A long time ago I put a message in a bottle and threw it into the ocean. Not unlike that Police song, I woke up and there were a hundred-thousand bottles washed upon my shore. That message was Blue Like Jazz, and I honestly didn’t expect anybody to actually read it. Since then, those of us who think the way we do haven’t had much of a chance to get together. I think that is one of the things I’m most excited about in regards to the Million Miles Tour. I do hope to see you on the road. Tickets are now available in select cities, and the other cities should be online soon. Would you spread the word by telling your friends? You can cut and paste this widget onto your own site using the “get and share” button at the bottom. All you do is copy the code like a YouTube video. And you can also post it on your facebook, or tweet about it.
I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a truly positive review of a book from Publisher’s Weekly. They can be a bit snobby about books. And even their review of Million Miles is fairly safe. But I’ll take “funny as hell.” Here is their review. It will print in next week’s issue: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Own Life Donald Miller. Thomas Nelson, $19.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7852-1306-2
I get great questions via twitter nearly every day, and I’d love to be able to answer all of them. But that’s hard to do in 140 characters, and even harder walking through an airport or bagging dog poo at the park. So every so often I’ll just fire off an answer on the blog. Here’s the first, and it’s especially applicable today, since I’m writing: Twestion: christopherbmac@donmilleris How smooth is the transition from writing one book to another? Do U ever find yourself wanting to write for the previous book? Answer: About as easy as turning around a train. Some writers can switch gears easily, but I’m not there yet. I’m convinced it’s a skill I can learn, but I’ve not learned it yet. I wrapped up the final pass of Million Miles about two weeks ago, and have since been editing To Own a Dragon for it’s new release (June, 2010) as Rogue Elephants and Real Men. I passed through the book changing some phrasing here and there (I was surprised at how clean the book actually was) and am now attempting to write a couple more important chapters to add to the book. And that isn’t easy. Each [...]
Recently I purchased a new garbage disposal for my kitchen sink as the old one sounded like I’d dropped a watch in it. I got a referral from a friend for a good plumber, a man who happened to be a Christian, and I called him for an estimate. I called around and his price seemed fair so I made an appointment. The plumber, I will call him Judas, came over with the new disposal and installed it in under an hour. As far as plumbing goes, he was a master craftsman. I was very pleased with his work. And he was polite and kind and even made good conversation, explaining to me how my pipes worked. But here is why I was upset with my plumber: He did not share the gospel of Jesus with me. He was a Christian plumber posing as a non-christian plumber. Perhaps he was trying to be “relevant” or something, I don’t know. So I confronted him. I opened my checkbook but didn’t write the check. I asked him how, as a Christian, he could leave the gospel out of his work? He made some excuse about being a plumber, about being a craftsman [...]
In Nashville they’ve built a giant replica of the Parthenon, the temple in Greece that was built for Athena. I don’t know why they built a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville. I suppose there is a placard that explains it but I don’t like to get that close. It sits in a field just off downtown, just off the country-music recording studios and boot stores, and when I’m driving through town I swear I hear Carmina Burana bellowing from the building’s ribs. At night they light the thing so it makes long black shadows on the lawn and when you look at it, driving by as fast as you can, you can sense a monster slipping its fingers round one of the 46 pillars. I like to think people in Nashville meet on the lawn before the Parthenon once a year to sacrifice a virgin. They don’t kill her, really, but they give her a record contract so she basically becomes a sappy cocaine addict. In exchange the gods feed their industry for another year. I shouldn’t say things like this about the people in Nashville because it probably isn’t true. But that is something I think about when I [...]
There’s this trick in screenwriting/storytelling called “Saving the Cat” in which you have your protagonist do something good, say on page fifteen or so of your screenplay, that way when the movie ends, and your character beats back the bad guys, the audience will be glad for him, and feel contentment about the story they just experienced. It’s true in life too. It was troubling today, then, to see Alberto Contador bashing his teammate Lance Armstrong in a press conference in Spain. Contador won the Tour de France last week, and was supported by Team Astana, which had two other overall contenders in Levi Leipheimer and Armstrong. Armstrong, perhaps the crowd favorite, did have a realistic shot at winning his 8th Tour de France, but it wasn’t that realistic. Armstrong is now 37, more than ten years older than Contador. Contador proved aggressive from the start, breaking away from his own team on the first climb and gaining 8 seconds on Armstrong. This was not a move the team supported, but Contador was in it to win, and let everybody know it from the beginning. But cycling is a team sport. You need the other men on your team to [...]
Anne Jackson, over at Flowerdust.net sat both Mike Hyatt (CEO, Thomas Nelson Publishers) and I down to talk through what Mike and I will be sharing at the upcoming Story conference in Chicago. You can find this video on her blog, but I thought it was interesting enough to feature here as well. The event will come in just about the middle of the Million Miles tour, but I will be sharing most of the same material there that I will in the other 60 cities. Looking forward to the conference. Thanks, Anne, and Mike. Donald Miller and Michael Hyatt – Exclusive Interview on Story from Anne Jackson on Vimeo.
I wanted to post another chapter before I left for Nashville. I actually posted a good chunk of this chapter a couple months ago, but seeing as I turned in all the final edits yesterday, I thought I’d post the entire thing. It’s a short chapter, but it’s gotten some good feedback. There’s a small section in the middle of the chapter that calls back to an earlier chapter in the book. I attended a Robert McKee seminar, and in one of his lectures he addresses the power of conflict as a means of changing a character. Thanks for helping me edit this book. Earlier I posed a few chapters, and based on your feedback made some critical changes, included excluding an entire chapter that some of you felt was confusing. Here’s another sample. Best, Don P.S. While in Nashville this week, I won’t be able to moderate comments. But when I get back, I’ll post them all in a flood. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years Chapter 26 The Thing about a Crossing It’s like this when you live a story: The first part happens fast. You throw yourself into the narrative and you’re finally out [...]
I’ll write till I die, I suppose. Writing got much harder for me after Blue Like Jazz took off, and until this last book I even considered finding other work, mostly because my voice began to feel affected. Million Miles changed that because, for reasons I don’t understand, I stopped caring how the words made me sound, and cared more about how the words sounded. The process reminded me that I could actually love writing the way I did before I got published. I hope whatever book comes next is as much fun. That said, though, there has always been a job I’d rather have than writing. And I recently got that job. I won’t quit my day job, but I’m ecstatic to have the part-time work. I was recently asked to host an interview program that will release as a small-group curriculum and, perhaps, a podcast. The program is called Converge, and the aim of the show is to explore that place where the stuff of faith meets the stuff of life. EMI will be distributing the material, and I’m not certain when it will release, but I owe them and the people at Creative Trust a debt of [...]
Yesterday I ran a contest to see if people knew the significance of this photo. I was surprised so many of you did. Way to know cycling, or random facts, or geek trivia, whatever fits you. And then we opened it up for a second contest to see if anybody could come up with a funny explanation of the photo. Out of more than 200 entries, in which on more than one occasion I looked at Lucy and rolled my eyes, and on a singular occasion she did the same to me, we actually got one that came with a surprise chuckle. Mostly, perhaps, for the visual payoff. Sorry to keep you from working. It really is wrong, you know, to read this stuff while you’re supposed to be selling paper. Regardless, the winner is, after much of the day spent reading the entries, Mr. Shane Bertou, an appropriately French sounding name. Congrats, Shane. The book is in the mail. His entry: ShaneBertou said, July 14, 2009 @ 3:41 pm · Edit He’s this guy’s cousin! http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/upload/2009/04/weekend_diversion_do_tinfoil_h/tinfoil_hat_antenna.jpg