One Breath, Then Another
From a young age, Amanda identified with her father, a heavy smoker with food issues who starved himself until he was skeletal. She, in turn, developed a severe case of anorexia that led to hospitalization. A year after she recovered, he died of lung cancer. Desperate to escape his ghost, Amanda fled San Diego to pursue acting and writing in Manhattan, where she eventually became so obsessed with and disturbed by the concept of language that she suffered a mental breakdown and moved back into her mother’s house.
After a year of ineffective psychotherapy, she felt intuitively pulled to study massage therapy and, while massaging a cancer survivor, discovered that easing the pain of others was a powerful way to find reprieve. Amanda moved back to New York to resume creative pursuits but soon found herself lost again.
Frantically searching for inner peace, she left to travel alone through ten cities in India and Nepal. As a tourist amidst extreme poverty, exotic beauty and charged spirituality, internal whirlwinds raged. After weeks of constant motion and changing scenery, Amanda landed in a quiet Indian ashram surrounded by green fields, mountains and endless sky. There, as she trained to become a yoga teacher, she reflected deeply on mortality and the workings of her mind, learning to let go and surrender to the present moment.
Amanda Miller is a writer and actor who published her memoir, One Breath, Then Another on Lucid River Press (2013) and whose writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Freerange Nonfiction, Cratelit, So Long: Short Memoirs of Loss and Remembrance, Underwired Magazine and more. She recently served on the Nonfiction committee for PEN America’s Prison Writing Contest. Amanda has performed her solo plays The Jew in the Ashram and How To Suffer Better nationally and internationally at a variety of theater festivals and venues including the Edinburgh Fringe, Edmonton Fringe, Whitefire Theatre’s Solofest and The People’s Improv Theater’s Solocom. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School and a BFA in Acting from NYU and has produced, curated, and hosted Lyrics, Lit & Liquor since 2012.