I first met Mark years ago at a science fiction convention named SheVaCon. A very large, quiet man who seemed to lurk in the shadows and “tried” to be unobtrusive. The first thing I noticed was his smile: he seemed to know much more than he let on, quiet jokes he kept to himself as he observed the Fans rushing about in costumes of their favorite books and shows, LARP players taking themselves all too seriously; Mark took them all in in stride.
He often hovered around my tables in the Dealer’s Room as I sold my jewelry, listening in on conversations and turning his head when someone said something particularly funny, but one day he was present when I was asked to explain my Tarot Casters. I found he had pulled up a chair and sat next to my tables and simply watched.
Several years went by when on one convention he asked me to step aside for a quick nip of Scotch: “It’s as old as I am” he told me. So, we “snuck” away to a room, only to find he had let me into a meeting of the board of the convention. They were debating about how to expand the curriculum. I was there for the Scotch, not to be a part of the board, however after a little while (and a few shots) I found myself participating in the conversation. All the while Mark was grinning at me, offering the bottle for one more nip. Before I knew it, I had proposed and volunteered the Amulet Making Workshop.
To this day I blame Mark for my return to teaching as a way of life.
Over the years, he has been very supportive. Encouragement at the right time, careful reflection of complex issues summed up in an almost haiku statement as if he were conserving words making each syllable more potent and more profound than the volumes I have heard other people speak; all the while his simple presence said more than his words.
We lost Mark a couple of years ago due to an accident. A dreadful loss to those who knew and loved him. His wife gave me the honor of creating a memorial sculpture to be added to his tombstone. The request included a series of ideas to be incorporated: knot work, a tree dominating the image with ivy, a symbol of wisdom and the figure of a dwarf (his favorite character) whittling something under the tree. An “Aum” (OM) as the center piece, meaning “everything and nothing: a fundamental symbol of all things scared; leaves making out other images (if you look, there are dragons and many other figures in the leaves). Each of these meant something to his Family.
This custom memorial sculpture was cast in bronze with a patina set into the metal so it will colorize over the years, pulling out a variety of hue in time. The piece is five and a half inches across and twelve inches tall: developed as a one of a kind piece dedicated to Mark Bodkin: he will live in our hearts forever.