Today’s guest post is by Billy Coffey, author of When Mockingbirds Sing and The Devil Walks Mattingly. Coffey dreamed of being a published author ever since high school, but vowed he would never be a novelist. Four novels later, God had a different plan in mind. Coffey’s novels tackle faith’s big questions against the backdrop of the rural South, where history is long and things are seldom as they seem. His latest book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, is about how a suspicious murder that changes the lives of three small-town people—download it on Vyrso today!
As hard as it is for someone like me to believe, there are people out there who’d have you believe they don’t like stories. They’ll say that they don’t have time for books, that they’re too boring and require too much effort. They’ll say they have no need for imaginary things, for characters born of thought rather than flesh, or for places conjured rather than built. It’s reality in which they are most interested. So they would have you believe . . . In the real world, there is little time for fairy tales. Living is serious business, but stories aren’t. Those who waste their time in tales are the ones who fall behind—they’re the ones who lose the game.
I suppose that means I’m losing at best. And at worst, I’m contributing to the delinquency of otherwise good and responsible people. Not only do I enjoy reading stories, but I enjoy writing them. I enjoy seeking them out. And what I’ve found in my seeking is something those interested in the serious business of living would perhaps find very disconcerting—stories are everywhere. They’re buried in every person we meet and every conversation we overhear. They are present in the pictures that adorn our walls and the music that fills our ears. They wait in every rock and puff of wind. In everything there is a beginning, middle, and end, and nestled in the spaces between those three legs of every journey lies all the magic and knowledge any of us care to seek. The poet Muriel Rukeyser once said, “The universe is made up of stories, not atoms.” I believe finer words have never been spoken.
What’s your story?
There’s more to Rukeyser’s maxim than poetic truth, however. There’s a deeper meaning as well. Whether you call yourself a writer or a reader or an unbeliever in both, the truth is that you’re a storyteller. That fact cannot be ignored. It cannot be brushed aside. And most of all, it cannot be denied. You are the chronicler of your own tale. Your every day is but one small chapter in the larger story of your life, some part of the beginning or the middle or the end, written upon pages granted by whatever God or random chance you ascribe meaning to. Pages bound together by time itself, filled with your minutes and hours.
Perhaps that sounds a little too metaphysical for the serious minded. They may disagree with my notion. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t change a thing. Good people can stand on either side of a truth, but that doesn’t alter where that truth lies or what that truth means. We can deny that our lives are a story, but that will make our story one of renunciation. We can choose not to respect our place as authors of our own accounts, but that will make our accounts ones of failure. Do you see? There is no escaping it. You have no choice but to write your story, just as you have no choice but to live your life.
So I say live it for all it’s worth. I say wring every bit of beauty and truth from it. Let it drip down your hands and arms. Let it pour into your mouth and quench your every thirst. Bore down into your every moment and mine the gold you find. Scribble and scrawl on your pages. Write furious and true. Do not waste your days. Time is not a flat circle, it is an arrow that stretches from now into eternity. There is where you should look, on to that final chapter, because God put our eyes in front of us so we can see where we’re going, not where we’ve been. Whether quiet literary or screaming thriller, lustful romance or heartbreaking tragedy, bawdy comedy or uplifting inspirational, when all is finished and the final period is put to the last sentence on the end page, your life in this world will stand for something. Your tale will be set down, and that is what you’ll be remembered by.
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Coffey is a passionate and powerful storyteller—get his latest book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, on Vyrso today!
Today’s guest post is by Billy Coffey, author of When Mockingbirds Sing and The Devil Walks Mattingly. Coffey dreamed of being a published author ever since high school, but vowed he would never be a novelist. Four novels later, God had a different plan in mind. Coffey’s novels tackle faith’s big questions against the backdrop […]