Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"As you sow, so shall you reap" - Paulo Coelho and his secrets

Question: What do you do after you meet your favorite writer, that is Paulo Coelho?
Answer: You read his official biography! :)

After having read "A Warrior's Life: A Biography of Paulo Coelho" I could not help but marvel at Paulo's incredible strength and character. Surely, people interested in glimpses of his life before becoming the best selling writer that he is today know about the time he spent in psychiatric hospitals, his travels around the United States and Europe with of without (a) wife, his involvement in witchcraft... BUT this biography brings along facts and details never mentioned before, mainly due to the fact that Paulo's official biographer, Fernando Morais, had access to 170 handwritten notebooks and 94 cassette recordings that the writer has kept for more than thirty five years and which he wishes to be burnt when he dies.



Thus, we are able to read extracts written decades ago about Paulo's struggle to become who he is today, his insecurities, his black magic rituals and their effect on him, and we are amazed to discover that he is an incredible person with an incredible dream who had his doubts but never gave up. Here are a few interesting facts about his life:

* the small, white ponytail some 10 cm long is a sikha, the lock of hair worn by Brahmans, orthodox Hindus and Hare Krishna monks.

* he performs a short prayer at least three times a day and also when a plane takes off/lands or a car drives off.

* his favorite cigarettes are Galaxy, a brand found in Brazil.

* after his Pilgrimage brought hundreds of pilgrims a day to Santiago de Compostela, the Galician government named one of the streets of Santiago "Rua Paulo Coelho".

* Hotel Le Bristol of Paris, where Paulo sets parts of "The Zahir" has named a drink from the book as "Le chocolat chaud de Paulo Coehlo".

*when he was young, he didn't enjoy dancing, thinking it would make him ridiculous. (from my experience, he has no problem now :))

* Paulo wrote a parody of Kipling's "If..."

"If you can ask your friends and enemies for a chance.
If you can hear a 'no' and take it as a 'maybe'.
If you can start from the bottom and yet still value the little that you have.
If you can improve yourself each moment and reach the heights without succumbing to vanity.
Then you'll be a writer."


TO BE CONTINUED. SOMETIME.