Tuesday, February 9, 2010
A Million Miles In A Thousand Years
This work is by Donald Miller (again). It was finished in 2009 and is 250 pages long. If Miller writes it, I devour it.
Miller, the writer who struck gold with the likable ramble Blue Like Jazz, writes about the challenges inherent in getting unstuck creatively and spiritually.
After Jazz sold more than a million copies but his other books didn't follow suit, he had a classic case of writer's block.
Two movie producers contacted him about creating a film out of his life, but Miller's initial enthusiasm was dampened when they concluded that his real life needed doctoring lest it be too directionless for the screen.
Real stories, he learned, require characters who suffer and overcome. Miller sets out to change his own life—to be the kind of guy who seeks out his father, chases the girl and undertakes a quest. Along the way, he comes to understand God as a master storyteller who doesn't quite control where his characters are going. An unexpected bonus of this book is Miller's insights into the writing process. Readers who loved Blue Like Jazz will find here a somewhat more mature Miller, still funny on accident, but more concerned about making a difference in the world than in merely commenting on it.
I could not tear through this book fast enough. Miller really knows how to put words together in incredible ways. AND, in addition to being an organic, funny, inspiring memoir, it was also a story about story, and if you know me -- I love stories.
If you're someone who loves plot and character and conflict (all the things writers sometimes struggle with), you have got to get this book. Miller realizes his own story is lacking all the things that make great stories that we love to read and watch in the movies, so he sets off to make his story a STORY, letting the Master Storyteller scrawl across the pages of this life.
It was so inspiring, it made me want to evaluate my own life in relation to the elements of a story, and adjust things so that my life isn't just boring words on a page. Seriously, you have to go out and read this book. Now. Do it. I'll be here when you get back because I want to know what you thought.