My Secret Life: Paulo Coelho, 64, author

Excerpts from the interview published this past Saturday, Jan 14, in Independent UK. To read the full Q&A, CLICK HERE

The household I grew up in… doesn’t exist anymore, but my childhood will never disappear.

You wouldn’t know it but I am very good at… archery. The gigantic tension before the shooting of an arrow, and the total relaxation seconds later is my way of connecting to the universe.

You may not know it but I’m no good at… singing. However, every time there is a guitar around I will sing, and my real friends will tolerate it.

I wish I had never worn… an old hippie jacket, covered in patches and metal stars.

My favourite item of clothing… Japanese yukatas [kimonos].

It’s not fashionable but I like
… to sleep naked.

My favourite work of art... The Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck, the most important painting in the world. With all due respect, the Mona Lisa is overrated.

My favourite building... Chartres Cathedral, in France. Original stained-glass windows and a labyrinth that reminds me of the journey we take from life to death.

A book that changed me… Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller. It was while reading this that I discovered you need to use blood to write every single page.

Movie heaven
… Once Upon a Time in the West, followed by Lawrence of Arabia.

My greatest regret… I don’t have one. I’ve done everything I wanted to do, even if I have had to pay a very high price – which has been the case most of the time.

My secret crush... Audrey Hepburn.

My real-life villain... Fundamentalists – and you can find them in every single religion on this planet.

The last time I cried… I cry very easily. It can be a movie, a phone conversation, a sunset – tears are words waiting to be written.

My five-year plan… To continue to breathe.

Comments

  1. Marie-Christine says:

    I like to think about things
    Rien,
    Ir from nothing to everything,

    ‘You need to use blood to write every page.’
    You do.
    The hand that writes the script man u scrito
    We all write our script

    I have a vision of the mystique
    I am opti mystic 2
    I see so many words in one word
    The strange thing about it , I could not see anything earlier on in the texts except the beauty of the way it was expressed,
    There are so many hidden messages in them
    So much knowledge in the mystic

    My childhood will never disappear too,

    I believe ‘you are ‘very good at archery’, I understand the connection with it . I used to wonder about it often, I am so slow with things of the heart

    ‘Not good at singing but my friends tolerate me. ‘
    It’s honest For me, it’s the content and the way it’s beeing delivered that counts

    ‘Wish i had never worn an old hippie jacket covered in patches and metal stars’
    I love the ***** You can see the Sky.

    ‘Favorite items of clothings Japanese Yukas.’
    For me I guess pj’s . :)

    ‘I like to sleep naked.’
    I am giggling.

    ‘My favorite work of art’
    Even though I don’t know much about art, I am quite fond of Odilon Redon’s eye .’ L’oscure clarte qui tombe des etoiles’


    ‘Favorite building ‘
    The Eiffel Tower because a child could have built it (Meccano Set) in his dreams.

    ‘A book that changed me :’
    I love the ‘Warrior of the Light’ but the texts
    ‘The four elements;’ and ‘How to climb mountains’ touched me to another ground, I understood then the connection of all things natural.

    ‘Movie Heaven’
    ‘Roman Holidays’ The music from ‘Once upon a time’ had a lasting effect for other reasons that made me cry.

    ‘My greatest regret’
    Not knowing what it meant to be authentic.

    ‘My favourite crush;’
    Steve McQueen and George Clooney.
    I used to pretend I was Audrey at one time in my life, then Ali McGraw now I guess I am Miss Daisy. :)

    ‘My real life villains :’ Fundamentalists’
    Hum

    ‘The last time I cried :’
    Yesterday,

    ‘My five year plan;’
    To continue breathing too, being alive and part of the plan.

    WIth love,

    Marie-Christine

  2. Camellia says:

    your favorite quote??
    mine is: “Climb high; climb far. Your goal the sky; Your aim the star.”

  3. Mohammad Ali Gaad says:

    Speechless :) sir

  4. sally lewis says:

    I have read many of your books but the last one The Valkyries touched me. Very deeply. I have never been Into magic but know many who are,that just is not how god has chosen to bring me home to paradise and see nothing wrong with that avenue as long as Jesus is the head and center of all truth. I do believe that god can use any way or means that he desires to get us where he wants us. I too am in the midst of writing a book, that is almost complete. Only by the will of God has it been written and only by the will of God will it be published. I thank you for your writings, there has been much gleening from them.

  5. Victoria says:

    The first three questions and answers were the most simple ones but for me have said a lot about the real you. Simply the great Paulo Coelho.

  6. New Soul says:

    Honored & Grateful. Thank you for your post!

