BRIEF HISTORY OF MY WRITING CAREER
I was born in a deep valley in Brazil, surrounded by woods and the pungent smell of a steel plant which spewed fire and dust over the region. It is in Joao Monlevade that my father, coming from Luxembourg, toiled as a rolling mills engineer and where my mother raised us four brothers. This town marked me forever, and the lessons taught by dedicated Dutch nuns and Padre Henriques, whose admonitions for me to write had to bear fruit, sank into my soul and created in me the necessity to accomplish the goals they traced for me. Hence, the little boy dreamt of becoming, one day, a writer.
But engineering came first, a necessity of practicality. These were the worst days of the military government, and Dilma Roussef, current President of Brazil, was forged in the same crucible as I. We come from the same city, Belo Horizonte, and even went to the same High School: Colegio Estadual de Minas Gerais. She embarked in the urban guerrilla movement, while I served in the Brazilian Army. Nevertheless, I published a book of poems in my senior year, and was almost arrested by the DVS, the ominous Department of Social Vigilance. I left Brazil in a hurry just before graduation, forfeiting a prestigious scholarship for which I was a finalist.
In the US, I embarked into a research career that has taken forty years. It is by chance that I had the time to revisit my old writings while in Germany on a Senior Scientist Award from the Humboldt Foundation. As a result of this time for reflection, I republished my poems under better auspices, after translating them to English. This reawakened my old dreams and stimulated me to take back the thread of writing where I had left it, in my adolescence. Painfully at first, then with increasing enthusiasm, I wrote four novels, two of which appeared.