Leon Bridges, West Virginia, & Notre Dame

LEON BRIDGES

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Do you think I’m being foolish if I don’t rush in?

I think that maybe, this Leon Bridges performance might be among my top ten live shows all time. And that that would be a fun list to try and come up with some time.

NOTRE DAME

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People’s #notredamestories are incredible. The cathedral continues to be experienced in such a collective way. Even online, even when burning.

For what it’s worth, I was 20. I was learning how to embrace the parts of my faith that I knew were deeply true while trying to sort out and distance myself from certain things about religion that seemed off. Unnecessary pizzazz was a big one. I hated the feeling of walking into a church and finding that its substance couldn’t keep up with its aesthetic.

The Notre Dame challenged that in the best way. It’s impossible to walk around its gardens, through its corridors, and into its masses- translated into at least five languages for visitors, without experiencing wonder and reverence for being part of a larger, ancient tapestry of belief.

I still think there are necessary conversations about faith and humility and opulence and grandeur in a world of poverty. But spaces like these force you to be a little more nuanced. As I’ve grown to take the guard rails off things like faith and worship, I’ve learned that anything that provokes wonder ultimately pulls us closer towards God. And why shouldn’t that include some architecture, glasswork, sculpting, and historical preservation? After all, I believe even things like web design, coaching lacrosse, or repairing tires can be worship. If we believe that every act we do can be one of worship, then there just might be even more buildings in this world that make us wonder.

May the process of deconstruction, saving the sacred, and rebuilding be a part of our faith just like it’s been for centuries.

CHARLESTON, W. VA

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Morning in Charleston, W. Va. It’s chilly but bright, and the city center is just starting to open up shop.

My first time in West Virginia makes for my 48th State, and possibly the one I’m least connected to. I think I know maybe five people with any ties to the state and I’ve never spent much time in places like Pittsburgh or Charlottesville that are somewhat close.

That’s always shrouded the state with a little more mystery, as I’ve been trying to visit all 50.

A lot of what I hear about West Virginia paints a picture of hard times and that’s worth exploring. But it’s also ruggedly beautiful around here and I hear very little about that. I wish I had just a little more time to do a bit of hiking, because if the views from the turnpike are any indication, there are some gorgeous ones to be found around here.

WEST VIRGINIA

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My love. 💐

I take you on a bunch of adventures and some of them turn out better than others. Either way, I’m happy I get to share them with you, just like we share dreams, laughs, moments, and slices of Thai curry shrimp pizza in the middle of West Virginia. 🍕🍤🍕🍤🍕

FOUR STATES IN FOUR DAYS

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Maps are consistently some of my favorite visual projects. I love how many different ways there are to show what a place looks like.

Celebrating this week’s rally of four states in four days by doing a little digital mapmaking.

Thank you, Appalachia!

STUBBORN OPTIMISM

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I’m really thankful for the life I get to wake up to. There have been a lot of beautiful and exciting things present lately.

I’ll have to remind myself that it wasn’t so long ago that life felt pretty different. And I guess that’s how it goes, winters and summers trade spots over and over again. But you get to learn things while that happens.

One of the things I’ve learned is simply not to give up hope, no matter what.

I’ve always had a bias towards optimism- it’s just the way I’m built. But hope is completely different than optimism. You can be the type of person whose always ready for the worst, but as long as you refuse to believe that despair gets the last word, you know how to hope.

As a bunch of custom license plates around South Carolina reminded me this week, “While I breathe, I hope.”
Let’s do this.

FAVORITE ALBUMS 2018-19

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A few favorite albums of mine that have come out in recent months:

The War and Treaty - Healing Tide
Maggie Rogers - Heard It In a Past Life
Johnnyswim - Moonlight
Leon Bridges - Good Thing
S. Carey - Hundred Acres
James Blake - Assume Form
Durand Jones & the Indication
Anderson.Paak - Oxnard
Mumford & Sons - Delta
The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships

Are you more of the type to seek out new artists or do you stick mostly to what you know? I used to be better at finding new music, but I’ve aged into a creature of habit. I don’t want to get stuck in my tastes though. What are some of your recent faves?

Philippe Lazaro