  7. Dennis says:

    More power to you Paulo.

  8. swapna sonali says:

    sir, u have inspired millions through your words and these above words just add to the sweetness of honey. i have been inspired a lot by your books and they have helped me change my prospect on life. thank you :)

  9. marghe says:

    PAULO, una richiesta o un suggerimento: perchè non provvedi a tradurre i tuoi video in lingua scritta in modo che, anche chi non conosce l’inglese possa capire?
    O c’è un modo facile per farlo che io non conosco? Grazie.

  10. Alla says:

    Great answers!Especially the last one!I do hope the same!))))

  11. Breda says:

    I enjoyed this article ,you came across grounded ,maybe I prefer that to reincarnation!
    In high school I studied art, I enjoyed studying The Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck and guess what it came up in our exam paper as one of the main questions.I was so pleased and passed my exams of course
    love
    Breda

  12. Julia Park says:

    Hi, Paulo~

    Thank you for your witty notes and new broadcast.
    Today, I took a walk with my hausband around my neighborhood.
    I happened to meet a dog.(Meeting dogs in neighborhood is very common.)
    We saw her couple of time and felt familiar with her. She might feel the same.
    Uncommenly, my husband asked the owner her name.
    He answered that her name is ‘Hope’.
    At that time, I felt it’s ‘Sign’.
    Just before that time, we talked about hope and it’s the very thing we need more than ever.
    Thank you Paulo ^^

  13. Оксана says:

    I do not know English, it is a pity (((((But very much I wish to write to you Пауло. I am in delight from each your book read through by me! I understand each word, each emotion, each sensation! Such feeling, that we somewhere on one wave! I in delight. A lot of food for thought has taken for itself. But I have one question which does not give me of rest. How many percent of concoction in yours works? To tell the truth it would be desirable to trust, that basically it is written that really surrounds us around and is inside of us. Then there is a hope that there is no limit to perfection and possibilities to the further progress much. It would be desirable to receive your answer. Respectfully, Oksana.

  14. heart says:

    I appreciate this interview so much, because it gives fresh, new little pieces of secrets about you, not just the same old, same old repetition of facts, seen in so many articles written about you..The one surprising me the most is that you would like to learn the skills of being a cameraman.. So now, I see a new hope of getting the Alchemist produced. Writer Paulo Coelho. Producer; Paulo Coelho.

  15. Golnaz says:

    Dear Paulo,
    I see you as a little light on my own way. Thanks for being there in the darkness that is nothing except for lack of connection with love, source of light and warmth, and happiness.
    May one day the whole world be filled with beautiful lights like you.
    I have a dream.

  16. Miriam says:

    Paulo,

    You and I have a few things in common. I can’t sing either; I have no regrets, only wishes; and I’m a crier, too. Sometimes I wish I had no tears. But you put it best when you said, “Tears are words waiting to be written.”

    My favorite painting is Marc Chagall’s “White Crucifixion.” I love his paintings.

    I have over 800 books at home but I treasure the “The Alchemist.” I have used it in my class when I teach university students whose first language is not English. What’s really amazing is that most have already read it in their native language: Korean, Chinese, Slovak, Latvian, etc. and love it. I give “The Alchemist” to friends and family as gifts.

    As for my real-life villains I would have to say they are those with mediocre minds. To quote Albert Einstein, “Great spirits often encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds.”

    Thanks for the tour of your office! Have a great day!

  17. Nina Ramirez says:

    Ver bajo esas lineas a un ser humano real.que sufre que rie y llora,un ser humano con sentimientos profundos y que me hace sentir más admiración por usted!

  18. Yan says:

    Chinese version:

    我的生活秘密:保罗科埃略,64岁,作家

    我的父母曾经……是多么的绝望!当得知我想当作家时,他们三次把我送进精神病院关起来。三十五年以后,我以这段经历写成了一本书。《韦罗尼卡决定去死》

    我成长的家园……已经不存在了,但是我的童年永远不会因此消失。

    当我还是个小孩时我想成为……摄影师。

    你不会知道但是我很善于……射箭。张弓待发那一刻的强压和那一秒后完全的松弛,是我与宇宙沟通的方式。.

