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Why I write fiction - by Matt Beckenham

I'm blogging as I continue The Great American Road Trip! Trish and I are traveling with Jade and Mel, and we are currently in Tennessee. This journey has been stunning on a number of levels, but the one I am enjoying the most is listening to the stories of each of us in the car. They are so deep and rich, and I am learning so much from each of them. Four people with four different stories, four different ways of coming to faith, and four different ways of understanding God. Each story is beautiful and, at times, challenging, but through it all, I am discovering such a rich thread of love that binds us all together. It's in moments like these that I can see so clearly why I write the way I do. I write to understand myself, God, others, and culture. In that, I have discovered I write to listen.

When I wrote the prologue for Eden's Blueprint, something came alive in me. It was like something was awakened that I didn't know existed deep within the space of my creativity. That space had been reserved for my guitar or songwriting but not for writing.

So far, I've had a couple of people tell me they don't like fiction. One even went as far as to say that they thought reading fiction was a "waste of time." For that person, Three Trees became the book that opened a door to the world of using fiction to share a story of faith and transformation.

Writing Three Floods: The Shipbuilder of Enoch was a space for me to get comfortable with the thought that I could write. Little bit by little bit, I have become more comfortable even calling myself an author.

When I finished the draft of this book, I sent it to a bunch of people, asking them to endorse it. One of those, Nat Fuller, called it a "prophetic parable," and this stuck with me. When people asked what this book is about, I struggled to find a way that made it sound anything other than just a retelling of Noah's story. But this phrase, "prophetic parable," gave me the words to describe it.

Each of us has a story within us, but many of us are scared of our stories and what would happen if people found out who we really are. I was like that until a time in my life when everyone got to see how bad my life had become. It was in those days I knew I could have closed down and kept everyone out or allowed people to walk with me to help me heal. Many walked away from me in those times, and I fully understand why they did, but it was the ones who walked with me you will read about in this new book.

In creating a book like this, I'm inviting you to come and walk with me again. I want to help you see how I found God and healing as I walked out the story that is my life. I want to invite you to meet with the Designer yourself to be able to ask your own questions about your own journey and discover there are others who will walk with you. Some will be there for a season, and others will be there for a lifetime.

By using the story of Noah, I'm taking hold of one of the most well-known stories and creating a world of characters that you are able to connect with and learn from. For example, I've created a woman who would become the wife of Noah. She is a strong and independent woman, but having children proved hard for her. I walk with her through that journey, all the way to when she is able to hold her son in her arms. In doing this, I've combined many stories of the bible where women have found having a child so difficult, and also many other stories I have been told of women today who are walking out that journey. Then I've combined it with the birth story of one of our friends (Emma Bollom), who had a birth that transcended much of the fear that surrounds childbirth.

So, like Three Trees, this book is a fictional story based on a non-fictional character who walks with fictional characters that carry traits of mine and those I have walked with. I do this in the hope that you are able to gain a tangible way of doing life, relationships, and faith. I do this in the hope you can see that shame can be healed, our fears can be understood, and that love is who we are created to be.

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