illustration by Angela Ferrara

My name is Mark and:

I’m a rational stoic and a dirty zen wizard.
I’m a recluse searching for connection. 

I’m a polyamorous one-man guy.
I’m a control freak seeking liberation.

I’m an ex-drunk and a hungry ghost.
I’m a diplomat playing provocateur.

I’m a side-eye skeptic and an armchair mystic.
I’m a pagan who prefers the indoors.

I contain all Walt’s multitudes.
I’m as empty as the desert.

Labels are blankets.
I’m trying to stay awake.



Mark J. Royse is a queer Kentucky contemplative.  As a writer and artist, Mark takes field notes on life, love, and liberation.  Mark has been practicing meditation and Buddhism in some form or fashion for more than 26 years. After many years of solitary practice, Mark recently made a deeper commitment to the dharma, seeking out sanghas and teachers committed to engaged, socially conscious practice.

He is currently enrolled in the Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Program created by Jack Kornfield & Tara Brach. He also participates in the experimental online Bhumisparsha sangha led by Lama Rod Owens & Lama Justin von Bujdoss. He has engaged in online programming with rev. angel Kyodo williams, and he is a member of Zen Peacemakers International. Mark virtually studies and sits with the Wild Heart Meditation sangha based in Nashville, TN. Mark leads a small online morning meditation group, and he’s tickled to be an ordained, card-carrying, marryin’, buryin’ reverend of the Universal Life Church. 

Mark is the general manager of RADIOLEX, Lexington, Kentucky’s community radio station. He served as Executive Director of AVOL (AIDS Volunteers, Inc.) and has worked with a variety of other local non-profits including JustFundKY, LexArts, and Beaux-Arts Ball.

He served as Director of Communications for the University of Kentucky College of Design. He was formerly a creative director and business manager for Group CJ advertising. He was also a buyer and inventory manager for the J. Peterman Catalog made famous by Seinfeld. Mark is a graduate of the theatre program at the University of Kentucky and an alum of the Governor’s Scholar Program.

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