Tonight I started reading Donald Miller’s latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I’m only a few chapters in, but so far it’s about some filmmakers who approach Miller and want to make a movie based on his best-selling memoir, Blue Like Jazz. Miller finds it challenging to translate his life onto the big screen, given the fact that our real-life scenes are more random and hum-drum and not usually the stuff of car chases, passionate love scenes and heroic epic battles. I look forward to reading on and learning more.
I can relate to Miller’s perspective from the early chapters of A Million Miles. More than 10 years ago I started writing down all the memories I could recall in chronological order, and eventually shaped some of these into a spiritual memoir called Chased by the Wind. The memoir is still unpublished, but it was a very insightful experience of trying to look for patterns and themes and even a plot across the expanse of one’s life to date. I’m into writing fiction again these days—aside from some blogging—and it’s kind of a nice departure after spending a big chunk of time in 2006-2007 writing about myself.
Perhaps I grew up saturated with expectations that real life should feel like a movie, with its key scenes at pivotal points, cliffhangers dripping with musical soundtracks and an ending teeming with clear resolution. I noticed how many actual events failed to live up to my imagined hype; they were anti-climactic bummers.
I watched a lifetime’s worth of TV and movies during the late 70s and much of the 80s—so much that I hardly turn the box on anymore. True life is much more ambiguous. Much of what passes for popular movies, television and even novels relies upon a formula that doesn’t require us to dig too deeply into ourselves. I’m in a season where I’m more into digging than being entertained, and find that creating space to grow in self-awareness is the best plot development I’ve undertaken thus far.