    你也许不知道可我不善于……唱歌。但是每一次身边有吉他声响起,我就会跟着唱,而真是我朋友的人会容忍我的歌声。

    晚上,我会梦见……我将在博客,推特和脸书上写点儿什么。

    我希望我从来没有穿过……破破烂烂的嬉皮士夹克,上面缀满了补丁和金属行星。

    当我照镜子时会发现……我该换灯泡了,因为镜子前不够亮(我这么想已经有两年了)。

    我最喜欢的穿着……日式浴袍。

    说出来不太风光但是我喜欢……裸睡。

    我最喜欢的艺术风格……荷兰画家扬.凡.艾克的《阿尔诺非尼夫妇》,世界上最重要的画。我无意冒犯,但是《蒙娜丽莎》被评价得太高了。

    我最喜欢的建筑是……在法国的沙特尔主教座堂。依然保持原样的彩绘玻璃和地上的迷宫图案让我联想到从生到死的生命旅程。

    改变我的一本书……亨利.米勒的《北回归线》。我是在阅读这本书的时候意识到,你必须要用鲜血去书写每一页作品。

    最爱的电影……《西部往事》(Once Upon a Time in the West),然后是《阿拉伯的劳伦斯》(Lawrence of Arabia)

    我最近买的一张唱片……《胡椒軍曹寂寞芳心俱樂部》(Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from the Beatles),我的Ipod上没有。

    我最深的遗憾……我没有遗憾了。我想做的都做了,即使必须为此付出极高代价——大部分时候都是如此。

    我的梦中情人……奥黛丽.赫本。

    我现实中的敌人……原教旨主义者,你会在世界上每一个宗教中发现他们。

    我最后一次哭……我很容易流泪。一部电影、一次电话交谈、一次落日——泪水是期待化作文字的无声语言。

    我的五年计划……继续呼吸。

    用六个词形容我的生活……受(上帝)恩宠的,朝圣,射箭,作家,网络,瘾君子

  19. Empié says:

    Otros no hacen sentir tanto con sus obras y se creen dioses, creo que Dios sabe a quien entrega sus dones.

    Un saludo.

  20. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    Thanks for a glimpse into your life. Even your FB post about your office was very interesting. That you regret nothing I find interesting. This is very unusual. Fundamentalists are like athlete’s foot, with a difference. There are no ointment to get rid of them. Incidentally, we have the same taste in movies and I also like Japan. Much love to you!

    I wish you all a wonderful evening

  21. Inas says:

    Dear Paulo,

    Thank you for your office tour. Everything you share with us makes me feel I know you a little better now than before I watched your last video.
    However, I have a question for you. Why do you always wear black clothes?
    With love,
    Inas

  22. Kealan says:

    Unless properly defined by a grouping of people at a particular time, present being the most accurate, all Art is either overrated, underrated, unrated.

  23. Rain says:

    That was very informative about the man behind the wonderful books

  24. Viola Onisro says:

    Hello Sir Paulo,

    Your favourite work of art:
    Yes! A very meaningful painting from the past.
    Hm, but I’m wondering: what’s your favourit painting
    in the present time – well, I guess The Golden Rose.

    By the way my favorit painting is
    “Amor Victorious by Michelangelo Caravaggio”
    (reminds me of you ;-) )

    Connected Greetings. Viola

  25. Marie-Christine says:

    Ma vie Secrete- Paulo Coelho- 64 ans- auteur

    Mes parents etaient tellement desesperes de savoir que je voulais devenir ecrivain qu’ils m’ont enfermes dans un asile trois fois. Trente cinq ans apres, j’ai ecrit un livre base sur cette experience (Veronika decide de mourir).

    Quand j’etais petit, je voulais… devenir cameraman.

    La nuit …je reve de ce que je vais mettre sur mon Blog, Twitter et Facebook.

    Le dernier Album que j’ai achete… ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ Je ne l’avais pas sur mon i-Pod.

    Ma vie en six mots…: beni, pelerin, archer, ecrivain, fan de l’Internet.

    Une vie en resume -
    Paulo Coelho est ne en 1947. Apres s’etre inscrit a la Faculte de Droit, il abandonne ses etudes pour voyager. Il travaille en tant que compositeur et en 1974 est arrete pour avoir ecrit des paroles ‘subversives’. En 1982, il publie son premier livre ‘Hell Archives’. ‘L’Alchimiste’ -son livre le plus vendu – fut publie en 1987. En 2009, son livre ‘Veronika decide de mourir”, et son dernier livre ‘Aleph’ qui est maintenant en vente.
    Lui et sa femme, l’artiste, Christine Oiticica, commutent entre l’Europe et le Bresil.

  26. Shine says:

    Nice to know you more sir. I share your hate of religious fundamentalists…..and thats a very beautiful painting. Love Avantika

  27. Marie-Christine says:

    Ma vie secrete – Paulo Coelho 64 ans Auteur -
    Extrait de l’interview publie le Dimanche 14 janvier sur l’Independent UK. Pour lire les questions et reponses en entier, CLIQUER ICI.

