In search of my island – Part 2

Paulo Coelho

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Shaken by these alarming thoughts, I find a strength and a courage I didn’t know I had: they help me to venture into an unknown part of my soul. I let myself be swept along by the current and finally anchor my boat at the island I was being carried towards. I spend days and nights describing what I see, wondering why I’m doing this, telling myself that it’s really not worth the pain and the effort, that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone, that I’ve got what I wanted and far more than I ever dreamed of having.

I notice that I go through the same process as I did when writing my first book: I wake up at nine o’clock in the morning, ready to sit down at my computer immediately after breakfast; then I read the newspapers, go for a walk, visit the nearest bar for a chat, come home, look at the computer, discover that I need to make several phone calls, look at the computer again, by which time lunch is ready, and I sit eating and thinking that I really ought to have started writing at eleven o’clock, but that now I need a nap; I wake at five in the afternoon, finally turn on the computer, go to check my e-mails, then remember that I’ve destroyed my Internet connection; I could go to a place ten minutes away where I can get on-line, but couldn’t I, just to free my conscience from these feelings of guilt, couldn’t I at least write for half an hour?

I begin out of a feeling of duty, but suddenly “the thing” takes hold of me and I can’t stop. The maid calls me for supper and I ask her not to interrupt me; an hour later, she calls me again; I’m hungry, but I must write just one more line, one more sentence, one more page. By the time I sit down at the table, the food is cold, I gobble it down and go back to the computer – I am no longer in control of where I place my feet, the island is being revealed to me, I am being propelled along its paths, finding things I have never even thought or dreamed of. I drink a cup of coffee, and another, and at two o’clock in the morning I finally stop writing, because my eyes are tired.

I go to bed, spend another hour making notes of things to use in the next paragraph and which always prove completely useless – they serve only to empty my mind so that sleep can come. I promise myself that the next morning, I’ll start at eleven o’clock prompt. And the following day, the same thing happens – the walk, the conversations, lunch, a nap, the feelings of guilt, then irritation at myself for destroying the Internet connection, until, at last, I make myself sit down and write the first page…

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