“Perhaps Jesus sent some of His apostles to Hell to save souls,” said John, “even in the worst of torments, not all is lost.”
The idea surprises me. We are chatting in one of the few bars in Los Angeles. John is a firefighter, and today is his day off.
“Why do you say that?” I ask.
“Because I have experienced the same torment here on earth. I enter buildings in flames, see desperate people trying to get out and have often risked my life to save them. I am just a particle in this immense universe, forced to act like a hero in the middle of fire and despair. If I, who am no one of importance, can manage to act in this way, imagine what Jesus can do! For sure, some of His apostles are infiltrated in Hell, saving souls.”
Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 100 million books, which include 14 short story collections and the novel “The Alchemist.” He has been a fan of the Internet since the early 1990s. He spends at least three hours a day online, writing e-mails back and forth with his readers and posting photos on Flickr, MySpace and a blog.
Coelho’s online activities also include promoting pirated copies of his own books. Since 2005 he’s been directing his readers to an online site where they can download his books, in languages from German to Japanese, for free. “I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it.”