On the Agenda

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My heart will go back to these mountains...

Last night I had the good fortune to see David Lamotte perform on my campus. I'm graduating
in three weeks, and he's retiring in seven months, so it was a bit of a once in a lifetime opportunity for me. And it was fantastic, as it always is. The difference was that this show I cried during almost every song, beginning with "Shadows" and ending with a late-night "Song for You."

The first time I ever heard of David Lamotte I was in the living room of Sylvan Heights lodge in Montreat. I don't remember if I was on one of the ancient couches or sitting on the floor that still is slanted enough that spilled drinks run to one of the walls, but I know it was 1998 and I was on my first-ever youth retreat. The song was "New Lullaby," and although it was probably eight years before I heard the story behind the song, it was immediately obvious to me that there was a giddy joy hanging from the line, "If the Lord should come see me before I awake, we'll run up to heaven and eat chocolate cake."

I saw David perform for the first time less than a year later in a church in Charlotte, and I think it was quite a long time after that before I saw him again. You can't not love David Lamotte, and about three summers ago I went to four or five shows in a span of two weeks. Over the years I have accumulated CDs, a DVD and a fantastic T-shirt, but it's been more than that. Listening to his stories and attending a "World Changing 101" seminar, he has touched something real. Real enough to bring tears to my eyes multiple times in one evening, just by sending out songs from a "real idealist," as he calls himself on his blog.

This label makes sense to me. Not only is he actually changing the world through his PEG projects and his shows, but he is also very real. I've met the people he talks about in his stories, and I've spent endless evenings at the Velvet Moose where he lived for a summer. I've seen David at the Morning Glory Cafe on a Sunday morning and I've grinned so big when he greeted one of my best friends as "Hey beautiful" at Lake Tomahawk park.

David's retiring in November to study peacemaking in Australia, and I couldn't be happier for him and his wife. It seems to be the right next step, but I would be lying if I said I won't be mourning a bit for the hole he'll be leaving on all those stages. Although it won't be an empty hole; it will be filled with the memories of people like me and with all those rich, guitar-spanking chords he sent out to wash over the people he loves.

I hope I won't have to leave these mountains for at least a couple more years, but when my heart does go back there, as it certainly will, they will remember David. Thanks David, for all of it.

First Note: I decided during the show last night that "Song of Peace" will have to play a part in my wedding.

Second Note: David had a lot of fun with his layering machine last night, and I found this YouTube video of another time he had similar fun. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A new look, a new life

I got engaged about a month ago… to be exact it was 41 days ago, minus about 5 hours. And it was fantastic. So needless to say I'm looking at some pretty big changes in my life, with graduating and finding a real job and getting married. I'm hoping for a geographical change too, even though right now I'm not sure if that will be toward NYC for publishing, toward Asheville for a hippe-esque life of mountainous bliss, or toward the West Coast for a lifestyle transformation I can't possibly imagine. Who knows?

This Lent season I gave up television, which I realize now was a fantastic decision. I read a lot during those six and a half weeks, and since Easter I've spent much too much time watching CSI and the like. I enjoy them because they're interesting and yet not too engaging. So I turn them on for background noise and end up watching for several hours. I'm hoping this will stop now that my roommate has taken the futon out of my room. I've also discovered that when I feel like watching TV I would really much rather listen to NPR. Yep, I've become one of those people that begins every sentence with, "So I heard this thing on NPR…" Instant plus in the dorkdom department.

I've also been watching a lot of movies this semester. I've been taking a class about identity in European cinema and have watched I-don't-even-know-how-many films for that. Plus I've been writing film reviews for The Daily Tar Heel, so that adds another one or two films each week. You learn a lot, watching so many films and reading so many books — not that that's any sort of profound statement, I have just come to appreciate my rediscovery of it all.

This week I discovered (without the 're,' because I'm being honest) the music of Joe Strummer and The Clash with the film Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten. For a full review you'll have to wait until Thursday's issue of the DTH. But I will say that the film was fantastic and quite eye opening, and I just bought the whole soundtrack. Like the film, the soundtrack is arranged in a sort of radio-show style, using recordings from Strummer's New Hour show.

This month has been about learning to appreciate what's out there, and learning how much there is left to discover.