This also happens to be the first book I've actually read from start to finish in quite a while. I've started a few novels but haven't gotten round to finishing them (one by Roald Dahl - for those tracking me on Goodreads) - this is what happens when you read for the sake of reading, as apposed to reading what you need or really want to read in that moment (one novel I started but haven't finished, is the latest in the Myron Bolitar crime series 'Live Wire' by Harlen Coben - and that was a book I was looking forward to , but somehow, my heart and mind was in search of something else - although I will definitely get back to savoring that one - and then, out of nowhere, came this book by Donald Miller, an author I admittedly didn't know much about).
Author's Note: (A Million miles in a Thousand Years)
If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn't cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers. You wouldn't tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the movie you'd seen.The truth is, you wouldn't remember that movie a week later, except you'd feel robbed and want your money back. Nobody cries at the end of movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.
But we spend years actually living those stories,and expect our lives to feel meaningful. The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won't make a story meaningful, it won't make a life meaningful either. Here's what I mean by that:
There are actually courses and textbooks to creative writing and story construction (one course is even mentioned in A Million miles) that I didn't know about, so effectively I skipped all the boring stuff about developing plot and subplot and constructing a protagonist etc... most of that came naturally (although I did need some refining), what I really needed to learn, was why I wrote this book in the first place, and how I can now make it better. I wont go too far into the details, but suffice is to say that after writing my first manuscript, I, like so many others who have done so, thought I was THE BOMB... as it turned out, my boom wasn't that spectacular (more of a PUFF really, I mean I knew it was only a first draft, but it was my first, first draft, EVER - and for a moment there, I could kind of live in that spotlight that only I could see). And then I learned that that was actually normal.
It has been said by someone famous, that a 1st draft is simply a blank formless lump of clay, and that from then on, the writer chips and chisels away with subsequent drafts and rewrites to reveal the actual story, buried in there somewhere. And, it's been within this stage where the REAL questions started to come up, about my story, my main character and his conflict, his life and those around him... and by extension, those questions sort of crept up on me and my life, and this career of writing I've chosen, one that hasn't produced much as of yet, that anyone can see anyway...
It's been frustrating, but I anticipate, as I near the completion of my 3rd (and a half) draft, that when this book (prior to all the others I will write, and after I acquire a Literary Agent)) eventually gets published that the main sensation I'll feel, the one that will be most prevalent, is Relief!
Donald miller takes stock of his life whilst in the midst of planning and developing the film adaptation of his bestselling memoir Blue Like Jazz. It’s a book about stories – yes stories, those lived and not yet lived, and even those we aspire to tell or be a part of.
It’s starts out with Miller giving us notes about his life and where he’s at right now, then backtracks and jumps around to different events and defining moments as the narrative becomes more broad to encompass anyone, appealing to everyone, and the stories they are living.
Anyone can and probably should read this book, but (probably) especially writers. For those looking for more meaning - which should be everyone.
So, I got to talking to this guy, he was actually marrying (or had married – this was more of a celebration wedding) my friend, who was actually my sisters friend (who is also now my friend), my sister was her bridesmaid – this can get quite complicated – yeah, so we were talking while he was buying shoes for the ceremony. The conversation surrounded what I did (writing) and then went on to story, and what makes a story and the characters within it… more importantly, what makes a good story, and where I was in the writing process as well as my career (because of course I mentioned that I wrote a book), and so naturally that’s how we stumbled upon this book by Donald Miller.
If you’re a writer like me, then I encourage you to read this as it provided a little more clarity when sorting through some of the real nitty-gritty issues floating around in my head.
It is a book that deals with spirituality, and God is mentioned, but I feel that there is an honesty and openness to it which really makes it an easy read, because everyone you encounter in life will not have the same beliefs as you, and this is the sort of approach the author takes in the telling of the many tales.
Perhaps it was just good timing that made this book really appeal to me, but I do know for a fact that I’m not the only one to say this (because it was said to me)… ‘I’d recommend this book to anyone’.