The Immortality of Storytelling


My dear friend Mark Lewis passed away last Sunday. I wasn’t aware that he was anything other than healthy, and so the news has come as quite a shock. I’ve known Mark for . . . a long time now, and he is—was, Goddamnit—a storyteller by profession and inclination. Hell, go read his obituary at the Eugene Register-Guard. They run down who he was (is! Goddamnit!) better than I can.

He officiated my wedding. Probably the only man qualified to bless the union of a Jewish empath and a pragmatic occultist. On the Winter Solstice, no less.

He believed in the power of narrative, in the eternally magical gift of storytelling. I recall visiting he and his wife, playing Scrabble (and making up words), and listening to him talk about being true to that spark in your soul. He fought hard over the years to do what he wanted as a career, and it wasn’t always an easy path, but he did it. At the time—I was such a young fool—I would occasionally think him a bit mad to hold so tight to that belief. But you just have to look at the list of things that he accomplished to know, without any doubt, that he made a life out being a storyteller.

It is not lost on me that I’ve made some career choices in the last few years that sync up pretty well with that burning passion I saw in Mark. And I don’t find them the least bit mad now. He’d laugh about that. He was right more often than not about the important things.

He played Santa Claus on an episode of Leverage. Though, technically, he played a mall Santa who was unjustly shown the door. The Leverage crew helped out—like they do—and, well, you should go watch it for the last few scenes. Especially with the holidays upon us.

One of the characters in the ETERNAL QUEEN project is the immortal pirate captain, Lucian Moore. Modeled in one part on Francis Drake. I realize now that quite a few other parts are modeled on Mark. And that’s what immortality is, isn’t it? How those dear to us find themselves never forgotten.