Mark Mavrinac 2

HA&L Biographical Sketch for contributor Mark Mavrinac

   The Editor was recently in Budapest, and had the privilege of taking part in an event at the Hungarian Writers Association. The Association is housed in a beautiful building in a beautiful neighborhood. There is a bar inside, (these are writers, after-all).

At some point the Editor was asked to explain the affiliation between Hamilton Arts & Letters and Samizdat Press. This is what he should have said:

In another decade the Editor was studying for an exam. Mavrinac called and asked if he wanted to go for a coffee.


He needed a break.

Next thing the Editor knows, he is crossing the border into the United States. Actually, the car is  stopped at the border. There are dogs. Vicious dogs with exceptionally healthy teeth. Better teeth than anyone in the Editor's family going back generations. Mark rubs the ears of the dogs. He tells the border guards that we, (meaning he and the Editor), are going for coffee. He tells them the Editor is studying for an exam and, "we don't really have a lot of time." They open the gates. The dogs whimper as the car drives away.

A number of hours later the car skims the blacktop and is back in Canada. A black & white flashes its lights. Mark pulls over and rolls the driver side window down half an inch. The officer speaks through the slit in the window:


Mark hands the licence through the slit, the officer looks at it and says, again through the slit:

"How many beers are in the car Mark?"

And Mark says, through the slit:

"I didn't count them, officer."

Okay, if we stop right there, that is everything the Editor needed to say in Budapest about Samizdat Press.

Now the rest of the story.

The officer says:

"Step out of the car please."

Then he empties the unopened beers into the gutter at the side of the road.  Next thing, Mark is sitting in the black & white and the Editor can see him and the cop lighting each other's cigarettes. They smoke two cigarettes each. Mark gets back in the car and pulls away. He tells the Editor that Bill, (the officer), used to fly in the planes looking for speeders, but he didn't like being that far away from the action.

Samizdat Press.

Okay, how about this one.

The Editor goes to meet Mark at his mother's apartment. It's dark and there are candles. Mark and his mother sit
at a small table. She is playing her mandolin. Mark is playing a twelve string guitar. They are singing Russian songs. There's a bottle of vodka between them and it is two thirds gone. Sometimes they weep as they sing.

Okay, how about this one.

During the Second World War, Mark's mother led a big orchestra in Toronto -- guitars, mandolins, violins. The Editor has seen the pictures. She is standing on the podium, baton in one hand, balalaika in the other. She is tall, beautiful, with a glittering black gown. In another picture she is at a table surrounded by Russian sailors. They are Ga-Ga, slack-jawed, elbows-on-the-tables. They're happy. For one thing, they're not dead. It's the Second World War, and they've probably just sailed across the Atlantic, and "Hey look! We're not dead!!" And they're sitting with Mark's mom.

This was and is the affiliation between Hamilton Arts & Letters and Samizdat Press. And, you know, who else

Blood will tell.

Now, enjoy Mark Mavrinac's Bibliomania.   °

[This HA&L biographical sketch and introduction © 2009 Ephemerists. Learn more about Mavrinac here: ° ]