That’s right,Â A Million Miles In a Thousand Years: How I Learned Live a Better Story by Donald Miller, changed my life and I don’t think your life is immune to it’s powers either.
It’s a book about his life… about a book about his life.
Specifically, Don wrote a New York Times Bestseller called Blue Like Jazz awhile back and some guys came to him wanting to make a movie about it. So he was like, “sure, that’s awesome”. I mean, what else are you gonna say when someone asks you that question, right?
As they began working on the movie, Don began to learn a little more about the concept of story in relation to script writing. And being the self- reflection obsessed kind of guy he is, it didn’t take long for him to apply the concept of story to his own life…. especially because the story they were currently working on WAS about his own life.
The thing that was getting to him was that they were having to re- write his life a little bit to make it into a better movie. I mean I guess that’s to be expected and doesn’t sound like a big deal. Well, until some guy starts telling you that the way you handled an important problem in your life was wrong or that what you thought was a moving, epic moment is really just a snore fest. I mean this was his life they were talking about! But I guess it just didn’t have enough car chases and naked girls to make it in Hollywood.
So that’s the premise of this book. Don sets out to live his life as if he really is the main character in a story. He talks about developing himself as a character, setting a good scene in his life, pursuing epic adventures, and “the inciting incident” -which is the point in the story that forces the character to progress forward. Like when the main character of a story finds out they’re dying of cancer, losing their farm, or in Don’s case just living a boring life that people wouldn’t want to pay to watch for 90 minutes.
Unlike Don however, I knew my life would make a stunning blockbuster feature!
So I’m sitting there, on a rooftop patio overlooking the ocean, on our summer adventure in Venice CA, reading this book and thinking, “I’m so awesome. Look at me. I took a big risk, have a great setting, I’m living an adventure, and pursuing a dream. I deserve to have a movie made about MY life. And then I deserve to win an Academy Award for it!”And right about the time that I was running low on suntan lotion, I got to the part where he talks about how you can’t have a good story unless your character faces and overcomes conflict. Oh $#*!. Unfortunately, dropping my margarita all over myself when I read that part, doesn’t count as character building conflict (it totally should though because I was sticky for at LEAST an hour after that)!
The Reading Rainbow part (aka why Levar and I think you should read this).
1. Don is real and this book is real.Â I should tell you that Donald Miller is one of my all time favorite authors. He is a Christian author so take note that some of you might not agree with everything he says, but this book is so good I don’t even think you’ll mind the stuff you don’t agree with! I like him because he’s gut wrenchingly honest and often incredibly deep,Â yet somehow he’s able to do it in a way that’s almost…. well, cute. I’m sure he wouldn’t be too happy that I described his heartfelt writing as cute, but too bad because it is and that’s what I love about it.
2. It’s just really really really good. I honestly sat bawling for hours while reading this book (and I cried when I finished it because I was so sad it was over). I also found myself laughing out loud while reading it despite being in public places by myself and having people scoot their chairs further away from the laughing maniac in the corner.
3. It gives some of the best examples of extraordinary living EVER. I’m not kidding this book gave me several new heroes, and those come very far and few between for me. And if you are trying to figure out how to live extraordinarily with kids, then you DEFINITELY have to read this. Most of the incredible people he knows happen to also be living out some of the most unique family lifestyles I’ve ever heard about. I would type all of those stories up for you here and now if I wasn’t pretty sure that was on the plagiarizing no- no list. And anyways, you should read the whole book to get a better picture of it.
If my description hasn’t given you enough reason to one- click Amazon order this book or to at least check out Don’s magnificent blog, then maybe these last quotes from the book that I’m going to leave you with will…
Quotes from A Million Miles in a Thousand Years:
“Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo. But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful.”
“I realized how much of our lives are spent trying to avoid conflict. Half the commercials on television are selling us something that will make life easier. Part of me wonders if our stories aren’t being stolen by the easy life.”
“Nothing against a nice condo, but I privately wondered whether I was a protagonist telling an exciting story who happened to live in a nice condo, or whether I was a protagonist telling a boring story about trying to pay off his nice condo.”
“You become like the people you interact with. And if your friends are living boring stories, you probably will too.”
“While I could not control my happiness, I could control my misery, and I would rather have had control than live in the tension of what if.”
“But fear isn’t only a guide to keeping us safe; it’s also a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”
I believe in this book so much that…
I am going to give away a copy of “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” to the first person who shares the Rare Existence Facebook page with 3 people. Seriously, just 3! And they don’t even have to actually “like” the page. For once I’m going easy on you guys and having low expectations… mostly because I really want someone to win this book! So tell your friends and email me once you’ve done it! First email I get, wins!