John Ayers

So, I’m on my way to John Ayers’s remembrance party at Headwaters. I struggled with whether to go – partially because even though Phoebe had posted that ‘all are welcome’ I had vague worries that even though we were back on speaking terms “all” might not have included me – on the other paw I didn’t want to bother her during this obviously difficult and traumatic time by asking.. and I also knew if I didn’t go I would likely regret it.

Anyway, I thought maybe I’d throw some eulogizing of John Ayers in here. In a lot of fundamental ways, me and John are very similar – he was a jack of all trades, a master of some, and one of the few voices in my head – and in my life – that encourages taking the risk and spending the time to be a artist. While I still haven’t made it to professional musician, I have been putting increasingly more and more hours into it as the years go by and I feel like I’m a whole lot closer than I’ve ever been, and he is one of the people who has always encouraged me both that art is worth doing for art’s sake and that you can make a living being a artist.

John is also one of the few people I know besides myself who has built houses – who can run wiring, thread a pipe, put up a wall, fix a well pump. He doesn’t have my facility with repairing cars or computers, but what he has instead is a rock-solid sense of beauty and the ability to create beautiful things out of metal – or stucco – far beyond anything I will ever have. I was sorely tempted to buy his house even though I have no possible use for a house in Arkansas just because of the beautiful construction and the amazing home-y feeling it has. Even though I don’t generally retain visual memories, I still have strong visual memories both of John and of his house, which defines hygge.

He’s also one of the gentlest and kindest souls I have ever met, and defines everything that was good about the pot-smoking hippies of the 60s. I think he literally was in the peace corps – he definitely was doing some kind of good work in places other than America. I feel like I was a lot more like him in that regard in my youth and wish I could find that part of myself again – lately it seems like while I haven’t actually performed any acts of violence, the political and dystopian scene on Earth is making it harder and harder for me to really embrace peace.

He also had great taste in music and we had many good conversations over the music that he’d heard and collected over the years. He also was a photographer (as I said, jack of all trades) and I remember fondly exposing him to the first digital camera I’d ever purchased. I wonder a lot what he would think of the Rebel T6 I now carry, which in many ways is superior to the best 35mm cameras I’ve ever owned.

He is one of the few people who has spent significant time with me during a manic episode – long before I understood their cyclic nature, long before I knew what drugs would suppress them. His kindness to me during that period is difficult to even put into words.

In addition, of all the parents of lovers I’ve ever had, he was the most rational about my relationship with his daughter – and also the parent I most wished would have adopted me. I am still kicking myself for not stopping by his place more often, not talking to him more often. I always thought we had plenty of time. (Of course, having mostly broken my friendship with Phoebe, I could say similar things – I wish I’d made different decisions all over the place. But, tomorrow’s another day and I’ll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hopefully do better in the future).

There’s really not enough good I can say about the guy. I will miss him terribly. I hope we will meet again, somewhere.

2 Responses to “John Ayers”

  1. Firesong Says:

    *hugs* Clearly he had a more profound effect on your life than I realized even after talking to you about it. He sounds like an awesome guy.

    I send you my love and sympathies in this difficult time.

  2. Swipes Says:

    Obviously hearing about John many times over the years, it’s still powerful to read in one post. I’m glad you were able to go to his memorial and reconnect with the people from your time there (despite the diseases that are apparently rampant in the area). I know you miss him terribly and I’m sorry you have that loss.

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