Tag Archives: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

Some Favourite Quotes from a Million Miles in a Thousand Years

0785213066I previously wrote a review of Donald Miller’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.”  You can read that review here.

Miller is always really quotable, here are a few of my favourites:

“If you watched a movie about a guy who wanted a Volvo and worked for years to get it, you wouldn’t cry at the end when he drove off the lot, testing the windshield wipers.  You wouldn’t tell your friends you saw a beautiful movie or go home and put a record on to think about the story you’d seen.  The truth is, you wouldn’t remember that movie a week later, except you’d feel robbed and want your money back.  Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who wants a Volvo.”

“But we spend years actually living those stories, and expect our lives to feel meaningful.  The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.”  (xiii)

“Without story, experiences are just random.” (27)

“I think life is staggering and we’re just used to it.  We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given- it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral.” (58)

“I don’t know why we need stories but we always have.”  (80)

“Here’s the truth about telling stories with your life.  It’s going to sound like a great idea, and you are going to get excited about it and then when it comes time to do the work, you’re not going to want to do it… People like to have lived a great story, but few people like the work it takes to make it happen.  But joy costs pain.” (99-100)

“The mountains themselves call us into greater stories.” (159)

“There is an intrinsic feeling in nearly every person that your life could be perfect if you only had such-and-such a car or such-and-such a spouse or such-and-such a job.  We believe we will be made whole by our accomplishments, our possessions, or our social status.  It’s written in the fabric of our DNA that life used to be beautiful and now it isn’t, and if only this and if only that, it would be beautiful again.” (201-202)

“I don’t mean to insinuate that there are no minor climaxes to human stories.  There are.  A kid can try to make the football team and in a moment of climax see his name on the coach’s list.  A girl can want to get married and feel euphoric when the man of her dreams slides a ring on her finger.  But these aren’t the stories I’m talking about.  These are substories.  When that kid makes the football team, he is going to find out that playing football is hard, and he’s going to find himself fin the middle of yet another story.  And the girl is going to wake up three months into her marriage and realize she is, in fact, still lonely, and so many of her issues haven’t gone away… they thought the climax to their substory was actually a climax to the human story, and it wasn’t.  The human story goes on.” (202-203)

“There is a lot of money and power to be had convincing people we can create an Eden here on earth.” (205)

“Do I still think there will be a day when all the wrongs are made right, when our souls find the completion they are looking for?  I do.  But when all things are made right, it won’t be because of some preacher or snake-oil salesman or politician or writer making promises in his book.  I think, instead, this will be done by Jesus.  And it will be at a wedding.  And there will be a feast.”  (206)


Book Review: A Million Miles in a Thousand Years- Donald Miller

0785213066Dare I say, “Blue Like Jazz” was a once in a lifetime book? It was the right book for the right time with the right tone. A writer probably only has one such book in him, if he is lucky.  Donald Miller is on a hiding to nothing trying to write a follow-up.  Readers now come armed with those most evil of emotions for writers and film-makers  high expectations.  They are looking forward to more of the same experience that Miller previously delivered in Blue like Jazz.  And “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” does not deliver and in fact it was cruel of me to expect it to.

It is exactly this blight of “quick success” that has put Don Miller in the slump we find him in at the beginning of the book.  The book cleverly follows three inter-related threads- the nature of life as a story, Miller’s own search for a better story and the writing of “Blue like Jazz”, the movie script.  The main idea of the book is that each of our lives are a story, some of us live great stories and some of us live terrible stories or non-stories.  Throughout the book Miller explores this nature of story through the writing of the screenplay which is mirrored in his own search for a better life story that the slump he is currently in.  Miller is a great story teller and he had me cheering him on, laughing out loud, furiously underlining, inspired, frustrated and even shedding a tear at one point.

Miller’s search for a story leads him to hike the Andes, kayak the Jervis inlet, cycle across America, found a mentoring organisation for fatherless kids, find love and lose love again.

Story has been a theme I have been thinking about quite a bit lately and I picked up this book eager to see what Miller’s unusual way of looking at the world brought to this theme.  I must confess that apart from the chapter entitled “The Reason God Hasn’t Fixed You Yet” which is quite brilliant, I found the book “Jesus-lite.”  I am not sure what Miller’s reasoning behind this was, as he speaks quite clearly and unambiguously when he does speak of Jesus.  I found it particularly unusual given that the great story he seeks and which he speaks about is so clearly fulfilled in Jesus.  He briefly touches on this but I was honestly surprised he did not explore this more.  It would have given the book a greater punch and a greater depth.  In the end what could have been a really great book ends up being a bit fluffy with some great scenes without really going anywhere.  Dare I say that Miller fails somewhat to do what he explores throughout the book- write a great story?