Why I’m Glad Walter Mitty’s Life is No Longer a Secret

O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am! Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing before You. Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah. (Ps. 39:4-5)


I haven’t been able to write for a while.

No, it’s not really because of time, although I’ve used that as a common excuse. I blame it mostly on lack of inspiration, motivation, and a deflated vision. Sometimes the words just don’t flow, no matter what music you put on, what hot drink you make, or what atmosphere you’re in.

I could attribute this to many more solid things currently affecting my life — the place I now live, the crummy week I had, my excitement for other books I want to write (but can’t yet), or my growing complacency. I was ultimately uninspired and refused to force out chapters of ‘blah.’ No one wants to read that, I’d end up editing it out anyway, so why waste time forcing it? When I’m in this despondent state of writing, my spiritual state is also usually in a similar place. Reading the Word feels more like scanning an old boring history book instead of applying life lessons. Praying feels like talking to myself. I know we’ve all been there.

But I prayed for returned inspiration anyway and slowly, morning my morning, I found my God-time more inspired, more alive, and filled with full-hearted searching. This was great. My zest for God was back! But what about my zest for writing? After all, that’s committed to Him, right?

On Saturday, my hubby took me to see the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I realize I’m a bit behind on this bandwagon as the movie came out almost a month ago, but I live in a tiny Idaho valley where everything from movies to fashion hits us much later than the rest of the world.

Photo borrowed from Hollywood Reporter.

I’ve seen both the original Danny Kaye version of Walter Mitty and now the 2013 modern one. Some might compare, but they are both so different from each other and even different from the short story by James Thurber, that they demand original opinions.

I adored the new movie for many many reasons. One of which was because I found my writing zest somewhere amidst the fantastic music and adventure-inciting plot. I was so overwhelmed (in a good way) by this movie, that I broke it down into four reasons it affected me so strongly.

1. I’m a searcher of story. When I watch movies, I dissect the story aspect much more than admiring visual effects. The definition of story, as I’ve come to know it is, “A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.” The Secret Life of Walter Mitty captured story perfectly. Mitty wanted many things — the attractive woman, the missing photograph, a more adventurous life — and overcame quite a lot to get it.

2. It directly matched my life vision. My husband and I share a vision — to live an active life where we pursue great things and see how very far or high God can bring us. It’s like a friendly challenge with Him. This is a vision we pray everyone would have. It’s not an easy one to follow, it takes a lot of decisions and not many of us are decision-makers. In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter makes a decision not to just quit, but to pursue what he believes is great. It’s not just his search for a photograph, but for something more in life. Quintessence. 🙂

3. It directly matched my vision for writing. My debut novel, A Time to Die, is about not wasting one’s life. My character realizes she’s wasted her life when she has only a year left to live and she wants to do something with that year, something meaningful. It requires that choice of action, just like when Walter Mitty decides to jump in the helicopter or take a flight to Greenland.

4. It put me back on track with my novels. Walter Mitty brought the head knowledge of my vision for active living back into my heart. It reminded me why I wrote A Time to Die in the first place. And now, in the past three days, I’ve written almost 10,000 words of fresh, inspiring story. [cheer]

I am thankful Walter Mitty’s life is no longer a secret, specifically Ben Stiller’s take on it. I needed to see it. I needed to feel like I lived it for two hours and five minutes. It is a movie that supports the vision my husband and I are striving to bring to the world, to the youth around us, and to our own lives. Too often, we get comfortable. We get complacent. And then the zest for pursuing life and pursuing God disappears. Our lives are too short to waste!

An active life has to do with mindset more than it has to do with jumping out of a helicopter or long-boarding toward a volcano. And that mindset is all over Walter Mitty’s story. Now, thanks to God’s use of this movie, it’s all over my story again and I can’t seem to stop writing.

Go see it, or rent it when it comes out. I hope it impacts you as much as it did me.


Photo borrowed from comingsoon.net.

Have you already seen it? What did you think?


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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. Great blog. There’s just something really inspiring about “going” to the movies. I think it’s more than just the big screen. Something inside seems hardwired to respond differently to the publicly shared experience of a story.

  2. I can’t wait to see this movie. Thanks for sharing. I really needed to read this right now.

  3. The movie was so amazing I haven’t read the book itself yet but I plan on reading it very soon.

  4. Pingback: Do You Believe Your Life Can Be Epic? - Nadine Brandes

  5. So I take it you took the red car instead of the blue one… =)

    And now there is no world pulled over your eyes to blind you from life’s quintessence.

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