Inciting incident

I recently finished Donald Miller’s latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, and I am now reading through it again. Re-reading helps me remember key points I missed the first go around and also inspires me to pay attention to detail.

Miller talks an awful lot about something he calls an ‘inciting incident’, wherein the character (you and me) must enter a story because of an external means causing him or her to do so. So, my incident happened to me last Friday. I’ve received a call from a camera store, inviting me in for an interview. I had applied for this job over a month ago and was beginning to lose hope. It also came on a day where I felt trapped in my current posting.

Finally! I thought. I caught a break for once. The interview was the next day, so I trimmed my beard, had some hairs cut off my head and wore my nicest button-up shirt and dress pants. I was ready. I arrived early to the interview, considerably anxious and excited. I browsed around the petite outlet, not really paying attention to the product I was looking at.

Shortly thereafter, I was called into the back room for the interview. I answered the questions as honestly as possible. Hypothetical questions are very odd, as there is no way to accurately predict what you would do in a uncomfortable situation or how you would sell a camera.I had the manager laughing throughout the interview. Not at me, but at the jokes. I left the store feeling good, like I nailed the interview. I had entered into a story.

That was four days ago. I still haven’t received a phone call and the manager said she would give enough notice to whoever was selected to come again for another interview on Thursday. It is Tuesday now. This morning, after picking up some free coffee from the Golden Arch, I called the store and asked to speak with the manager. A girl named Rebekah took my number and said I would be called back shortly.

So now, I’m waiting. Patiently twiddling my thumbs and distracting my anxiety by writing this blog. I’m living a story today.

And despite my elevated heart beat and sweaty palms, I am glad to be in this state. It reminds me that I am alive.

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Inciting incident

March 1, 2010

Today is a new day. The snow has melted away here in Halifax after a blusterous weekend jam-packed with rain and strong wind. A sign of good things to come, I think.

Nothing lifts your spirits more than seeing old, dirty snow wash away into the street drains or soak into the brown grass beneath it. And while there’s not much color out there, I can feel it hibernating. It’s breathing and waiting for the sun.
And so, in this spirit of possibility, I feel the need again to write. I want to tell stories again. I want to live and breathe each moment of each day. And my want needs to become my desire, as I have learned. A want is simply not good enough. A desire is something deep inside all of us, compelling us to live inside the story we have been created to inhabit.
And since I have the day off work, I chose to start my morning differently. After dropping my beautiful, baby-carrying wife off at university, I drove quickly back home and brewed some probably outdated French vanilla coffee. It smelt like wet dog, and it’s taste wasn’t too far from the mark either, but I drank it. For those of you who know me a bit more than the average person, I don’t make coffee. I don’t know if it’s laziness or my inability to measure grinds and water, but I usually make tea. It’s simple and requires little effort. Well, that changed this morning. I brewed my own brew. It tasted weak, I think. After this, I laid back on the couch, underneath the window and read Donald Miller’s latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. I soaked it up. I chose to re-read sentences, paragraphs and quotations. I thoroughly enjoyed his ideas and thoughts and now I feel, they have become mine. I have been wanting to start my mornings with coffee and a good read for a long time, and I just don’t do it anymore. If I don’t start living my story, I never will.
Continuing in the burst of excitement, I decided to work out for a bit. I moved the coffee table out of the living room and forced myself to do 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups. I’ve been gaining a little weight around the stomach area and I’m always complaining about it. Not anymore. I’m going to do something about it. And so, after a painful 10 minutes, I accomplished my tiny goal. It felt great.
I did something today. I lived out part of my story. Are you living yours?
March 1, 2010