Femme de Lettres

Colette with cats

She was the original femme de lettres qui a mal tourne–the woman of letters who turned out badly.

In The Vagabond she describes missing writing so much when she had to earn her living on the stage:

To write!  To be able to write!  It means the rapt hypnotized gaze, caught by the reflected window of the silver inkstand.  It means the burning of the divine fever on cheek and brow while a delightful death chills the hand that traces words upon the paper.   It means also oblivion of time, the idle nestling in a corner of the couch while yielding free rein to a very riot of invention.  It means emerging from the debauch tired and stupefied but already richly rewarded and the bearer of great wealth to be poured out upon the virgin page in the circlet of light sheltering under the lamp…

Oh, to write!  That joy and torment of the idle!  To write!  Time and again I feel the need come upon me, urgent as thirst in summertime, to take notes, to depict.  And I seize my pen again and begin the dangerous, deceptive game anew, seeking to capture with my flexible, double-pointed nib the sparkling, fugitive, passionate words!   It is merely a brief crisis,  the itching of a scar.

Ah, Colette!  One of my favorite cat worshipers.  What a great description of the urge to write.  The Wit here is finally “itching her scar” with regularity this week, and finding some time to blog as well.  Here’s to hoping for the ever-lasting “oblivion of time” to get it down on all my virgin white paper, and to emerge tired and stupefied.  Feeling very “femme de lettres.”


4 Responses to “Femme de Lettres”

  1. What a great quote…..I love “riot of invention” and “emerging from the debauch….” gotta love Collette!


  2. That’s a great photo, Jenn! Classic.




  3. I love Colette-she’s a writer of great style, beauty, wisdom and wit. Really like your blog too-there are some lovely posts.


  4. Jennifer Rains Says:

    Thanks Mary. Please come back and comment anytime. And, as you can tell, I love Colette too.


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