Portrait of Jeffrey Miller
by Christi Kochifos Caceres
Jeffrey Miller lives in South Korea where he teaches English composition and conversation. He is also a contributor to the Joong Ang Daily. He recently finished writing his first novel, War Remains – which has yet to be published. One of his first loves, film making, along with his job as a journalist, gave him an eye for photography. He considers himself a point-and-aim kind of guy but at the same time is a perfectionist who will go back to a scene to photograph it again to get the picture right.
How would you begin your day if you had no obligations or obstacles?
Writing! I do it first thing every day. I’m best in the mornings.
What is your drink of choice?
Coffee. Lots of it. And no caramel frappuccinos – just black - as a moonless night.
And green tea, I like the health benefits of it.
Describe a perfect Sunday evening.
It’s been years since I’ve had one. I think what makes a perfect Sunday night is probably what you had growing up – like watching football. But living in Asia the timing just doesn’t work. Actually, a perfect Sunday night is having time with my family.
What do you wish you did not have to do?
Work! No, um… clean my apartment? It really depends… you just never know what’s going to come up in a day that you might not want to deal with. I really wish I didn’t have to rush.
What touches you most deeply?
Hearing my son’s voice – he’s 23 months old.
What books or films do you love?
Oh, there are just too many! I was a film major first; I love movies – old cinema, film noir, French cinema – Truffaut. Akira Kurosawa. The book, With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge…
Who do you consider to be brilliant at what they do?
Don DeLillo - White Noise, Thomas Pynchon. Stuart Dybek, his short story Pet Milk is a must read. And in film, the Coen Brothers - Raising Arizona, No Country for Old Men.
I am amazed at their writing style. They’re really wordsmiths.
What do you consider to be your gift?
Writing is the obvious thing – that’s what people would expect me to say. It’s really being able to allow people to come into the world I create in my writing. I can tell a good story – like I’m an old friend and we’re chatting. We need storytellers!
What do you wish you could stop doing?
Worrying. I wish I could just be like Alfred E. Neuman… I don’t have to worry but I do. I’d like to be able to just let things happen, more in the Eastern mode.
What would you like to banish from the world?
Poverty. Disease. Prejudice.
What question have I not asked that you would like to answer?
You’ve nailed it. Oh… you didn’t ask how I got started.
How did you get started?
It all started with Archie Comics…In 1969 I had written a letter to the Archie Comics Fan Club and won first prize for my letter (five dollars!) – which was published in an issue of Archie. I had pretty much forgotten about it until almost 30 years later when sorting through some old personal items that were in a trunk at my mother’s house. I tell the whole story on my blog, including how a few years later I received a copy of that issue in the mail. Another start was in eighth grade. We had to write our own short story. Mine was about Mars and the kids in my class were characters in the story. My teacher, Mrs. Gandolfi, read it to the class, which the kids loved for the most part. And, I learned to write by reading, observing how a story is crafted.
Author’s note: For the full, and fun, Archie Comics story, see -http://jeffreyalanmiller.wordpress.com/2008/05/01/it-all-started-with-archie-comics/