My second interview is with a fellow writer I met on Groupees, when we both participated in one of their wonderful Community Bundles. Everyone, meet Vinicius Dalpiccol. With such a name, I just had to ask if that’s actually his real name (a question I would never dare to ask if my own name weren’t so unusual – you won’t find a second Jan Jacob Mekes in the world!).
It is indeed my real name. Vinicius is a very common name in Brazil (where I was born and grew up) and Dalpiccol is an Italian last name, not especially common but considering the entire area around me was colonized by Italians it isn’t what you’d call a “strange” last name. That said, I always go by my nickname, Vinni.
Okay, so Vinni it is then. But what about the person behind the name?
The person behind the name is someone who doesn’t know how to answer these sorts of questions (laughs). In broad terms, he is someone very interested in the world around him, fascinated by cultures and languages (a polyglot) and a believer that we are responsible for our own fates; that is, it’s our own responsibility to change everything we are not happy about. Besides writing, he is a voracious reader (like most other writers, nothing special there), enjoys working out and having conversations over one (or several) cups of coffee.
Any favourite type of coffee?
Double espressos are my go-to order, but I do like macchiatos and mochas from time to time.
Since this is, after all, a site about writing and reading, and not about coffee (although writing/reading and coffee are often a winning combination, when the latter is not spilled all over the paper), I asked Vinni what his favourite book is.
I’ll answer this question with two books. Considering I read both fiction and nonfiction regularly, it wouldn’t be fair to choose only one of the two. My favorite fiction book is Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield and my favorite nonfiction book is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
And these are his favourite quotes from said books:
“For what can be more noble than to slay oneself? Not literally. Not with a blade in the guts. But to extinguish the selfish self within, that part which looks only to its own preservation, to save its own skin.”
― Steven Pressfield, Gates of Fire
“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
Next, I asked him about his writing life, what inspired him to write, and if he ever had periods where he stopped writing.
I think I always wrote, in a way or another, but if we’re looking for a specific date it would probably be somewhere during elementary or middle school when I had to write a short story as an assignment. What motivated me to start was that I needed some way to get emotions off my chest, as I used to be a very closed person. It is also the main reason why I write in English even though it’s not my native language; I didn’t want other people to know what I was saying. I can’t say I ever stopped and I can’t say I picked it up again, as my writing has always been “on and off”. I can go for months without writing a single word of my own and suddenly I’ll get the urge and write an entire short story in a morning.
So if Vinni, who’s obviously quite the polyglot, could choose any language to write in, which would it be?
I would probably stick to English just because it’s closer to my heart, so to say. It’s also one of the best, if not the best sounding language in my opinion. In an ideal world I could write a story in English but throw random words in Italian, Swedish or what have you and people would understand.
That sure sounds like an interesting book! It’s not what he’s working on at the moment, though. But what is he working on? Well…
I still don’t know. That’s the beauty of it! I’m creating a few characters and letting them speak for themselves and have a life of their own for some time. The story that is to come is very much a blur at this point, but I have a good feeling about this one. Besides that I’m working on nonfiction articles to get my own website going. If we’re talking more general stuff, I’m preparing to move to Germany for university this October and recently started learning Finnish after procrastinating for so long. It’s an insane language and I’m loving it.
Why Finnish (of all languages)?
Mostly the challenge really, I’m someone who’s very into the Nordic culture and considering I already speak Swedish (and lived in the country for a year) I wanted to learn another Nordic language and also something in a different language family, Finnish was the perfect mix of that.
Finally, I asked him for tips for writers who are looking to think outside the box but are unsure where to look exactly, or are afraid of what’s on the outside of their box.
When I read this question the first thing that came to mind was two quotes from Neil Gaiman’s famous speech: “I hope you’ll make mistakes. If you make mistakes it means you’re out there doing something. And the mistakes you make can be very useful” and “the moment when you feel that just possibly you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists inside, showing too much of yourself, that’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.”
With that in mind, my advice is to stop trying to find something outside, look for inspiration inside yourself and let your heart speak. It will be worth so much more than anything external. The great thing about this is that most people don’t look inside themselves. That, on its own, is already outside the box.
Sounds good… all of us could do with a bit more introspection – it really does produce better writing!
I hope you all enjoyed getting to know this fellow writer. If you have any comments, please leave them in the box below, and if you’re a writer aching to be interviewed, you know where to find me.