So What Do I Actually Do? (1 of 3)

By Paulo Coelho
For The Bali Times

Sometimes readers complain that I say very little about my private life in this column. I do talk a lot – mostly about my questionings in the imaginary world. They insist: “But what’s your life like?” Well, then, for a whole week I went out with a notebook and jotted down more or less what happened in seven days:


1] In silence, I drive the 540 kilometres from Paris to Geneva. Six hours and no important conclusion, no extraordinary revelation. Since I love my work, I swore never to think about it on Sundays; so I try to control myself.

2] Filling station: I see a very interesting collection of metal maquettes. I think about buying them all, but then I reckon that further ahead I will have excess baggage, and many of them could break on the journey. I will use the internet to do that.

3] Bath. Nap. Dinner with a friend. She tells me that the man she is interested in just wants to make love, nothing else. I don’t know what to answer.

1] The alarm clock goes off at 10:15, and – Plan B (those born under Virgo always have a Plan B) –  the hotel telephone operator also calls the room. I am here as a member of the board of a prestigious foundation, and hesitate whether or not to wear the cowboy boots worked in red, white and black leather. I decide to put them on – certain things are tolerated in artists.

2] A quick breakfast with a friend who works at a bank. I ask what he thinks of the current crisis – and he gives a series of answers that he himself does not believe in. I show him today’s newspaper: a bankers’ conference to resolve the crisis. One of them declares that they do not really know the “financial products” they are selling. It’s great that I have my money in savings: Virgos do not run any risks in this area.

3] Lunch with the board of directors. I asked what they thought of the situation in Georgia. Nobody wanted to talk about that, but they did love my cowboy boots.

4] The meeting is very good, without any stress at all. I learn a lot. When it’s over, I place some documents on the roof of the car.

5] When I leave, all the documents fly into the middle of the street. I spend half an hour gathering everything, with cars honking their horns and cursing me. A member of the board passes by, stops further up the street and asks if I want any help. I say no; it is enough for one of us to risk his life for something so stupid.

6] Today I can telephone using the “free hands” system while I drive. I ask Mônica, my agent, to cancel Prague and Berlin (the more I travel, the less desire I have to travel). She says that we need to get together before the Frankfurt Book Fair to “get some details right.” Paris or Barcelona? Paris, she decides. I call Paula, my assistant, to ask why my blog had few comments yesterday – she explains that they changed the configuration, and have just approved a hundred comments.

7] I reach Paris at eleven o’clock at night. I expected to have a stack of things waiting for me, but there were only two packets of books to sign, and a couple of letters. But I travelled! I was in another country! I realize that I travelled a little over 24 hours.

8] Dinner. I leave the computer turned on to download American History X. I go to sleep about two in the morning, after reading some pages of My Year Inside Radical Islam, by Daveed Gartstenstein-Ross. The book is excellent, but I can’t really get into it.

(Continued next week)

© Translated by James Mulholland

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Paulo Coelho

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