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To the Bush and Back to Business

Paperback, 208 pages, A5 format. Published by G.P. Martin. To be released July 2012.
ISBN 978 0 9804045 5 5

$AU19.95 + postage (Australia).

Available late August 2012. 

In a few words.....

The book explores why a young man left Sydney and went bush, looking for an alternative community and a “back to the earth” lifestyle. It follows his experiences using his own writings – short stories, poems and notes. Eventually he comes back to Sydney and takes up a life in relation to business, and he examines the evolution of his views about the business world.

From the back cover:

A young man who should have found a corporate ladder somewhere and climbed up it, turns his back instead and goes off into the bush. Years later he comes back to the city that he left. In this book he rakes over the ground: the search for a viable livelihood living close to the earth, the search for an alternative community. He asks himself, was the questing anything more than loss and failure? What do those young-man dreams look like now? And what does business look like?

This is personal archaeology, not a work of tidy history. The only records he has to call upon are a stack of papers, folders and exercise books in a box. We have to glean the history from what comes out of the box – poems, short stories and notes on scraps of paper that ignite memories. This is archaeology that brings us face to face with ideals and desire, loss and hard circumstance, and passions that endure.

To the Bush and Back to Business postcard

The author talks about the book.....

This book was the result of my third "Nano Wrimo" experience — National Novel Writing Month, where you sign up on a website and commit to writing a novel of at least 50,000 words in one month. It is something that over 160,000 people around the world do each year (and over 30,000 achieve that goal).

Other things in life I plan. NanoWrimo is different. The only thing I plan for that is my time. I make sure I will have a few hours of uninterrupted computer time every morning for a whole month. As far as the book is concerned, I try to come in as empty as possible. I just start writing from the present and then follow the thought. So what happened?

It was a strange experience. On the two previous occasions, a story came up very quickly, and I knew that that was the experience I had to write about. This time, it wasn't like that. Instead, it was a theme that emerged, or rather, a question — why did I leave the city and "go bush" as a young man? And why did I eventually come back to the city?

It was this question that drove the writing. And another thing happened too. I was prompted by memories of poems and short stories I had written through those years of what city people might call exile (although others think it was coming back to the city that was madness). I decided, with some hesitation, to open up the box that was full of this material, and incorporate it in the book.

I fell deep into this experience, and the month passed quickly. Then two weeks passed before I sat down and read it. I discovered that there is a consistency to my passions and ideals across long periods of time. I think I have a clearer sense of the whole now than I did when I was younger, the idea of the well-being of all-that-is. But the idea was there at the beginning, front and centre, raw and sometimes desperate, but for all that, rock solid.

And business. Because the book is about that, it says so in the title. The business zealots will say I am against business. It would suit them to say that. But all I say is, there is a flaw in how the business extremists present business to us. They claim it is pre-eminent, and above ethics. All I'm saying is, that is a lie, and we all suffer because of it. Put things back into their proper perspective. Love modesty and humility, love the earth (because you come from it and you rely on it to live).

There is an ache in this message, because it is so simple. I will keep saying it. Take the journey. Buy the book and follow me into the wilderness. It will all be worthwhile.

Reviews and reactions

To come.