Hutchmoot August 8, 2010Posted by markgeil in Music, People.
It’s Sunday morning, and I finally have a chance to write. I’ve been thinking constantly about writing and music for two days straight, all the while longing to tell you about it, and all the while better understanding why I long to tell you about it.
It’s the third day of Hutchmoot, a conference organized by the fine folks at the Rabbit Room. The answer to “what’s a Hutchmoot?” tests anyone’s skills at brevity. It’s a gathering of people interested in the craft of storytelling through music, literature, film, and visual arts to learn, foster community, and hear from master storytellers. Sounds like a hippie commune.
The Rabbit Room is a site founded by musician and author Andrew Peterson to do all of the above, only online. Hutchmoot is the grand realized dream of turning an online conversation about a book or song or movie into a face-to-face dialogue, replete with all its gestures and rhythm, and informing that conversation by some pretty heady pondering of the Source of it all.
The made-up name is derived from Hutch, a place where rabbits hang out, and Moot, which means discussion and has something to do with Entmoot from some Lord of the Rings book. Now it sounds like a geek commune.
So it was that I came to this hippie geek commune on Friday afternoon. I stocked my CD case anticipating conversations with people who not only know these CDs but also appreciate them as much as I do. I also guessed (correctly) that I would meet folks who stocked their own CD cases because they like holding cover art and liner notes and lyrics in their hands too much to just download everything. On the basis of those two points alone I knew this would be a refreshing community.
On the drive from Kennesaw to Nashville there is a stretch of highway that meanders back and forth across the state line beside rivers and mountains. It’s exceedingly beautiful this time of year, a rolling sea of greens with contrasting swaths of sunlight and shadow. Even as it delights me it tells me I’m close to Nashville, a city consecrated by music and storytelling.
My first stop was the cheap airport hotel I booked on Hotwire, a hotel festooned by a huge banner welcoming an Army Psychological Operations unit. Men in camouflage fatigues are everywhere here, possibly inserting little hidden bugs into my brain to control my thoughts. Well, hopefully not.
I dropped off my bags and made the short drive to the church hosting the event. A little paper sign that said HUTCHMOOT PARKING IN BACK delighted me more than I expected. It’s been said before (and said here) that while good conversations can happen online, community cannot. Yes, all the online stuff is real enough. But the physical act of printing a sign and posting it in the grass in front of a building, that’s the sort of concrete detail that never happens online, and it occurred to me that it was the first time I’d read this silly made-up word Hutchmoot when it was not on a computer screen.
I have much more to say, but it will take a few days. It’s time to check out now and go to church. There, I will have a very fresh perspective of my Creator God and why He created me and what the act of creation is all about. And so, I will worship.