We at Novel Matters are proud to welcome the Ragamuffin Diva, Claudia Mair Burney as our guest today. We spoke in a recent post about her beautiful novel, Zora and Nicky, but Claudia is a prolific and versatile storyteller, as well as a passionate follower of Christ.
Those who follow her on Facebook will understand what a gift she has given us today of time and attention in the midst of a serious family crisis.
Thank you, Claudia, for honoring us this way.
Once a woman told me she never read fiction because it was a waste of time. She said this knowing I am a novelist! After I recovered from the blow, I thought about the stories I read and tell. A waste of time? I think not!
Human beings are story people. The evidence of this is ancient. From cave paintings depicting stories on rock walls to the oldest of sacred texts, it's clear that stories showed up when humanity did. They explained our beginnings, natural disasters, and our relationship to each other and God. And when God decided to become a man, he came here doing what? Telling stories! About regular folks. No wonder his book is the bestselling of all times! I think if Jesus had more time here, and a good publisher, or at least a strong platform, he would have written novels.
Novels saved me from a terrible adolescence. They transported me to worlds beyond the crack infested ghetto I grew up across the street from. Sweet romances told me to wait for true love. I may have failed the chastity lessons I learned in those hopeful pages, but I can truly say those books, like any good novel I've read, never failed me.
My son suffered a horrible accident recently, and is in the hospital with a long recovery ahead of him. Novels take the edge off a brutal reality. Sometimes they distract me. Sometimes they make me laugh. Sometimes they remind me that I am not alone in my suffering, and often, they fuel the most reckless, glorious hope. And hope is a necessary thing. I'm indebted to the novel, particularly the faith novel, for giving muscles to what I believe.
It's all there in a great novels, every matter of existence. Someone writes of love, another of mystery. One writes of action, another of mayhem. And we find ourselves in the work. Sometimes we say, "amen." Other times we say, "I'm sorry." And when the pages are all read, we put the book down with a sense that our lives matter; our troubles and our trifles. We matter, because we see ourselves right there in print.
We are not alone. That is why the novel matters.