She's a 16-year-old pop phenom, seilling millions of albums and creating an acting franchise in her Hannah Montana character -- and now Miley Cyrus has published an autobiography called "Miles to Go," written with Hilary Liftin.
Cyrus says the book is a way to show her fans the real person behind the celebrity. Read the excerpt from "Miles to Go," and find out why Cyrus is obsessed with her own hands.
Read the Introduction Below
Dedicated to my first love! The only man who understands me. The one who will forever own the key to my heart. The one I am lucky enough to call not only my best friend but my hero. This book is in memory of my Pappy. I will always love you! Thank you for answering my prayers. xo Miley P.S. I Miss You!
Okay, this is gonna sound like a weird place to start, but I think a lot about my hands. I was born left-handed. My dad is also a lefty, but he's absolutely convinced that I'm right-handed. I think it's because he has always said lefties have to "learn the world backwards," and I know he has had a hard time finding a left-handed guitar every now and then...Whatever the reason, from the time I started to write, he had me use my right hand. It worked. In the rest of my life I'm left-handed, but I do write with my right hand. So if you don't like my handwriting—talk to my dad.
Just to mess with my left-handed self a little more, I came across a book about calligraphy and started teaching myself to write Chinese characters. With my right hand. On a plane. I was flying a chartered jet from Los Angeles to New York. The flight was turbulent, the ink spilled at least twice, and I managed to get it all over myself, the paper, the seats of the plane, and, when I tried to clean up the mess, the bathroom. My mom was yelling at me for getting ink everywhere, but I was really into it.
The word calligraphy is Greek for "beautiful writing." Believe me, people, if the Greeks saw what I was doing they'd make up a new word for it. But I was immediately obsessed. I drew the characters for "love," "luck," "life," and "knowledge" over and over again, first slowly and carefully like a kindergartner learning to write, then faster and better.
It's a good thing the plane wasn't equipped for skywriting, or I probably would have tried to convince the pilot to take a stab at the sign for "Rock on." There's got to be an ancient Chinese character for that, right?
7 hobbies I obsessed over for 5 seconds
3. knitting for two seconds
5. reading the life story of Einstein
6. being a marine biologist
7. high fashion
Some people believe that your handwriting tells all your secrets—that the slants and loops and dots of a scribbled to-do list or a note passed in class reveal all there is to know about a person. It's a cool idea, but really I think the only thing anyone can tell about me from my handwriting is that I'm supposed to be writing with my other hand. I do almost everything else—brush my hair, open doors, hold a fork, and carry the reins of my horses—with my left hand. And, you know, my Dad had a point—I do think the world feels a little bit backward sometimes even when I'm trying to keep everything going in the right direction.
Maybe because I've felt so aware of them, I've always been superprotective of my hands. I know, I know: weird.* But I just feel as though my hands are important. My energy comes from them. Everything I do comes from them. My right hand is for art. I use it to play guitar and to write. My left hand is for caring. For combing my or combing my little sister's hair. For holding hands with friends. For comforting Sofie, my puppy, as we fall asleep. (And occasionally for slapping my brother Braison upside the head when he's picking on me. I know— but everybody has their limits!)
I let both my hands wander freely on a piano, searching for the right notes. My hands steer my thoughts when I write in my journal. They riffle through my Bible, finding truths. The beat for a new song emerges as I drum on a tabletop. I feel my way through hard times. I want all I do to be artistic and loving. Who I am and what I say and whatever hope and joy I may spread—it all comes from my own two hands.
Am I right-handed? Am I left-handed? Am I neither? Am I a singer, or an actor? Am I a public person, or am I a private person? Why can't I be all these things? I'm on TV. I'm writing a book. But I also love staying at home with my family. And I feel alone—in a good way—inside my head. Am I the person you know from television, photographs, even this book? Or are we all, each of us, more elusive, and harder to define? Who am I to say?
Most people know me as Hannah Montana, but Hannah is a television character. She's fiction. Sure, I've put a lot of myself into her. I've tried to make her come to life. But that doesn't make her real, and it doesn't make her me. This is my very own book—my first chance to tell my own story in my own words. But to tell my story, I have to talk about Hannah. And that's okay. Because I think that's why people relate to both Hannah Montana and Miley Stewart—my alter egos on TV. There are multiple sides to all of us. Who we are—and who we might be if we follow our dreams.
*You might be reading this word a lot in this book. Or at least thinking it.
It seems like I'm always answering questions about myself: I do interviews on TV, radio, and for magazines; I talk to paparazzi and strangers on the street. Over and over I tell people (and so far it's always true) that the tour's going so great, the show is so much fun, and I'm so proud of my album. But nobody ever comes up to me and asks, "Hey, how do you feel about your hands? How are they connected to your art? What do they mean to you?" This book is the place where I can explain and joke and muse and explore what's truly important to me. I want to answer the questions I'm never asked. I want to let my guard down. I want to talk about what music means to me, and I want to show that my life isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It's not like I've never been hurt or broken. I've felt pressured, unwanted, sad, bored, and lonely. And I've felt great joy and gratitude. I want to share who I really am—not the straight-edged, Photoshopped, glossy girl who appears on magazine covers, but a Nashville-born middle child who loves Marilyn Monroe and hates vegetables and has always had some rather funny ideas about her own hands.
When I started working on this book I was fifteen, and I turned sixteen by the time I finished it. I'm pretty young to be writing about my life. But I'm considered pretty young for plenty of the things I do and enjoy. There's nothing wrong with being young. Young people have lots of energy! We have lots to say. I've never had a shortage of thoughts, ideas, or opinions. I know I'm still near the beginning of my life. I'm having an incredible journey, and it's going superfast. So I want to plant a mile marker right here—at this particular bend in the road—before its image starts to fade as I keep moving forward. I hope you can kick back and [enjoy the ride*] hang out with me for a while.
* Forget the cheesy driving metaphor.
Copyright © 2009 by Smiley Miley, Inc. All rights reserved. Published by Disney • Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the publisher.