This week, it’s the turn of Mike Blue, the author of The Anatomy of Escape: an unconventional adventure, to take a turn in the Thursday Throng. Mike describes himself as “an accountant trapped on the corporate treadmill” who now lives on a bus in the dense jungles of Northern Sumatra.
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
Based on the way I live these days and the content of my writing, many might think that I am some variant of a hippie, environmentalist, anarchist or leftist guerrilla. Not everyone would assume that before I left structured society, I used to be an Accountant, neck deep and suffering on the corporate treadmill!
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
This is clearly an opportunity to not be humble, and self-promote unashamedly, so I’ll quote a recent review about my latest book, as my face reddens from the embarrassment that my name would appear anywhere near those of my mentors.
“Our industrial society, ever since it began, has spawned fierce critics. Two of the best known lived in America: the transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau and the economist Thorstein Veblen. Thoreau gave us the definitive masterpiece of life in the woods with Walden in 1854. Later, in 1899, Veblen became famous with his Theory of the Leisure Class, a savage critique of “conspicuous consumption” depicting businessmen as modern-day “lords of the manor”. Now, following in their footsteps, we have Michael Blue, a young Australian author who has just published his own addition to the Thoreau and Veblen legacy: The Anatomy of Escape.
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
I usually live in my bus, which is often the safest of my writing locales. From time to time I’ll take a room or a bed in a dormitory along the way to get done some functional aspects of living such as showering, shaving, washing and even just to get a great night’s sleep. The occupational hazard though, of being an author who lives in such a way, is when I do take time out from my bus, as a repeat offending sleepwalker, I find myself waking up in unusual places. In the last six months, in my sleep, I have fallen off a double bunk, woken up in the middle of a busy road, walked over a kilometre amongst sand dunes and even walked into the deep end of a swimming pool. As a writer, I think a consistent routine, with a consistent place to sleep, would be beneficial.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
For many years I have debated whether writing about something is as good as actually doing that something. I guess that’s why I write mostly in memoir style – do something then write about it. Something I’ve often wanted to do is to build a small place to live, with my own hands (and perhaps a few tools). I think it is one of the ultimate abilities and an important aspect of self-reliance, a topic that permeates throughout my books. Perhaps that is why I am currently contemplating writing only articles for a while, putting books to one side, and focussing on that. As I write, I am looking for an opportunity to build a wee home out of giant bamboo. Watch this space! No doubt I’ll write about the experience.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Routine. Living nomadically wreaks havoc on one’s productivity. I rarely spend more than a few days in one place and it’s very difficult to find absolute privacy. This makes me a scavenger for both time and space and my output is often cut short by people and events that drift my way. When I do get a spell of consistency and privacy I notice my output increases significantly.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
On the back of the last question, and the number one priority I am now chasing in terms of my writing is that routine is key. Consistency, comfort and privacy are vital to remove the noise of the world so that you can enter and remain in the world of your words.
What is the book that you wished you had written?
I am a huge Tom Robbins fan. I love his descriptive skills and his style of humour. I envy the way he makes seemingly unattached events and characters float through a story fairly passively only to play a vital part in the story development later – almost as if he writes the book in reverse. I wish I had have written Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates, one of my favourites.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
The best answer I have for this is “Yes”. Throughout a writing day, all of the above will play a role, but the order and ingredients vary depending on what stage of writing I am at. Let’s say it is evening time. I have been drinking tea and am now bored with that beverage. I’ll shift into a few beers and notice my ability to generate new ideas seems to increase. (My sweet spot turns sour after three). I’ll incorrectly conclude that alcohol equals creativity. After a bottle of wine and finally concluding that this relationship is not a linear one, I’ll drink a vegetable or fruit juice and a load of water to ward off the morning hangover, unsuccessfully. In the morning, I will reread my work, note that ninety percent of it is either nonsense, undecipherable or just plain rubbish, drink several cups of coffee and begin editing it out.
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
Wine and beer.
You can find The Anatomy of Escape in Kindle and Paperback format here: :
Amazon – The Anatomy of Escape
You can meet Mike on his website here: https://TheLifeAdrift.com/
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.