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    Many people have a lot of pride for their hometown or their home state - I grew up in North Carolina and even though I haven't lived there for several years, I still carry around a little replica of the state's silhouette on my keychain. It reminds me to think about home. But there's more than one meaning to that one word: home. There's the home you came from, and then there's the home you choose. The home you make for yourself. The friends you surround yourself with who, while they may not be your blood relatives, are like your family. Washington state is that home for me, and I've noticed that folks around here have a lot of Washington pride (myself included). Seattle is a city with a pretty sizable population of transplants; I know plenty of folks who uprooted their lives and moved out here to take a chance on Seattle. And we may not have grown up with Mariners baseball or the Kingdome or Fisher and West on the radio in the morning, but we love this city all the same.

    Last fall my friends Damien and Sarah were spending some time with me after they got home from tour. I'd started making my "hello" maps, and after Damien saw one and proclaimed "that's awesome!", he said, "You should make one that's Washington State and just says 'home.'" Friends, let this be evidence of Damien's genius.

    Now, remember when I was talking about the home you choose, and the friends that are you like your family? Damien and Sarah are that for me. Without going into all the boring details, they were there for me at a time when I needed them immensely, and I wanted to give them something meaningful for Christmas. I remembered Damien's Washington "home" suggestion and came up with two things: the sign and the sticker you see below:






    Damien put the sticker on his guitar. My friends immediately began asking for stickers and signs of their own. I only made nine signs, but I kept making stickers, and those are available via Luckyhorse Industries. As you can see at the top of this post, the graphic from the sign is now on T-shirts - the lyrics came from a song by our friends The Head and the Heart and they recently approached me about putting it on some shirts exclusively for their two upcoming Seattle shows. I was thrilled to oblige (and happily, Luckyhorse Industries also printed the shirts).

    My friend Abbey from local music blog Sound on the Sound loved the WA home stickers so much, she got the design tattooed on her arm:




    I have been trying to write this post for weeks now, and failing, because this feeling of home is so much bigger than just a few friends. There's a strong feeling of community in Seattle right now, which has been much discussed and written about (check out the March issue of City Arts Magazinefor some examples). I'm just grateful to be part of such an inspiring community and I can't wait to spend some time behind the merch table at the Head and the Heart's sold out Showbox gig tomorrow night, meeting people who love this community and this state just as much as we do.