Monday, November 23, 2009

Million Miles in a Thousand Years review, part 2

The second part of Donald Miller's book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, is called "Characters". Don imagines God writing THE grand story and writing us into it as if to say, "Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you."
But characters in a good story have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage for the story to be interesting. Miller wonders if people who wonder if Life is meaningless, do they really mean that their lives are meaningless?

This whole idea of creating a meaningful story for the upcoming movie based on Blue Like Jazz plants in the writers of the storyline the idea of Don meeting his absentee father, whom he hasn't seen in over 30 years. This will make the character face conflict that he didn't want to face. A good story is when a good character faces his greatest fears. Don's search for his father is a better story than Don is currently living.

Don also realizes that in a good story, a character is transformed. He or she is transformed. He or she is changed from the beginning of the story. Don needs to decide what kind of character would he would be in this story. What kind of ambitions and actions would this character be known for. In a movie, a character is what he does, not what he thinks or daydreams.

Don was not living any kind of sacrifice. His entire life had been designed to make himself comfortable. This was leading him to consider the thought of actually trying to contact his father. In order to like a character, the character has to do something good or interesting.

Don lets us into the mind of his writing. He relates that one time he was working on a novel and had interesting plot lines for his lead character. The problem was that his characters (in his mind) kept writing their own stories, ruining his plot line. He imagines God writing out His story, but our plans to write our own story keep messing up the wonderful story God wants to include us in. Don tried to get in touch with the Grand Writer of the Great Story and allow God to write his life out for him. Don would go where the Writer would send him and do what the Writer would tell him. At first, it was relatively simple, holding his tongue, helping people, talk to his this point, God had not asked him to do anything difficult. Until...the writer asked him to look for his father.

The book here turns from Don trying to edit his past into an interesting story to living his future and making it an interesting story. Don decides to start living a good story.

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