When I was fifteen, I said to my mother: "I've discovered my vocation. I want to
be a writer."
"My dear," she replied sadly, "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?"
"Being someone who writes books."
"Your Uncle Haroldo, who is a doctor also writes books, and has even published some. If you study engineering, you can always write in your spare time."
"No, Mama. I want to be a writer, not an engineer who writes books."
"But have you ever met a writer? Have you ever seen a writer?"
"Never. Only in photographs."
"So how can you possibly want to be a writer if you don't really know what it means?"
In order to answer my mother's question, I decided to do some research. This is what I
learned about what being a writer meant in the early 1960s:
(a) A writer always wears glasses and never combs his hair. Half the time he feels angry
about everything and the other half depressed. He spends most of his life in bars, arguing with other dishevelled, bespectacled writers. He say very 'deep' things. He always has amazing ideas for the plot of his next novel, and hates the one he has just published.
........... Paulo Coelho
When I was 21, I said to myself: "I think I've discovered my vocation. I want to be a writer."
"My dear," I replied sadly, "You're a logical and an analytical man without a very clear vision of the world. And besides, each time you think you're able to write, there's ten other writers who are 10 times better than you."
"You're right. Then tell me exactly what I should do."
"You could be a Crime Scene Investigator. Or a lawyer. Or a teacher. Or a counsellor. Or... To be honest, I'm not too sure myself."
There was a long pause.
"If you study engineering, you can always write in your spare time. Volunteer during your spare time. And when you're slightly older, you could join the Police Force. And when you're much much older, you can teach."
"But.... I guess I could study engineering, and simply go where the yellow brick road takes me."