The Top-11 Things I Hope Not to Say to Donald Miller

This a post inspired by Rob Shepherd’s “Things I Hope To Not Say To @JonAcuff.” Mine is different because it is, obviously, about Donald Miller and not that other famous Christian blogger/author/cool guy. Whereas Mr. Shepherd recently united under the same roof as Mr. Acuff at this year’s Catalyst conference, I’m soon-to-be uniting under the same structure as Mr. Miller at Storyline.

Additionally, my post’s title includes a “top-11” countdown element that Mr. Shepherd’s post lacks (I have a thing for irregular numbered countdowns). Also additionally, my title omits the Twitter handle technique employed by Mr. Shepherd. Also additionally also, my title differs from Mr. Shepherd’s by switching the “to” and “not” so as not to disrupt the seismic balance of infinitives.

And now, my post.

I don’t do well with famous people. I’m not talking people with 1,000 Twitter followers.

I’m talking Hale. Buster Freaking Bluth. The Guy Who Looks A Lot Like Buster Bluth Without Glasses On That HBO Show With That Girl Who Looks Like Elaine From Seinfeld.

You might recall that, upon meeting Mr. Hale, I stuttered and stammered and told him, and I quote, “You’re…you’re…arrested!”

Needless to say, I don’t do well with famous people. But then, I’ve not exactly done well with regular folks either. I am so awkward sometimes. Especially in those precarious first-time-meeting-someone times.

When I registered for Storyline this summer, I hardly considered purchasing the most expensive package — a package that, among many fantastic perks, includes a “Dinner with Don” the night before the conference starts.

Limited finances aside, I couldn’t imagine having dinner with Donald Miller. But really.

How could my brain possibly function sipping water and chewing on fried shrimp across from the man who wrote Through Painted Deserts and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, two books that quite literally altered the course of my existence from Georgia to California and OH MY GOSH WHAT POSSESSED ME TO ORDER FRIED SHRIMP IT GIVES ME SUCH AWFUL STOMACHACHES??

Of course, I’d love to exchange words with Donald Miller someday. But under what context? At what life-stage?

I’m still such a nobody of a writer. Yeah, I’ve finally written a book and sold more than 7 copies. But what would I say to a man who undoubtedly sells dozens upon dozens of books every week?

Alas, I won’t be dining with Don this Friday night, but I can’t help wondering if I will awkwardly bump into him at the actual conference. Like at a workshop or something. Or the middle stall in the bathroom.

So, here now are the top-11 things I hope not to say to Donald Miller — should the occasion arise this weekend or 34 years down the road when I sell more than 8 copies of a book I wrote.

Donald Miller

#11. “Your eyes are so blue…like jazz.”

#10. “Wait, your eyes are blue…aren’t they?” *leans closer*

#9. “Has anyone ever told you that reading your books makes me feel like we’ve been best friends since preschool?”

#8. “Can you mentor me for a year? Or, like, longer, if you’re down.”

#7. “I love you.”

#6. “Will you sign my book? I mean, not MY book like a book that I wrote — even though I did publish my very first book this year and even referenced you a dozen times throughout — no, I mean YOUR book that’s MINE. Like the book you wrote — well, I mean, I know you’ve written more than one book — actually, could you just sign all of your books that are mine? I brought them all to the conference.”

#5. “Please don’t answer now, but will you ride a bike across America with me?”

#4. “Please don’t answer now, but will you ride in a canoe with me to Bob Goff’s house?”

#3. You smell like you just came from a rustic writing session in the mountains.”

#2. “Look over there!” *points, waits for him to look, hugs*

And the number one thing I hope not to say to Donald Miller…

#1. “Can you read something to me? In a Snuggie?”

What about you? What would you not want to say to Donald Miller? And on the off-chance that his and my path do cross this weekend…WHAT SHOULD I SAY???

  • MLYaksh

    Don’t say: “I’m color blind… what does blue look like?”
    Say: “Mr. Miller, what an honor! I am such a huge fan of your work. Thank you for putting on this conference- I am so excited about this weekend!”
    I have some experiences meeting sort-of famous people. Mostly classical musicians whom no one else knows about because I’m a geek.

    • TMZ

      That’s entirely too many words for me to say in one sentence. But if the occasion arises, I’ll try, Mitchell. I’ll try.

      • MLYaksh

        I believe in you, Tom. You can do it.

  • Rebecka

    If you do end up saying one of these things to him, I really, truly hope you’re not in the middle stall in the bathroom! 😉

    • TMZ


  • Kevin Browne

    “Mr Miller, your work has had a profound affect on my life. I am honoured to meet you.”

  • Jack

    “the seismic balance of infinitives”?

  • Jack

    Tom, by all means make it a point to introduce yourself and talk about writing and life.

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