Literary Birthday – 28 January – Colette

Colette was born 28 January 1873, and died 3 August 1954.


  1. The woman who thinks she is intelligent demands equal rights with men. A woman who is intelligent does not.
  2. Writing only leads to more writing.
  3. Books, books, books. It was not that I read so much. I read and re-read the same ones. But all of them were necessary to me. Their presence, their smell, the letters of their titles, and the texture of their leather bindings.
  4. To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one.
  5. A happy childhood is poor preparation for human contacts.
  6. It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.
  7. Sit down and 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.
  8. Look for a long time at what pleases you, and a longer time at what pains you.
  9. 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.
  10. Hope costs nothing.
  11. As for an authentic villain, the real thing, the absolute, the artist, one rarely meets him even once in a lifetime. The ordinary bad hat is always in part a decent fellow.
  12. Time spent with a cat is never wasted.

Colette was the pen name of the French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known for her novel Gigi, which provided the plot for the film and musical of the same name. She wrote the influential Claudine books. The novel Cheri is often cited as her masterpiece.

Click here to see an image: Henrie Manuel, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 28th January 2013