- Birthday, Nonfiction, Writing

Colette on Writing, Passion, Solitude, Despair, and More

Happy birthday, Colette! Here are some quotes from this great writer:

“Put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.”

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“To write is to pour one’s innermost self passionately upon the tempting paper, at such frantic speed that sometimes one’s hand struggles and rebels, overdriven by the impatient god which guides it—and to find, next day, in place of the golden bough that bloomed miraculously in that dazzling hour, a withered bramble and a stunted flower.”

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“No one asked you to be happy. Get to work.”

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“There are days when solitude, for someone my age, is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.”

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“It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place.”

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“I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.”

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“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”

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“The writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way as he grows old to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen.”

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“Total absence of humor renders life impossible.”

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“So now, whenever I despair, I no longer expect my end, but some bit of luck, some commonplace little miracle which, like a glittering link, will mend again the necklace of my days.”

Colette +1930 +Mediatheque + Paris

 

About John Madera

John Madera's fiction may be found in Conjunctions, Opium Magazine, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His criticism may be found in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, John Madera lives in New York City, where he runs Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.
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