When two filmmakers approached Donald Miller about making a film adaptation of his best-selling memoir Blue Like Jazz he was given the opportunity to do something most of us never get to do; He edited his life.
That experience caused the always introspective Miller to consider the story his life was telling. If his experiences needed to be edited to make for a more compelling film, why not simply apply those same story telling principles and live a story worth telling? Examining his life from the vantage point of a storyteller causes Miller to go on an inward journey. A journey which leads him to (among other things) reconnect with his estranged father, hike the Inca Trail in Peru, and ride his bike across the United States. In the process he learns that by embracing the role of a mere character in a much larger story, he allows “the Writer” to write a far better story than he could have ever written for himself.
Like all of Miller’s previous memoirs A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is intelligent, funny and though provoking. But where this latest effort stood out fo rme is that it is also very inspirational. I frequently found myself applying Miller’s story telling principles to my own life and asking myself if I was living the best story I possibly could. Often times the answer to that question was “no,” but the Writer isn’t done writing my character’s story quite yet. There’s still hope for us all.