If you like art (in the broad sense of the term) and creating, then this Hutchmoot thing has probably grabbed your attention. And if, after visiting the site and watching the video, you still find yourself asking the question, what is Hutchmoot?, I want you to be assured, you are not alone. Most Hutchmoot attendees have asked it themselves. I was asking that question up until the day after I left Hutchmoot.
So, if your ear's been pricked and you want to know what it's like to be at Hutchmoot, I'll tell you. Being there has a certain atmosphere about it, an ambiance, as if creativity were a thing that you could touch. It fills the air like a thick morning fog...
Maybe that's what some of us would like to believe; that Hutchmoot has a mystical feeling surrounding it; that everyone who goes there gets inspired and suddenly finds her place in life and realizes he's more creative that he thought. That's not always the case, though. Just FYI. And that's definitely not what happened for me. But that's not to say that Hutchmoot was a negative experience. I can honestly say, it's not you, Hutchmoot, it's me.
I went into the weekend feeling so drained emotionally and physically that it took a few days just to decompress. Instead of making quality down time, I floundered around, living out of old wounds and putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on the friends with whom I came. I ended up simultaneously isolating myself and grasping for attention. Neither was successful in bringing me comfort.
I didn't really know what to expect at this conference, either. The conference came about from The Rabbit Room a few years back. People were conversing online at the Rabbit Room site about faith, literature, music, art, etc. and decided they should continue to do so--in person. Err, this is my basic understanding of how Hutchmoot was born.
|credit: CL, CG, LW, RS|
Throughout the weekend in Nashville, many things were said, sung, and shown that were touching, life-giving, and that excited my soul. Authors and musicians and artists spoke about the creative process and finding hope and being vulnerable. There was so much wisdom and goodness in what they said, but there was still this feeling I could not shake. The only way I can describe it is by borrowing the words of Alyssa Ramsey. I felt like I was "alone in the light." Here's what I mean by this. In Alyssa's blog post soon after Hutchmoot, she described her fear of how some may have felt during the weekend...
"Hutchmoot is, I think for many of us, a haven. It’s a flood of God’s light and love over our injuries and fears. But sometimes light exposes and chafes what is too raw yet for binding up. It sends you into hiding. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like grace. Sometimes it just makes you mad."Well, that was me. I felt like an outsider, watching everyone else laughing and learning and connecting while I wallowed in exhaustion and self-pity. I was hearing great things, but I just wasn't in a place to receive them, let alone to let strangers into my world, or try to care about them in return. I had blinders on and could not see beyond my hurt.
But where is the good in all of this? What's the point? The point definitely is not to spill all of my woes to you, the world. That's for Jesus to take on. I will spill it out to him. But in the aftermath of my mess, God's grace abounds. During the car ride home, Jesus came to me through familiar voices of true friends, willing to tell me hard truth, and speak the honesty I desperately needed, in love.
So, no, Jon Foreman, I'm realizing my life isn't everything I dreamed it would be when the world was younger and I had everything to lose. I'm learning life is a lot harder work than I used to think.
But I'm grateful to the one who walks beside us and shines his light. Yes, the light can be blinding, terrifying even. It can chafe wounds that are too raw. But it doesn't mean the light isn't good. Numerous individuals stood up one-by-one at the end of that weekend to tell us how they had been affected by the weekend. A lot of those people came in scared, nervous, unsure of what they'd find, but they were leaving having made connections with people over joys and pains and suffering and creating, and entrepreneur-ing.
What is Hutchmoot? I think it's probably a lot like this...We see pictures, a few small ones all scrambled up in one place. Each of them is composed of different colors and shapes and patterns. They seem pretty random, viewed in this manner. It's not until we see how they can relate to one another, how they fit side-by-side, that we realize they are part of one masterpiece. So I guess what I'm trying to say is that one lonely post could never do it justice, but I hope you now have a glimpse of what it was like, for some of us at least. And I hope this process that has begun will not end in Nashville.
|The end-of-weekend "Art-moot," made up of 144 squares with different artists!|