Barbara Holland quotes

  • Gloom we have always with us, a rank and sturdy weed, but joy requires tending.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Weed #Joy #Sturdy

  • Subtly, in the little ways, joy has been leaking out of our lives. The small pleasures of the ordinary day seem almost contemptible, and glance off us lightly...Perhaps it's a good time to reconsider pleasure at its roots. Changing out of wet shoes and socks, for instance. Bathrobes. Yawning and stretching. Real tomatoes.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Real #Shoes #Roots

  • By and large, people who enjoy teaching animals to roll over will find themselves happier with a dog.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Dog #Teaching #Cat

  • Life, after we'd had a few millennia to observe it, turned out to be dreadfully unfair, so we invented sports.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Sports #Unfair

  • Coaches and headmasters praise sport as a preparation for the great game of life, but this is absurd. Nothing could be more different from life. For one thing sports, unlike life, are played according to rules. Indeed, the rules are the sport: life may behave bizarrely and still be life, but if the runner circles the bases clockwise it's no longer baseball.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Sports #Baseball #Circles

  • No doubt about it, solitude is improved by being voluntary.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Solitude #Doubt

  • Napping is too luxurious, too sybaritic, too unproductive, and it's free; pleasures for which we don't pay make us anxious. Besides, it seems to be a natural inclination. ... Fighting off natural inclinations is a major Puritan virtue, and nothing that feels that good can be respectable.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Sleep #Fighting #Pay

  • The only people who still read poetry are poets, and they mostly read their own.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #People #Poet #Stills

  • Once considered an art form that called for talent, or at least a craft that called for practice, a poem now needs only sincerity. Everyone, we're assured, is a poet. Writing poetry is good for us. It expresses our inmost feelings, which is wholesome. Reading other people's poems is pointless since those aren't our own inmost feelings.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Art #Reading #Writing

  • Sophistication called for a variety of talents and attitudes, but the minimum requirement was being in New York. Not all New Yorkers achieved it, but nobody elsewhere had a prayer.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #New York #Prayer #Attitude

  • New York was where we wanted to live when we were finally grown up, and drink martinis and stay out past bedtime ...
    -- Barbara Holland

    #New York #Past #Bedtime

  • Are you seeing a psychiatrist?' as a conversation opener would nowadays earn you a punch in the nose, but for fifty years it was a compliment. It meant, 'One can plainly see you are sensitive, intense, and interesting, and therefore neurotic.' Only the dullest of clods trudged around without a neurosis.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Years #Interesting #Noses

  • moral indignation is a pleasure, often the only pleasure, in many lives. It's also one of the few pleasures people feel obliged to force on other people.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #People #Morality #Pleasure

  • In America, snobs who wouldn't be seen dead with a lottery ticket play the stock market. We like to gamble. Winning, we have closed our eyes, leapt across the yawning abyss, and landed knee-deep in daisies. Even losing has a certain gloomy glamour: the gods of chance are worthy opponents; we have engaged them in hand-to-hand combat and though we lost, at least we shrank not from the contest.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Eye #Winning #Play

  • Recreational talking is, along with private singing, one of our saddest recent losses. Like singing, talking has become a job for trained professionals, who are paid considerable sums of money to do it on television and radio while we sit silently listening or, if we're truly lonely and determined, call the station and sit holding the phone waiting for a chance to contribute our two cents' worth.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Lonely #Jobs #Loss

  • War was ... the chief or maybe the only source of patriotism, and many a politician, from prehistory up to this morning, unified a discontented citizenry by pointing out a national danger and declaring war on it.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Morning #War #Politician

  • Single life should be experimental in nature and open to accidents. Some accidents are happy ones.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Single Life #Should #Accidents

  • The United States government, in figuring our gross national product, defines 'durable goods' as anything that will last three years.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Government #Years #United States

  • True ownership of anything requires time ...
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Ownership

  • The larger the ego, the less the need for other egos around. The more modest, humble, and self-effacing we feel, the more we suffer from solitude, feeling ourselves inadequate company.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Humble #Self #Ego

  • It's curious that throughout our history together, with no apparent effort, people have been able to think of the cat simultaneously as the guardian spirit of the hearth and home, and as the emblem of freedom, independence, and rootlessness.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Home #Heart #Cat

