No Shame or Sadness

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Paris

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

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette’s life was marked by three marriages and numerous affairs. Described as vivid, sensual and highly imagistic, her writings held autobiographical nuances.  It seems that Colette intentionally blurred the margins between fiction and reality.

In 1920, she married Henri Gauthier-Villars, a music writer and critic of dubious talent. A philanderer lacking moral fibre,   he forced Colette to produce novels that would bankroll his personal needs.  She became a success with her “Claudine” novels, which she wrote as Colette Willy from 1900 until her marriage breakdown in 1906.  After her divorce, Colette did not look back, but went headlong into a career as a music hall mime.  For six years, she traveled the circuit and enjoyed modest success. Through it all, she continued with her writing, growing ever more confident and prolific.  In 1909, at 36 years of age, she produced and starred in her first play, En Camarades.

Sidonie Gabrielle Colette embraced all of what life offered – hope, sadness, joy, betrayal, and disappointment – and transformed these moments into an art form.  She loved her past and present, but was able to move on towards her destiny.