I lit a cigarette and puffed in the air.
“Thanks for giving me advice,” I replied deliberately, “however, Henri, I simply can’t have a job right now, because I’ve conceived great ideas for my book and intended to force myself to start writing it next week. Writing a book is a gigantic task for me, and I want to concentrate only on my writing while I have time to do it. I have no ambition in my life whatsoever, except being a writer. I really don’t think I can do both – taking a job and writing a book – simultaneously. If I want to be a writer, I have no choice; I must spend all my time dedicating to a single task: writing. Also, I really want to change my life for the better.”
“I always admire your resolution for being a writer. Ramon always tells me that you have a talent, and everyone knows of your ability of writing. He also tells me that it’s just a matter of time, and once you get started writing a book, you’ll knock down a number of books. He has the unshakable faith in you as a writer and firmly believes you’ll make him proud of being your best friend. Shogo, you know, you have a great strength inside you, in your heart. You have an unflinching heart that is your great strength – that is why people always believe in you. Think about it, you haven’t written any single book for nine years, but your faith in yourself as a writer has never declined; it has somehow skyrocketed, day by day. How come? Nobody can do that, Shogo.”
Here he suddenly busted out laughing, with noticeable tears streaming down his face, “I am sorry, Shogo. Don’t feel offended by my laughter, but I simply can’t help it. When I think you haven’t done any single work as a writer, but you always tell me the same thing that you don’t have any time to waste because you have to write a book. But you don’t write anything, so I always wonder what Shogo is doing in the daytime? And you always come back to the apartment as dignified as Jesus Christ, as though you had fed a multitude of beggars at Mamita Beach. Sorry, I must stop it here.”
He wiped his tears with both of his hands and composed himself. And then he resumed, “What I’m trying to say is: Most people would have already given it up if they were in your shoes, including myself, because people simply can’t believe in themselves fully like you. But you optimistically believe in yourself without any fear. Even though you haven’t produced anything for your past efforts, you conscientiously believe you would start writing and become a writer someday. I consider you a living miracle.”
I lit a cigarette afresh. “Henri, what I know is only one thing: I want to be a writer – that’s all,” I said frankly, “I still don’t know how. However, each day I’m trying to improve myself, so that when the right moment comes, I can smash under the world’s chin with all my might to make myself known. It seems to everyone that I’m frittering away my time, because I don’t take a job, but I just walk on the streets leisurely and go to cafés to read books every single day – I look like I’m doing nothing to everyone’s eyes: a lazy bastard, but not to me. To be honest with you, I’ve constantly been writing a book in my head and constantly been trying to understand myself. I admit I haven’t written any books yet, but I’ve been developed by life itself, day by day.”