Paulo Coelho No one thought Paulo would ever amount to anything. While attending a Jesuit school as a teenager, he dreamed of becoming a writer. When he revealed his career goals to his mother, she told him “My dear, your father is an engineer. He’s a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer? ” He was determined to prove to them that he could accomplish his dream, whether they approved or not. After he turned seventeen, his parents placed him into a mental institution.
Their reason being, they wanted to protect him from himself. Paulo Coelho wanted to be different; he wanted to follow an untraditional path. Coelho later admitted that his parents “did not do that to destroy me, they did that to save me. ” At the time, Paulo must not have understood that since he escaped the institution three times before he was released at age 20. Coelho’s parents convinced him to register for Law School; they were still well aware of his dream to become a writer.
After a year of drudgery in Law School, he finally dropped out to pursue his life as a Hippie, traveling around the world absorbed in the drug culture of that time. He later took up a career in songwriting for Rita Lee, Elis Regina, Raul Seixas. The military government arrested him in 1974 because they believed his lyrics were undermining their authority. Twelve years after that incident, Paulo began the long expedition through the Road of Santiago de Compostela. Little did he know this was the beginning of a new life for him.
During his journey he went through a spiritual development, which he describes in more detail in his book The Pilgrimage. Coelho left his songwriting career after saying in an interview “I had money, but I was not fulfilling my dream. My dream was, and still is, to be a writer. ” Even though Paulo was still hesitant about initializing his writing career, he thought to himself, “If I see a white feather today, that is a sign that God is giving me that I have to write a new book. ” Coincidentally, in the window of shop he found a white eather and he kept his promise to himself and began writing after that. He was 38 when his first book was published. In 1986, after writing Hell Archives and adding to Practical Manual of Vampirism, he wrote his first successful book, The Pilgrimage. He discovered a small Brazilian publishing house, and later a bigger publisher, and published his book The Alchemist about 12 months later. The Alchemist has become a best seller in Brazil and has been printed in over 70 languages, selling over 65 million copies!
Since then, he has become a well-known author. Some of his other books include Eleven Minutes, The Fifth Mountain, Brida and The Witch of Portobello. Brida and The Alchemist have both been made into successful movies, too. In the end, Paulo had a crazy life, but he never truly gave up on his dream of becoming a writer. No one believed he could do it, except himself. Paulo posted to his Facebook page in September that “You don’t need to explain your dreams. They belong to you,” and has lived by this his whole life.
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