Michael Earle - Architect of Life Starts a Single Step to "A Mountain To Climb"

Top Quote A Mountain to Climb is an inspirational and motivational story of life memoir set in the 1960s and 1970s in England, and features a hazardous adventure on Timor while on a mission to carry out geological research for Earle's PhD thesis. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 08, 2011 - Michael Earle - Architect of Life Starts a Single Step to "A Mountain To Climb" - A Mountain to Climb on Timor is a witty and entertaining account of a wayward teenager coming of age in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s and trying to transform his behaviour in a bid to prove his worth

    Michael Earle's journey begins when the chance discovery of geology inspires purpose and ambition at school, but he denies the need to curtail social activities and romantic endeavours in favour of hard work, and fails to win a place at university. The outcome is a year of manual labour and the low point of his life. Determined, he does not abandon hope and succeeds at the third attempt.

    The climax of the story is a life-changing adventure in Indonesia among the indigenous Atoni on Timor Island, a hazardous experience full of emotional torment and physical challenges that push Earle to the limit. And he must race against time to make a geological map before the monsoon rains turn dry rivers into impassable torrents.

    On the return voyage, Earle faces a menacing crisis when he falls overboard into the shark-infested Timor Sea during a violent storm. As night approaches, he is disorientated, tiring fast and wondering in which direction to swim.

    'the whirlwind of events and characters, the rapid plot movement, and the physical travel from place to place reminded me of Jack Kerouac's classic novel On the Road…' Stephanie Hale
    In A Mountain to Climb on Timor, Earle's quest is a journey for the ego, driven by a need to mend a psyche wounded by a sense of failure within the social context of the author's middle class upbringing, namely, his family, friends and school.

    Geology is the catalyst or calling that gives him hope, motivation and a road to follow to the objective of obtaining a university degree, the iconic prize that symoblises achievement and will enable him to recover his self esteem. And there is a further quest, one of endurance and geological discovery in the mountains of Timor.

    When Michael Earle returned from his adventure on Timor in 1977 he knew there was a story to tell. But a concoction of desire and knowledge requires a catalyst to ignite a reaction in a busy life, and it arrived twenty five years later in the aftermath of a family bereavement.

    Troubled that his Timor story would remain untold, Earle set about the task of creating a legacy for his family, but in rummaging among diaries, photographs, letters and boxes full of memorabilia going back forty years, he set free a genie bigger and more powerful than anticipated.

    What happened on Timor was only part of a longer journey that the author started in adolescence. He did not fulfil the expectations demanded by his social background, and the reasons for this form the first part of the book as necessary context for the transformation of his character and the achievements at university; justifying the metaphor about a mountain to climb.

    It took four months to write the first draft of the manuscript, and then four years to complete the published version. Born as The Lonely Journey in Search of Far Horizons, the baby became a toddler named A Wiltshire Boy: Journey out of the Wilderness before growing up into A Mountain to Climb on Timor.

    Michael Earle was born in Seend village in Wiltshire and during the 1960s misspent his teenage years in Chippenham, where he chanced upon his vocation of geology at the local grammar school.

    Michael read geology at Oxford Brookes University and went on to Chelsea College, University of London, to do research about Timor.

    His PhD thesis was accepted by the University in 1981, and his research was published in Nature (1979); Tectonophysics (1980); Nature (1983); and the Journal of Metamorphic Geology (1983) - see under Bibliography.

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