"Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more."
Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? By Nick Miller
Very touching words. I appreciate the time you took to put this together.
The novel “Isn’t It Pretty To Think So?” written by Nick Miller changed my life. I didn’t think those 388 pages would affect me so greatly, but they truly did.
It was around 2010 when Nick Miller followed me on Tumblr (god knows why he did I’m sure I was the most annoying thing on this planet). That’s how I discovered him. At that time, he had posted the first chapter of his novel, and as far as I know it hadn’t be contracted or anything like that. I even spoke to him once!
The first line of his novel is flawless. It certainly grabs your attention. It reads,
“Tatiana was a prostitute”.
If that doesn’t intrigue you, I’m not quite sure what will.
I began following his novel writing journey on Tumblr along with thousands of other people. Besides being an awesome writer, Nick himself is an interesting character. He might not be the most active on social networking sites, and I’m certainly not critiquing this; when he does post, his thoughts are witty. He’s a firm believer in Moleskine notebooks, and both his Tumblr and Instagram give some photographic proof of this. There’s a fabulous picture of him looking glorious against some desert backdrop on Route 66. The dude is nothing short of inspiring. He cleans up nicely, but can certainly rock a fair amount of facial hair and a mop of hair on his head. He’s an awesome guy who seems down to Earth, but at the same time lives the kind of life you wish you could. I essentially live vicariously through Nick Miller, and I’m okay with this.
I bought the Kindle version of his novel when it came out. The very first day it came out. I had been waiting for the finished project, just like lots of his other online followers. Nick scored one for the underdog writers in this world. He was just a twenty something from California, who successfully published a novel. He made it seem tangible, and made us feel a little better about holding onto the tiny glimmer of publishing hope.
Here’s a video from last year, which explains his novel writing experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzzvWNuxq90&feature=plcp
I’ll be honest. I got 30% done with the novel, and I stopped reading it because I got swept up in school, and fell back in love with printed word. I was cleaning a few days ago though and came across my Kindle Fire. I turned that bad boy on, saw the novel, and started it up again.
I finished it in a day.
I’m a full time college student who works 26 hours a week. I can’t even give you a logical explanation to how I found the time to finish it, but goddammit I was determined and I finished it.
I’ve been telling anybody and everybody who I know to read this novel. It’s reminiscent of Hemingway in a very good way, but I don’t feel as if I’m reading a copy. Nick’s style is very fluid, and he has a way of really getting inside his character’s mind. It’s very easy to relate to the protagonist Jake Reed in one way or another. The plot he weaved was genius, and I truly cannot wait for his next novel.
Few books have really left an impression on me like this one did. I even went as far as to make a playlist corresponding to the novel because I kept hearing the songs and they’d remind me of the novel. Not a real person or anything. Fictional characters and fictional events.
I think that’s a sign of a good book.
I’m already ordering a printed copy, and can’t wait to read it again as soon as I get it. I want to absorb every word, and mull over them. I want them to engulf me again.
Nick, if for some reason you ever see this, I want to personally thank you for inspiring me to pursue my writing. I was about ready to give in and settle for something that I didn’t want to do, but your novel convinced me otherwise. It made me fall in love with words, and writing all over again. It made me accept my passion, and made me feel okay about pursuing it. So thank you. You may not realize, but you truly are an inspiration for the rest of us writers out there. You’re awesome.
PS- We all know that parts of your novel aren’t completely fictional. It’s okay though. It makes it better.
Moleskine notebooks (aka the best)
Time to Write, Dammit.
I spent the rest of the day flipping through my favorite novels and old issues of The New Yorker, pausing to write down words that inspired me, and then watching certain parts of films I loved, freezing the frame to investigate, when there was a book, or, even better, a bookcase in the background of the scene—all in a hopeful attempt to tap into the internal well of my own words. Time to write. As evening fell, I uncapped a new black pen from my shoulder bag and brought the tip to the smooth, yellowish surface of a fresh page in my Moleskine notebook. But twenty minutes passed, and the page was still unblemished, except for the thickening freckle of ink from the bleeding tip of my motionless pen. I picked up my notebook, brought it close to my face, and rapidly flipped through it, fanning myself with its sweet-smelling paper. I paced around the living room, went out to the balcony to stare at the sea and then back into the kitchen, where I filled a kettle with water for some tea and set it over the blue flame. I sat back down at the living-room table. OK—now it’s really time to write.
— Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? (page 130)
Conversation with a Psychic
“I don’t do well with people. Rather than enjoy someone’s company, I spend my time thinking about why that person chooses to say what he says or do what he does. I never add anything to a relationship because I don’t see the point, when I’m so confused about everything—you know, like, if nothing means anything why should I do anything or care about anything or talk to anyone … ? You see that? I also feel that I’ve been tricked and duped my entire life. I really just want to know if I’ll ever be able to tell the difference between real and fake.”
“How do you mean?”
“Well, if someone said, ‘I really want to climb this tree,’ I’d have no idea if he or she likes the idea of climbing the tree or hates the idea of climbing the tree, and I’d probably sit around for hours and wonder which one it is.”
“You’re a young boy. Your age?”
She pulled her hands away from mine, removed the cigarette from her lips, flicked away the ash, and then took a final puff before smashing the butt into the ashtray on her desk.
“OK … so let me tell you what I know. I know that you think my business is phony. I know that you just came here to talk with me because you have no one else. Perhaps you’ve suffered some recent losses and you’re incapable of processing your angst. But … let me tell you what I also know. You’ll be faced with some decisions in the very near future. The choices you make in these specific cases have the capacity to result in extremely divergent life trajectories, much more so than any choices you’ve ever made before. I still see an energy in your eyes, feel a warmth in your blood, but it’s very important for you to understand that, when faced with these decisions, you should not seek darkness. You’re very naive and fragile, because you act as if you don’t believe in anything, as if you don’t care to believe in anything, but, really, all you want is to believe in something with all of your heart. This is a problematic combination. I should tell you that the only way to fit in well with people is to truly love people. And the only way to truly love people is to continue to immerse yourself in social environments where, contrary to what you hope for, you’ll find that people are never what you want them to be. It is at this point of acceptance, if you’re still willing, that you’ll be able to start loving people. And let me enlighten you about something—you must know, for your benefit, that it doesn’t really matter in the end if a person says she wants to climb a tree and doesn’t mean she wants to climb a tree. That’s all I can tell you today.”
— Isn’t It Pretty To Think So? (page 144)