The Vegetable Lady changed my life.
Created by calliopehoop on 12/09/2014
I first met Mark in the 2007 at Faeriecon. I went with my best friend Ryn and it was the first time, apart from the TN Ren Faire, that I had been to any gathering remotely of its kind.
I had just started my senior year of high school and it was my first time in Philadelphia. Ryn and I had been best friends for years, and that friendship was extraordinarily strong not just because of our mutual weirdness, but because this weirdness existed in the Bible Belt of Tennessee. We both grew up being called freaks and stared at, so our solace in each other was sacred.
After the first day of the con and evening fell, we went to the Good Faeries Ball in the Tracadero theatre. I cannot even begin to express the thrill and excitement Ryn and I were experiencing as magical people filled the ballroom and ethereal music resonated through the building.
That's when Mark Lewis got on stage and introduced the evening's festivities. He made me grin uncontrollably and laugh. He then did his performance, which included a beautiful story written by him called The Vegetable Lady.
His diction, timing, and speech was beyond flawless. His storytelling was completely captivating and I had no idea that storytelling could be such an incredible art form. It really is a lost profession. The story tells of child who has a bad day and runs into the Vegetable Lady. He laments on how is was teased for being different and the Vegetable Lady makes him feel better by explaining how it is the differences between us that are beautiful, and that the unique qualities individuals possess are what make them wonderful. It was a sublime celebration of the different and weird.
I stood there, a tall and awkward 18 year old young woman, who had been relentlessly teased and called freak my whole life, crying because I just felt so accepted and celebrated in that moment.
Here was a man, so joyful and talented, making me feel so euphoric with just a story. He went on to perform the Jabberwocky and others and I knew then I had to meet him.
A couple years later at Faerieworlds, my best friend and I had an Amicus to celebrate our friendship. Mark performed the ceremony for us.
I love and miss you my friend, and the world is a darker place without your joy and your light. But you changed my life and I can only hope I will bring a fraction of the comfort to others that you gave me that night so many years ago. Thank you for letting me know that not only is it ok to be me, but that I wasn't alone.