“A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller.
A little over a month ago I downloaded this book onto my Kindle to read and study with my MM group. I love this book. Mostly because Donald puts into words how I feel as a writer and also captures the humor of being human while seeking spiritual growth. But you may enjoy it for entirely different reasons and find a completely different assessment of what this book is about than I did.
Take this passage for instance, “But the want was not enough. My desire to live a better story didn’t motivate me to do anything. I kept sitting down and writing more and more boring words into my life. And when I wasn’t sitting down writing boring words, I was sitting down watching television. Steven King calls the television “the glass teat”, and I was suckling on it for all its sugar. I was licking the glass and pawing at it like a kitten.”
Donald’s been talking about wanting to write a different story about his life because he was approached by screenwriter/film makers to make a movie about his life. Taking his words and putting them on to the screen. This is something I have wanted to do my whole life. To make a movie about my life story.
My friend Kat reminded me that I have had many adventures over the 8 years or so that we’ve been in our MM group such as taking up scuba diving, flying in an open doored mini-helicopter over the Big Bend of Hawaii, hiking up volcanoes, etc. etc. etc. And that did feel good to be reminded that I wasn’t as big a loser as I sometimes feel that I am when it comes to writing my story but there is still something gnawing at me when it comes to writing what is in my mind and putting it into a cohesive form such as a book or out onto a screen into a movie.
I have a deep inner desire to help other people and I have done much deep inner excavation work to help myself out of the many crevices and holes that I’ve crawled into over my life but sometimes when it comes to putting it all down and capturing it onto a page, I become immediately bored with what I am writing and automatically begin asking myself why on earth anyone would want to read what I have to say? How egotistical can I be!!? But this is seriously the kind of mind f&*k that I put myself through.
The converse side of this, by the way, is that the little (big?) grinchy part of me that does not believe that I have anything to say that anyone would want to read (much less get help from) is that I totally judge many of the books that I see on the shelves of book stores and wonder how in the bloody hell these people completed these books, got em published and people are BUYING them for criminey sakes! And don’t even get me started on movies.
Back to Donald Miller, what I love about how he writes is that he writes the truth about where he is at the moment and then shows how he crawled out of the hole that he dug. This gives me great hope and also gives me ideas about how I can craft some of the stories of my life so that I can help other people feel connected and to know that they are not alone on this journey we call life. For that is the big lie that the inner grinch in us tells us, that we are all alone.
Only another writer really understands the pain of being a writer and having this strong desire to write and the need to be read and heard. I leave you with this passage from “A Thousand Miles in a Million Years” which just makes me want to hug Donald Miller:
“That summer, the summer after the winter we started writing the movie, the Tour de France was being broadcast on television. And for some reason it affected me differently than watching other sports. I mean, when I watch football it doesn’t make me want to play football, and baseball doesn’t make me want to play baseball, but for whatever reason, watching Lance Armstrong win his seventh consecutive Tour de France made me want to ride a bike. I figure if a guy can be diagnosed with cancer and overcome cancer and then win seven Tours then start an organization trying to beat cancer itself, the least I could do would be to get off the couch. So I started riding a bike. I just kind of lifted my legs a little and made a circular motion with my feet while sitting in a chair watching the Tour de France. I made believe I was winning. Like I said, I live in dreams.”
Go read this book and writers out there, just write one page today. If you can’t do anything else today, just write down one page.