The prince, the princess, and the dragon

January 5, 2010 at 1:38 am (general life, Mental illness)

PS: I’m just about to go and write up today’s adventures at and YES we made it to the Great Wall at last.


I’m reading, “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller (the guy who wrote, “Blue Like Jazz”, and who is sort of like the biological biproduct of Anne Lamott, Annie Dillard, and Adrian Plass).

It’s about the structure of a story (an interesting character with a serious problem, who fights to overcome their problem) and how to make your life a more interesting story, based on the idea that we’re hard-wired to enjoy stories with the above structure, because God made us that way. (This theory also explains suffering in a way that works for me better than any other – suffering ultimately makes the story better.)

At one point, the author said that the next level up from basic story structure is an epic story – when the problem is VERY difficult, and involves selfless sacrifice.

When I began to feel I wasn’t meant/able to be a full-time aid worker in Indonesia, it broke my heart. I’d lost the epic story of my life, and I knew it. My substitute story for my life is my writing, but it just doesn’t seem as hard OR as worthwhile to me. Plus, being mentally ill, I suddenly can’t do a lot of things that I used to be able to do.

You all know how the fairy tale goes – the dragon has the princess and the prince rescues her. I used to be the prince (rescuing others), I HATED being the princess (dependent on others; the least interesting and least active character of the three), and I felt that with my mental illness I was slowly turning into the dragon – someone who caused harm to the world instead of good.

I’ve always thought of myself in terms of story. Always. It’s wonderful to hear it set out by Donald Miller, because it gives me permission to look at the way my story is now, and see what I can do to be a hero I really admire.

Maybe 🙂

Five minutes until we head off for attempt #2 at the Great Wall. Should probably brush my teeth 🙂


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