    La maison ou j’ai grandi… n’existe plus mais mon enfance ne disparaitra jamais

    Vous ne le croiriez pas mais… je suis tres fort a l’arc. La force gigantesque avant de tirer une fleche et la relaxation absolue l’instant apres est ma maniere de communiquer avec l’Univers.

    Vous ne le savez peut etre pas mais…je ne suis pas doue pour chanter. Cependant, chaque fois qu’il y a une guitarre pas tres loin, je chante. Et mes vrais amis le tolerent.

    J’aurais prefere… n’avoir jamais porte une veste hippie rappiecee et des etoiles en metal.

    Mon vetement prefere… les kimonos japonais (Yukatas)

    Ce n’est pas en vogue mais j’aime …dormir nu.

    Mon oeuvre favorite …Le portrait Arnolfini de Ven Eyck. l’oeuvre la plus importante du monde. Sans vouloir offenser, la Joconde est surestimee.

    Mon edifice preferre… est la cathedrale de Chartres en France. Les fenetres avec vitrail original et un labyrinthe qui me rappelle le voyage que l’on fait de la vie vers la mort.

    Un livre qui a change ma vie.. ‘Le Tropique du Cancer’ d’Henry Miller. En le lisant, je me suis rendu compte que l’on doit utiliser le sang pour chaque page.

    Les films merveilleux… ‘Il etait une fois dans l’Ouest. suivi par ‘Lawrence d’Arabie’.

    Mon plus grand regret…. Je n’en ai pas. J’ai fait tout ce que j’ai voulu faire, meme si j’ai du payer le prix – ce qui a ete le cas dans la plupart du temps -

    J’en pincais… pour Audrey Hepburn.

    J’ai horreur des… fondamentalistes et vous pouvez les trouver dans n’importe quelle religion sur cette planete.

    La derniere fois que j’ai pleure .. et je pleure facilement. Ce peut etre un film, une conversation telephonique, un lever de soleil. Les larmes sont des mots qui ont besoin d’etre ecrits.

    Mon plan pour les cinq prochaines annees… continuer de respirer.

  28. Gennarose says:

    We share the same crush, villain, and five-year life plan. Thanks for your posts. They’re yummy.

  29. Marie-Christine Grimard says:

    Voici la suite du dévoilement de votre personnalité, presque en forme de portrait chinois (Si j’étais..), particulièrement intéressant, pour qui aime partager son âme avec les autres, comme moi. Je retiens chaque détail, pour éclairer mon esprit quand je relirai vos livres. Plusieurs points communs avec mes pensées retiennent mon attention:
    -Audrey Hepburn, cette femme était un ange physiquement et moralement;
    -le Portait Arnolfi, où l’on voit Van Eyck dans le miroir, comme l’auteur que l’on voit poindre derrière ses personnages dans vos oeuvres;
    -la délivrance de l’archer quand sa flèche a atteint son but, comme un orgasme;
    - la bande musicale d’”Il était une fois dans l’Ouest”, avec laquelle je revisais mon Bac;
    -l’envie de chanter de tout son coeur avec et pour ses amis, même si parfois c’est faux;
    -le fait de dormir nu, sutout si les draps sont en Soie;
    - le fait d’être “bon public” et de se laisser submerger pas ses émotions facilement, devant un film, un livre émouvant ou une toile qui vous emporte dans les émotions du peintre;
    -le fait de souhaiter emplir ses poumons de la force du vent encore quelques années..
    Merci pour ce partage de votre vie secrète avec nous. Bon dimanche. M Christine G

    1. “la délivrance de l’archer quand sa flèche a atteint son but, comme un orgasme”
      Ceci n’est pas qu’une image.
      Dans cette action de l’archer, le corps, le ceur et la tête sont parfaitement alignés.
      Ça donne un bien-être orgasmique.

  30. starry-eyed26 says:

    I love the first line, the second to the last one and the last one… because these 3 (excerpts from your interview), I can relate to…

    1. The household I grew up in… doesn’t exist anymore, but my childhood will never disappear.

    >>> people live with their parents, but it never lasts… soon, parents die too. But what remains are learnings and their legacies… which are either, being lived by or just endless memories…

    2. The last time I cried… I cry very easily. It can be a movie, a phone conversation, a sunset – tears are words waiting to be written.

    >>> I personally cry easily too… receiving notes, poems, little things… constructive criticisms, kind words, etc. I cried a few minutes ago, however, these are tears that can’t be seen…

    3.My five-year plan… To continue to breathe.

