Roads, Michael J. 1937-
ROADS, Michael J. 1937-
PERSONAL: Born April 14, 1937, in England; son of Herbert (a farmer) and Vera (Clark) Roads; married Treenie Barker, October 4, 1958; children: Duncan, Adrian, Russell, Tracey.
ADDRESSES: Home—Queensland, Australia. Office—P.O. Box 778, Nambour, Queensland 4560, Australia; fax: 61-75442-3040. Agent—Carolyn Silver and James Silver, Silver Literary Agency, 3029 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Farm worker in Cambridgeshire, England, 1952-64; dairy and beef farmer in Tasmania, Australia, 1964-76; writer, 1976—. Worked as consultant to Eco-Farming. Homeland Foundation, past member; Roadsway Re*treats, presenter of seminars and public lectures on organic farming and metaphysical experiences in Australia, the United States and Canada, and elsewhere around the world, 1990—.
A Guide to Organic Gardening in Australia, 1976.
A Guide to Organic Living in Australia, M. Fisher Bookshop (Launceston, Australia), 1977.
Talking with Nature: Sharing the Energies and Trees,Plants, Birds, and Earth, illustrated by Genevieve Wilson, revised edition, H. J. Kramer (Tiburon, CA), 1987.
The Natural Magic of Mulch, 1989.
Journey into Nature: A Spiritual Adventure, H. J. Kramer (Tiburon, CA), 1990.
Simple Is Powerful: Anecdotes for a Complex World, H. J. Kramer (Tiburon, CA), 1992.
Journey into Oneness: A Spiritual Odyssey, H. J. Kramer (Tiburon, CA), 1994.
Into a Timeless Realm, H. J. Kramer (Tiburon, CA), 1995.
Getting There (novel), Hampton Roads Publishing (Charlottesville, VA), 1998.
The Magic Formula, SilverRoads Publishing (Cleveland, OH), 2003.
Roads' books have been widely translated.
WORK IN PROGRESS: More books; research on "true prosperity and abundance."
SIDELIGHTS: Michael J. Roads told CA: "I have spent all my life as an outdoors man, from a child delving into the mysteries of a hidden, silent nature. On leaving school at fifteen, I worked on my father's farm in Cambridgeshire in England. I found that these rather challenging years of innocently connecting with nature were in direct contrast with the control and manipulation of agriculture.
"At age twenty-one I married Treenie, the smartest thing I ever did! In my mid-twenties, following the death of my father, Treenie and I and our two sons moved to Tasmania, the island state of Australia. Here, intending to be a beef grazier, I met with the implacable resistance of nature. A plague of army-worm caterpillars devastated both the pastures and the beef herd in the very first year, forcing me to become a dairy farmer for economic survival.
"This began a whole new education for me. I quickly came to realize that normal, traditional farming techniques were in direct conflict with nature, so for the next decade I became an observer and student of nature. During this time I became a pioneer in the eco-farming movement, applying my techniques and observations on my own land. The soil health was soon reflected in the superior pasture, which in turn passed on its benefits to the cattle. But this was no longer my only focus.
"During the decade of creating change in the land, I learned to become attuned to the spirit of the land, to the silent whispers of nature, and within me grew an inner vision. I saw that humanity and nature had become separated, and I realized that this was not in the natural order of things. I felt within myself an inner longing to powerfully and knowingly reconnect with nature. In this way I felt I would find my own self.
"My years on the farm gave birth to two practical books, A Guide to Organic Gardening in Australia and A Guide to Organic Living in Australia. Both became Australian best-sellers. However, with a desire for personal and spiritual growth, Treenie and I sold the farm and embarked on a year's journey around Australia with our (now four) children. The culmination of this odyssey was for us to become founder members of the Homeland Foundation, a community originally based on the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland. For us both it was a time of challenge, inner growth, and change.
"Four years later, we left the community to continue our inner journey in our own way. At this time I became a consultant for Eco-Farming. This lasted for two years, until a nationwide drought brought the consultancy to a standstill. Once more I turned to writing, setting out my experiences with an inner mystical nature, while daily I worked on empowering my conscious spiritual connection with nature. I learned to cross the membrane separating the material (physical) from the intangible (metaphysical), and writing became my creative outlet, my love in action.
"The first of my mystical adventures is titled Talking with Nature: Sharing the Energies and Trees, Plants, Birds, and Earth. The next book, Journey into Nature:A Spiritual Adventure, continues the theme, going deeper into the inner realms of nature. Simple Is Powerful: Anecdotes for a Complex World is what people call an 'everyone's book.' It is not deeply metaphysical like the others. It is a book of anecdotes from our life that have been very simple yet powerful experiences. My third book in a quartet, Journey into Oneness: A Spiritual Odyssey, goes more deeply into my metaphysical experiences. The last book in the quartet, Into a Timeless Realm, is based on a mystical experience I had in 1977, an experience that took me many years to come to terms with.
"In 1990 Treenie and I started giving seminars in Switzerland and the United States. This rapidly expanded, and we have now given seminars and five-day retreats in many countries, including Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Austria, England, Canada, and Mexico. We now concentrate on the five-day retreats, and the demand is growing each year.
"I have now turned my writing skills toward the mass market, yet I have retained my New Age theme. My first novel, Getting There, is the story of a man, deeply embittered by life, as he searches for meaning and purpose in his daily struggle for existence."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
East West, March, 1988, review of Talking withNature: Sharing the Energies and Trees, Plants, Birds, and Earth, p. 90.
Publishers Weekly, August 14, 1987, John Mutter, review of Talking with Nature, 1987.
Roadsway Web site,http://www.michaelroads.com (March 14, 2003).