Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hutchmoot Explained. Mostly.

This past weekend we drove to Nashville for an event called Hutchmoot.

Why? Well, let's flashback a bit. About nine years ago I had the privilege to attend a summer program at St. John's College in Oxford, England. The college just happens to be located across the street from The Eagle and Child (a.k.a. The Bird and Baby), a local pub. If you are a C.S. Lewis fan, you might recognize the name. Lewis and his friends, including J.R.R. Tolkien (a.k.a. The Inklings), would meet weekly in a back room of The Eagle and Child to discuss their writings and shared interests. The room where they met was called The Rabbit Room. (I'm going somewhere with this, trust me.)

Flash forward to the present day. Andrew Peterson, the singer/songwriter/author, has created an online community to discuss art and music and literature. In light of his appreciation for C.S. Lewis, he calls it The Rabbit Room.

A few months ago, Andrew and his brother Pete invited some people to a real-life version of what has become a thriving online community. They called it Hutchmoot -- a hutch being a place where rabbits congregate and moot an Old English word for an assembly. Hence, a gathering of folks associated with The Rabbit Room would be called a Hutchmoot*. Get it? Yeah, it's geeky. But we roll that way.

At Hutchmoot, we had good company and good conversation. We listened to exceptional music and profound thoughts from Andrew Peterson and other Square Pegs familiar 'round these parts, like Eric Peters and Randall Goodgame. We ate excellent food prepared lovingly and with care. We enjoyed humorous LOST references, The Far Side comics, discussions about the nature of art, and we basically walked around in awe all weekend that no one else thought we were in the least bit odd. We most definitely "got our nerd on" and "geeked out" --two phrases we heard oft repeated from the speakers-- over characters like Sam Gamgee and the works of an author named Walter Wangerin, Jr. We got to hear Mr. Wangerin speak. I'm still reeling from that last one.

More to come, more to come, but I need sleep to continue processing.

*A miniature robin told me that Clay Clarkson, the author, is the one who came up with the name Hutchmoot. Not only do I appreciate he and his wife's books on parenting and motherhood, but he just shot up on my coolness meter like a gazillion points. Plus, his daughter Sarah came and spoke at the event. She's a writer and a fellow kindred spirit who is a huge fan of Anne of Green Gables. I liked her already.


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