Sunday, August 31, 2014

Celebrating Our John Sharp

Today at Centennial Park, friends and family will gather to celebrate the life, the work, and the world-expanding neighborliness of my cousin, John Sharp. In all that he was up to, John schooled everyone and anyone nearby in the work of being righteous stewards of our own enthusiasms. Whether he was describing food, a sound, Dungeons and Dragons, James Blish, a film, a musician, or a neighborhood, he was always inviting us—challenging us--to love people, pleasure, and place more than we feel we’re allowed to under the tyranny of what’s “normal.” If there arose a convention or custom that stands in the way of someone professing or getting animated about what they’re into, John would calmly destroy it with wit and magnanimity. Even his intellectual analysis—and I can’t think of anyone more positively intellectual than John—was a form of love. A few weeks ago, as he both celebrated and critiqued the things that happen on Facebook, he blurted out a quip that betrayed his effortless range: “I wanted George Jetson and I got George Orwell!” As ever, he was looking hard for anything that might aid or obstruct the work of people being good to each other. And in a whirlwind of curation involving books, music, toys, and ideas, he was hell-bent on keeping the things he loved in circulation AS GIFTS. He knew (and artfully demonstrated) that this is how the work of waking up to ourselves gets done. His life was a feat of attentiveness. May we live up to the gift he insisted on being in all he was up to. Love, prayers, gratefulness, and telepathic good vibrations to Terry Sharp, Judith Sharp, and Sarah Sharp Reynierson. Thank you for showing us what it’s all about, John. We miss you badly.