I get it. Thoroughly and completely, I get it.
DENTONING: dentuning (intransitive verb)
1: the experience of enjoying/discovering/exploring all that the great City of Denton, TX has to offer <we spent all weekend Dentoning>
2: the discussion of pertinent/impertinent/fun/serious/political subjects involving the great City of Denton (or anything else this blogger wants to discuss) <during a cerebral round of Dentoning, they discovered the meaning of life>
3: an event/occurrence /incident happening in the great City of Denton <there is a weekly Dentoning, Saturdays on the courthouse lawn called the “Acoustic Lawn Jam”>
My Dentoning epiphany was definition number one. I talk about Denton all the time. And I passionately love Denton: her essence, people, sense of place. More than a decade ago, fate shined on me, and my profession since then has been to taut the aura and amenities of this place that is like no other. Believe me when I say these attributes make our jobs at the Denton CVB incredibly fun and satisfying work.
But, until last week, my understanding of Dentoning was quite surface-level: head knowledge, dabbling, and superficial experience. What I discovered is that Dentoning has depth. I plunged in and realized Dentoning is more than a moment. It's kind of intense and, at least for me, a dawning that has forever changed the "how" of personal experience. In other words, I have a new standard and it's all about being a part and leaving the status of mere observer to someone else.
Here's my story: Giant indie music festival 35 Denton opened in Downtown Denton March 7-10 calling fans and music media from around the globe. Knowing this visiting mass was headed our way, our CVB team joined with our friends and partners at DentonRadio.com to "turn on the stereo" in the living room of our community, the Courthouse lawn. The Denton County Office of History and Culture and the Denton Historical Commission thought this was such a great idea that they all got behind the effort, too, and we set up the ultimate central hangout with 100% Denton, original and independent singers, songwriters, musicians, and bands showcasing to the world what's going on in Denton day in and day out year-round. It was awesome! We worked super hard (I think I slept about 18 hours straight and suffered rather severely from "foggy brain" a couple of days after) and introduced some incredible Denton organic up-and-coming talent to the world. The media coverage since then hit the mark plus some, so we accomplished exactly what we set out to do.
Here's the personally way cool part of it all - I Dentoned all weekend! I discovered music and talented Dentonites I hadn't known before like Sol Tax, Kelsey Henry, Backwater Opera, Seth Weaver, among many others. And I listened, really listened to these and many of my favorites like Bone Doggie and Zach Balch and Karyna Micaela and Ellie Meyer and so many others - 41 total in 3 days. I was immersed in the experience and lived it at a soul level.
Sounds oddly spiritual, doesn't it? It gets better. A few days later and I Dentoned even deeper. Check out my friend Scott's blog. He tells the story of a firepit and storytelling under the stars and this magical, completely unscripted gathering of random musicians who decided to join their typically polar-different personal styles in an acoustic jam session that was the most amazing impromptu concert I've ever seen. One in an audience of six, maybe seven, we were the audience only because we are talented listeners. Every one with musical gifting was playing and singing. Me? I, along with Scott and a handful of friends at this undisclosed location (someone's backyard), were deeply Dentoning.
I totally get it now. Dentoning is a very real, meaningful pursuit. It's not a cutesy tourism term for doing things in Denton. Dentoning is an experience that changes a person and indelibly marks, like a spiritual tatoo, with permanence.
Scott, well done! I'm not sure I could articulate the lasting impact of the first days of March on my heart were it not for your creative vocabulary. Thank you. And now, I close this blog post with haste as, even now, I feel the call: I've got some Dentoning to do.