    >>> I wish for the same thing. For me to continue to breathe… I don’t like planning as much anymore. life gets in the way most of the time and these are things, which are sometimes out of our control…

    I do hope you continue to inspire people around the world.. :-)

  31. Alexandra says:

    Interesting, some already knew, some things find out now. I think you have good taste ( movie choice, book, actress, painting – but I like more Mona Lisa, just is too many times presented, so we might be bored…maybe). Did not know you use to cry…brave from a man to admit that.
    Big Hug
    ( Aleph is read, and it is a good book)

  32. stan mihaela says:

    Sunt onorata ca invat in fiecare zi cate ceva nou despre viata si asta datorita dumneavoastra,va multumesc ca existati si ca ne impartasiti si noua din gandurile,din faptele,din trairiile dumnevoastra.SUNTETI UN SFANT.Cu dragoste Mihaela.

  33. "SHY" Friend says:

    Our friend in common, “RHS Theatre” tried to share an article written by Oprah in which Oprah had quoted a line from your novel, “The Alchemist.” However, the cyberspace follies were not in RHS Theatre’s favor tonight, and the post was lost. So this “SHY” Friend who roamed restlessly ’round “The Ritz” with “Radar” on……decided to pick up the frustration of our friend, and fight the cyberspace follies

    Oprah’s What I Know For Sure
    By now you’ve probably heard the Internet rumors about the year 2012. Or maybe you saw 2012, the movie starring John Cusack as a man trying to survive the end of the world. (Remember the line from the movie’s ads? “We Were Warned.”). For those of you not familiar with the prophecies of global change (based partly on the cycles of the Mayan calendar), suffice it to say that some people predict a cataclysmic collapse of human civilization, while some others foresee a time of spiritual transformation.
    Of course no one knows what will actually happen in 2012, but one thing I do know for sure is the power of intention. And I intend to approach this year as one of great promise. No doomsday for me: I’m going to do my part, within myself and within the world, to bring about a shift that lets us live more authentically, more lovingly, more intuitively, more creatively, and more collaboratively. That’s my idea of spiritual evolution. Of a spiritual revolution!
    I choose to see it as the dawning of a new alignment, because with alignment comes enlightenment. When you’re aligned with your heart’s desire, when you’re in sync with who you are meant to be and how you’re supposed to contribute to our magnificent Earth, you feel a shift in perception. You start to notice that miracles show up regularly.
    Some people call these miracles coincidences or serendipity. I like to call them marvelisms. Because when I’m doing everything I’m meant to do to keep my mind, body, and spirit whole (which for me means meditating twice a day, eating healthy, and exercising at least one hour daily), I constantly marvel at how other experiences fall into place. It’s as though that beautiful line in Paulo Coelho’s novel “The Alchemist” comes true: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
    It could be something as simple as thinking about tomato soup — and suddenly a producer walks by and says, “i picked up some tomato soup at lunch and now I don’t want it. Do you? It’s still warm.”
    Or really needing a massage and then, when I’m at Starbucks, running into the masseuse I haven’t seen since last year.
    I try to take no encounter or experience for granted. Everything happens in accordance with how we think and what we choose. Yet I do marvel that life, year after year, keeps revealing the best of itself–if we are willing to see it that way.
    Here’s to staying open to all this year has to offer!
    Oprah

    Obviously, your influence continues to impact many….from the rich and famous to the common man, to the damsels from the great American western desert!

    Akawelle!
    The “SHY” Friend

  34. Yan says:

    “I wish I had never worn… an old hippie jacket, covered in patches and metal stars.”

    why not, it must be a lot of fun. :D

    I remembered that as a teenager, I had also tried very strange clothes, like baggy pants, which is so wide, that both of my legs could fit in one hole. And I still wonder why my parents never said anything against it. :D

    love

    Yan

  35. katie says:

    hugs, paulo. I like it when I can see your humor.
    I really like your singing. it is important how the song is interpreted …. the voice needs to have character. there are too many voices that are blank LoL <3

  36. Salem_yah says:

    What about your favorite color?? Mine is blue… in a butterfly.

  37. alicia says:

    es hermoso leer todo a cerca de su vida , yo tambien me hace llorar las injusticias una pelicula romantica,cuando observo lo hermoso de la naturaleza y la crueldad del ser humano , y le doy gracias a dios todos lod dias por respirar.

  38. Brave_soul says:

    You have no secret life sir……………

    You are married. It is no secret if another person knows it.:-)

    Cheers!!!

    1. Viola Onisro says:

      Brave_soul: I had a hearty laugh and I agree :-)! Cheers too!

  39. Pilar says:

    Humanamente humano.

  40. TJ says:

    Without words, only I can feel the life…