Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Create Your Own Life Story

Today I am pondering Moby-Dick in light of a new memoir I read this past weekend: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller. It challenged me to view my life as a story -- one in which I am a co-author.
Author Donald Miller found himself in what, Ishmael would have called "a drizzly November in [the] soul." Through the aid of two movie producers, he began to"edit his life into a better story."
Through the passing of a beloved uncle, Miller realized that at the close of life "If you [haven't told] a good story, nobody thinks you died too soon; they just think you died." He began to wonder if a person could plan a story for his life and live it intentionally.
Ishmael contemplated this too. In chapter 47 of Moby-Dick, he and Queequeg were weaving a sword mat. Ishmael used his hand for the shuttle and Queequeg slid his oaken sword between the threads. seemed  as if this were the Loom of Time, and I myself were a shuttle mechanically weaving and weaving away at the Fates... this warp seemed necessity; and here, thought I, with my own hand I ply my own shuttle and weave my own destiny into these unalterable threads.

If I have a hope, it's that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the Story, and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though 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.
So what's the basic structure of a good story? "A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it." That's it. 
What does it all come down to? Relationships. "Most of our greatest fears are relational. It's all that stuff about forgiveness and risking rejection and learning to love. We think stories are about getting money and security, but the truth is, it all comes down to relationships."
What's the point? "If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation."  One of the important questions I must answer at the end of each novel on the WEM list is
"How did the protagonist change?"
"The point of a story is never about the ending... It's about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle."
Miller wondered if:
...we were designed to live through something rather than to attain something, and the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. 


  1. Adriana, You may like to read EPIC by John Eldredge. It's a short little book about the story God is telling, and how we are all part of that story. It is intriguing how great literature or stories that capture our hearts and thoughts follow this EPIC story that has been building since the creation of man.

  2. Sounds awesome. Miller talked about what makes a story an epic too. I might have a chance to explore more about that topic in the future! Thanks Ruth.

  3. Adriana - that was beautiful. Both the words and the pictures. Jeannette

  4. Aw, Thank you Jeannette. My kids call that tree, "The Elf Tree". I love to photograph it in all seasons. I'm sure it will resurface here sometime.

  5. Lovely post. I'll add Miller's book to my list.

  6. So much to read and so little time...
    But I do think this one was worth it. It was recommended by Anne at The Modern Mrs. Darcy.

    Anne is a tried and true blog-friend. You won't go wrong with her tips.

  7. Sounds like a really interesting book! I was just thinking about something similar recently - I should check it out.

    I especially like the shadow on the tree photo.

  8. So good to hear from you Patti. It's been a while since I've been over to "A mother, a daughter and 100 books", I see that I've missed a few posts!

    The shadow on the tree was one of those split-second photo opportunities when I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was snapping the picture of the flower/shadow on the tree when my son stepped into my frame and plucked the flower right out of the ground. For an instant I felt dismay, then I noticed his shadow right before me!

  9. that was a great read! have you seen that donald's "blue like jazz" movie was just released too?!

  10. I haven't seen the movie. My husband and I usually wait for new-releases to hit our Netflix queue. (With five kids, it's much easier to have date-nights-in.) I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

  11. Thank you Christine! Good to hear from you.


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