Earlier this month when I attended the PDX Communicator’s Conference, I approached the fabulous and inspiring Chris Brogan (whom I’d had dinner with the night before). During one of his brief breaks between signing multitudes of autographs and having photos taken with fans, I asked him for a copy of his book, which I thought he was carrying in his hand at the time. He distractedly handed it to me as yet another fan approached him; I thought he was letting me see a copy of it while he was visiting with an enthusiastic follower. I looked down and realized that what he handed me wasn’t his book; I mean, it wasn’t the one he penned. It was a different book all together. So during his next free moment, I leaned in and said, “no, no – I meant YOUR book” and started handing back the bright yellow title he’d laid in my hands. This time, with real intent, he pushed it back to me, insisted I keep it, and made me promise him I’d read it right away.
Talk about a life-changing moment.
As promised, I cracked the binding the next day and dove head first into “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller. Miller is a local author here in the Portland area, and this story recounts his experiences adapting his first book into a screen play.
While working with screenwriters, Miller studied the fundamentals of telling a great story, and began realizing that although his book might have lived up to some of the techniques, his real life did not. So he started to ask himself, how does one craft a life that, if given the chance, would look meaningful and compelling on the big screen?
What follows is his “from-couch-to-adventure” experiences, where he takes his once-overweight frame across country on a bike, on the Inca Trail in Machupichu and through personal hurdles that he’d avoided most of his life – both consciously and subconsciously.
But to call this your basic “awakening” tale isn’t doing it justice. Miller’s self-examination is one that crosses the spiritual, the physical and the emotional planes – and that forces the reader to look at him or herself in the mirror and wonder, what else could I do create more purpose in my day? And to help create more meaningful stories for my children?
I finished “A Million Miles” in about two hours – it’s a quick and enjoyable read. But Miller’s journey, and the questions he forced me to ask myself, will stay with me … and benefit my family … for a lifetime.