Tag Archives: donald miller

guys who have their crap together.

i bought “to own a dragon” by donald miller back in the fall from powells books in portland.
they shipped it up.
it arrived in a brown envelope.
it quickly made its home squished into the stack as the newest addition of the “books i have every intention of reading” catalogue.

well, i actually started it, but stalled at the end of chapter seven.
i have this horrible habit of starting books then hastily abandoning them for more interesting-looking book covers. i never return to them. i’ve mentioned this before, here.
(years ago i nearly finished “the da vinci code”. i made it to about three-quarters of the way. and literally, in the middle of some crazy chase, i just, meh, lost interest. never picked it up again. didn’t care what happened. still don’t.)

but, i’d like to say i used to have that horrible habit. it’s actually starting to bug me when i do it now. so i left it for a month and when i found it under a pile of stuff, i signed myself up to finish it. to change my habits.
to actually finish books.

as soon as i picked it up, i instantly remembered why i hadn’t made it past chapter seven.
excitement boredom.
it’s him talking about growing up without a father.
and seeing as i am 1. not a dude and 2. didn’t grow up without a dad, it wasn’t exactly the most relatable read.

but i plowed through and was relieved to find the words i count on miller for – words i can underline and take out. 

the funny,

“during the years i lived with the macmurrays, i discovered children were loud. in the mornings they rise with the sun and get into the cereal before their parents wake. within ten minutes, one of them has stabbed the other with a fork and so you rouse each morning to the sounds of murder.”

“what i am saying here is there had to come a point when i started taking responsibility for my life. i had to start opening envelopes, even if i didn’t feel like it. i had to, because if i didn’t i knew i would become one of these guys whose car is filled with newspapers and fast-food wrappers and stuffed animals in the back window.”

“in the end, women are really attracted to guys who have their crap together.”

the honest,

“i don’t know how many months, how many years i spent sitting and watching television, complaining to myself about how boring life was.”

“i had put my head in the sand and let life happen to me. i was like a basketball player sitting at center court reading a book, meanwhile the game was happening around me.”

and the wise.

“the most difficult temptation, in chess and in life, is the temptation to react. reacting without thinking never, ever works.”

“maturity practices  self-discipline, and points a person’s character toward a nobel aim.”

“i can’t list the number of times i thought life was completely over, that i had ruined everything and was going to end up living in a box under a bridge.
sometimes i wish i could go back in time, sit down with myself and explain things were going to be okay, that everybody loses ground sometimes and it doesn’t mean anything. it’s the way life works. this is hard to understand in the moment. you get to thinking about the girl who rejected you, the job you got fired from, the test you failed, and you lose sight of the big picture – the fact that life has a beautiful way of remaking itself every few weeks.
the things that matter right now aren’t going to matter a month from now, a year from now.”

next up?
“catcher in the rye”. i stalled out at page 172.


falling in love with mothers bistro and stumptown and…


so i’m back. and i missed this here little blog.
that’s not to say i wish i would have been writing it instead of walking down burnside or watching the bridges break to make way for the barges or apparantly doing exactly what donald miller does,

“if you want the best food, I’d take you right back to Portland. I’d get us a morning table at Mothers Bistro, and I’d have them bring out the French toast. Then I’d watch you fall in love.”

i read that on his blog this morning and laughed. i just did that. twice. sat at the bar with brandon and jon, a spanish coffee with stupidly dense whipped cream and a plate of their french toast wrapped in corn flakes. pear compote sitting on the side while we relished in portland mornings spent under vintage chandeliers.
i did fall in love. with the french toast, with mothers bistro, and even further with portland.

on the train ride there i wrote. on the train ride back i wrote even more.
and it will undeniably leak onto these pages, but right now, i’m just going to adjust myself back to canadian air and keep my nose in my brown stumptown coffee roasters bag filled with organic ethiopia mordecofe.

if there is one thing that is absolutely certain, it’s that the smell of stumptown will solve anything.



a lot of people wish that they read more. i am one of them.

so i’m making my own valiant effort to get a book under my belt every month.

last month was the new donald miller.
and what an amateur thrill to get to the afterword and be that excited that i finished it. i have an enormous habit of reading a quarter of a book and then losing interest. i have stacks of “i only read to chapter 3” books.


octobers was another book that almost fell victim to the same habit. i had picked up “scar tissue” by anthony kiedis back in cape town sometime in june. i started reading it, got distracted, and it felt no love for a couple months.
then i strictly implemented this goal and since i didn’t want it to be yet another book i sort of read, i picked it up again.


the lead singer of the red hot chili peppers has lived an insane life. an insane life.
it took 465 pages for his life to unravel so i can’t exactly sum it up well, but he has done and felt and been everything under the sun.
he has gone full tilt since infancy and its this awesome, awesome story. and it wasn’t even the typical he-did-a-lot-of-drugs-and-bed-a-lot-of-women story (even though he did those things in excess). he did it with this huge, real-life pumping and beating heart, just like everyone else has, and the emotion and awareness behind his story speak higher than just the typical rock-and-roll lifestyle.

he had a wild father who was lord of the sunset strip. he started smoking dope at 11, was quietly schooled by george clinton and mentored by sonny bono. he went out dancing in a frock dress with no underwear and black combat boots and faxed love poems to his girl, sinéad o’connor. he spent new years with kurt cobain and helped put a then unknown pearl jam on the map by giving them an opening gig. 

here are some of my highlighted lines:

“go get out of yourself and do something for someone else, voila, you don’t feel like shit anymore.”

“i’ve wanted to feel pleasure to the point of insanity. they call it getting high, because it’s wanting to know that higher level, that godlike level. you want to touch the heavens, you want to feel glory and euphoria, but the trick is that it takes work. you can’t buy it, you can’t get it on a street corner, you can’t steal it or inject it or shove it up your ass, you have to earn it.”

“to me, my life was what was in front of me.”

i love that he articulated this, because it is so, so true: “a lot of times people will judge you on their perceived idea of how you’re acting. if you’re in a room and you’re feeling shy and you don’t want a certain amount of attention, you’re not going out of your way to make friends with everybody. then someone’s going to walk away going, “that arrogant motherf*cker, he didn’t even try to talk to me.” you’re trying to lay low and not make a big deal about yourself, but they’re seeing you as this guy who’s all that and a bag of f*cking chips.”

“time and distance have a way of playing tricks with your best intentions.”

talking about drug addiction, you’re not creating the ripple of love; you’re creating the vacuum of shit.”

and the clutch quote:

“i had a distinct feeling, even though i didn’t have a concrete means of achieving it, that whatever i ended up doing with my life, i wanted to make people feel the way this music was making me feel. the only problem was that i wasn’t a guitar player and i wasn’t a bass player and i wasn’t a drummer and i wasn’t a singer, i was a dancer and a party maniac, and i didn’t quite know how to parlay that into a job.”

he turns 47 today. so hey, happy birthday mr. kiedis.



jeffrey’s bay, south africa. may 2009.

i just went on donald miller’s blog. i scrolled down the left side topic reel and close to the bottom read, “stuff that mattered then.”

i didn’t even click on it. i just stared at the title and thought about how rad it is that that even exists. stuff that mattered then. that the things that have broken our souls or put a stick in our spokes or even ruined half an hour don’t have to exist anymore. they don’t waft through today’s minutes.

this picture is the epitome of my life backpacking. out of it has grown what matters to me now.