Requisite Post-Hutchmoot Commentary

What a rich, worthwhile weekend.  Seventy-two hours of being immersed in stories, music and visual arts, all while surrounded by 100 of the nicest people you could ever meet.  Discussions about writing stories, telling stories, writing songs and poetry filled the church, punctuated by regular bursts of laughter.  After it was over, most of us left with the same uncontrollable urge: write.  Grab what is bouncing around on the inside, and wrestle it onto a screen, hopefully better than before.  The weekend was both a joy to receive and a call to action.  I now join the happy throng in sharing what stood out from Hutchmoot 2011 for me:

It doesn’t matter what you write, or how.  Just write. I miss writing on this blog.  Over the past year, I’ve been working towards a BA in Business Management.  It’s been fulfilling, but in the end, it’s nothing more than tent-making.  In one sense, I’m writing more than ever, but it’s about subjects such as operations management and economics.  My hope is that I can take the smidgen of discipline I’ve gained through my classes (i.e., “Sit down.  It’s time to write.”)  and transform that into a more disciplined personal writing schedule.

Journal more.  Put the blackest parts in there. I picture a label on the front of my journal: “Not fit for human consumption.”  It feels like I haven’t written anything outside of class for well over a year.  Now that I look back, I have written plenty, just not for anyone but me and God.  Out of my journal may come something of value, but after talking with Andrew P., I’ve come to value it more.  Journalling (Is that a verb?  Spell-check begs to differ.) is not a competition for more public forms of writing, but instead is merely part of the process.

Read more stories, but read better ones. Listening to the authors at Hutchmoot was like realizing that for the past few months, I’ve been living on cotton candy and popcorn.

Whatever I write, Jesus will peek out. / Jesus is waving from the arts more than I realize. Don’t worry about putting “a message” into what I write.  As long as I am feeding my heart and my mind properly, God will be glorified from whatever words I string together.  Similarly, thanks to Thomas McKenzie and Chris Wall for showing how Jesus is present in the arts, especially cinema, more than I dared believe.

God has provided “heart oxygen” for the journey.  Find time to breathe. I’m halfway through an accelerated business degree.  Often, it feels like all I have time to read involves organizational architecture and profitability formulas.  I need to take a crowbar and open up my schedule for Chesterton, Wangerin, Berry and others.

It feels great when people are praying for me.  Return the favor, pay it forward. Did anyone else feel like someone-maybe many people-was praying for us at Hutchmoot?  My wife and I didn’t notice it until afterwards, when a sense of shelter, protection and peace that had been present was suddenly not there.  Do that for someone else.

Listen to better music. There is a lot of what I’ve been listening to lately that, while not bad, hasn’t been terribly substantial.  After a week away from the electronic/ambient stuff I have been playing while at work, I miss it less and less.

Other people are hungry for the same things I am. Everyone there was struck at how wonderful it was to find others who treasured beauty, wonder and mystery in this life.  Take that sense of community and create your own group.

Eat better food. A group of us went to The Turnip Truck for lunch on Sunday.  I have made fun of stores like that in the past, but I also have to admit that the meal was fantastic.  Evie Coates created culinary works of art for us every day of the retreat.  On the other side, a couple of days ago, for some reason I stopped by Cold Stone Creamery after lunch; I felt horrible for 24 hours afterwards.

Work out of passion, not out of fear. Our plane had not yet left Nashville airspace before I looked at everything I needed to accomplish for my class this week.  The familiar urgency jumped back into my head and chest, so I started reading as fast as I could.  I want to finish my degree, and I want to the knowledge from my classes, but the material isn’t my passion.  Lately, my prime motivator has been fear of failure.  This works for a short while, but it’s not a healthy long-term motivator.

As I wrote above, it’s merely tent-making, and very necessary.  After being around a group of people who spend their time and energy on pursuits and crafts out of passion, I decided that someday I want to spend at least part of my time creating out of my own passion.  I believe that in Heaven, that’s what we will all do.  I want to get started here and now in preparation for eternity.

If you don’t like your material, you’re not done yet. There have been occasions when what I write or play makes me want to give up the craft.  This is especially true when I see someone who has taken the time time to hone their skills, and is excellent at what they do.  I picked up the message at Hutchmoot that the process of creation is more important than the output.  If I go into a project assuming that the first creation is merely an exercise, or a first draft at best, it’s easier to surrender to the creation process itself, instead of focusing on the outcome.

There were more messages, but reading for my class beckons.  *Sigh*…

  1. #1 by Pablo on November 18th, 2011


    Good to see you writing again, and nice to see you haven’t fallen off the planet. Sounds like a interesting conference…I’d be interested to hear more about this off-blog.

    Drop me a line.

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