márkus–BarbarossaI was born on the 4th of June, 1955 in a small Transylvanian village, Szilágyzovány. After the early divorce of my parents I was mainly raised by my nun aunts in the convent of Szilágysomlyó, after which I wound up at my grandmother, in Nagyvárad. Nagyvárad was an interesting place even in the 13-14 the year after the World War, because these are the years I have permanent memories from: one could still feel the presence of the missing part of the citizens of the town, which was considered a small town by that time. This was the lack of something like half of it, about 30 000 Jewish people, whose need for culture and talent left reminiscences still traceable to this day. Most of them did not survive the Shoa.
Though, strangely I spent most of my childhood and young years amongst the ones that did survive. And amongst the Greeks, because from the beginnings of the fifties the youngster People’s Republic of Romania undertook some of the refugees of the Greek Civil War, according to some estimations they were from time to time from a couple thousand up to even ten thousand. And I should not forget about my grandmother’s neighbours: Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Slovaks, moreover there were even a couple of German, gypsy and a Albanian families also. We all were citizens of Nagyvárad and we considered knowing the language of the others – at least on the level of greeting – as being the most natural thing in the world.
Early from my childhood I studied music and graphic arts in parallel, and also the countless variation of the art of living, from carrying coal to sculpting tombstones and to playing music on weddings. From the age of 13 I performed as a lyricist and composer in different neighbourhood clubs or I jogged, climbed rocks, and I frequently did spelunking also. If I think back on my 60 years I do not remenber one day when I was bored.
Of course I tried to learn a lot living in the communist Romania of my childhood and later on in Prague, In Budapest, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Venice and mainly in Vienna, where I’ve lived for the last 32 years. During my course of life I’ve been a musician, writer, graphic artist, creator of instruments, composer, actor, and finally my own gravedigger, namely a viveur.
Blanka SzékelyI was born in Marosvásárhely in 1980 December, so I was exactly 9 years old when the Romanian Revolution happened. When Ceausescu was overthrown and got shot I was quite happy because my days spent in standing in line to buy some bread were over. We, the children could comprehend from the surrounding happenings more than anyone could guess. That’s why they call our generation the messed up generation of Romania. Not quite careless, not forgetting the communist days, but able to reach freedom and happiness if carefully observing the youth of the Western countries as a model.
Despite of general poverty my childhood was really colorful and happy, thanks to my grandparents living at the countryside. Vacations spent as a messy, bad kid never willing to settle and always on the run are my nicest memories of all times. General school was boring and frustrating, I was not the friendliest kid, always searching for myself, but my grades were always among the best of the class. After getting accepted in the bilingual English class of BolyaiFarkas High School in Marosvásárhely, thebest Hungarian school in Romania, the fun began. I spent my teenage years learning and partying as all healthy teenagers. I alo got some nice results at national English language competitions. University years followed in Cluj Napoca, Babes Bolyai University, where I had English Literature and Language as a major. After getting bachelor’s degree I applied for being an official English-Hungarian-Romanian translator. After getting my second bachelor’s degree in Acting and my master’s degree in American Studies I got a trainee job as a Human Resources manager in San Francisco, California, USA.
My years spent in America were key years to my professional forming though I did not continue as a HR manager or a translator. In the last 7 years I’ve been working as a television professional, editor and news anchor for the Hungarian National Television. Translating Fidelius for my dear friend, Márkus – Barbarossa János was a very special experience for me both professionally and personally. I closely observed the characters inhabiting the novel myself, during my student years. I practically met them in the tavern every night I went out to have a beer or party. Feeling your characters and deeply understanding a novel makes you translate it to another language easier, I guess. I am really grateful for having this opportunity, and looking forward to seeing Fidelius in print.