  • Cats vary so widely that all data is meaningless and the professional classifiers gnash their teeth trying to come up with even a single fact common to all.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Cat #Data #Trying

  • a woman may be called a wife and mother for most of her life, while a man is called a husband and father only at his funeral.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Mother #Husband #Father

  • If a quick glance back over world history shows us anything, it shows us that war was one of our most universal joys from our earliest beginnings, savored at every possible opportunity and even some quite incomprehensible ones ...
    -- Barbara Holland

    #War #Opportunity #Joy

  • Smiting enemies has always been so admired that, unlike medicine or archaeology, it entitled its successful practitioners to become kings, emperors, and presidents ...
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Kings #Successful #Medicine

  • Success in war was the only success that counted; failure was a disgrace to be wiped out only by starting another war and winning it.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #War #Winning #Starting

  • A good-looking piece of scenery anywhere delights the eye and elevates the spirits. Some of us, crude creatures that we are, are merely excited; finer souls draw ethical and spiritual nutrients from the sight.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Spiritual #Eye #Sight

  • In civilized places idleness, once the prerequisite for abstract thought, poetry, religion, philosophy, and falling in love, has become a character flaw. In America we've managed to stamp it out almost completely, and few people under forty can remember a single moment of it, even in earliest childhood. The phrase 'spare time' has vanished from the land.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Falling In Love #Philosophy #Single Mom

  • Anyone who has raised more than one child knows full well that kids turn out the way they turn out - astonishingly, for the most part, and usually quite unlike their siblings, even their twins, raised under the same flawed rooftree. Little we have done or said, or left undone and unsaid, seems to have made much mark. It's hubris to suppose ourselves so influential; a casual remark on the playground is as likely to change their lives as any dedicated campaign of ours. They come with much of their own software already in place, waiting, and none of the keys we press will override it.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Children #Sibling #Kids

  • Very few people have no opinions about cats.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Cat #People #Opinion

  • However long you have a cat and however plainly he lays his life open before you, there is always something hidden, some name he goes by in a place you never heard of.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Cat #Names #Long

  • For the first time in six or seven thousand years, many people of goodwill find themselves confused about art. They want to enjoy it because enjoying art is something they expect of themselves as civilized persons, but they're unsure how to do so. They aren't even sure which of the visible objects are art and which are furniture, clothes, hors d'oeuvres, or construction rubble, and whether a pile of dead and decomposing rats is deliberate art or just another pile of decomposing rats.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Art #Confused #Years

  • Perhaps it's a good time to reconsider pleasure at its roots. Changing out of wet shoes and socks, for instance.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Shoes #Roots #Good Times

  • The thousands of possible lives that used to spread out in front of me have snapped shut into one, and all I get is what I've got. It's time to pass on the possibilities, all those deliciously half-open doors, to my children, and drive them to the airports, and wish them bon voyage.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Life #Children #Airports

  • I was getting sick and tired of being lectured by dear friends with their little bottles of water and their regular visits to the gym. All of a sudden, we've got this voluntary prohibition that has to do with health and fitness. I'm not really in favor of health and fitness.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Tired #Sick #Water

  • Poets and songwriters speak highly of spring as one of the great joys of life in the temperate zone, but in the real world most of spring is disappointing. We looked forward to it too long, and the spring we had in mind in February was warmer and dryer than the actual spring when it finally arrives. We'd expected it to be a whole season, like winter, instead of a handful of separate moments and single afternoons.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Spring #Real #Winter

  • A catless writer is almost inconceivable.
    -- Barbara Holland

  • There is no 'cat language.' Painful as it is for us to admit, they don't need one!
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Communication #Needs #Language

  • parents needn't bother driving small children around to see the purple mountains' majesties; the children will go right on duking it out in the back seat and whining for food as if you were showing them Cincinnati. No one under twenty really wants to look at scenery.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Children #Purple #Parent

  • We don't get enough pampering. If we were once the only child of an adoring mother, we developed a taste for it; if not, we developed a thirst for it.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Mother #Children #Pampering

  • Visiting is a pleasure; being visited is usually a mixed or ambivalent joy. ... The visitor can always go home; the visitee is already home, trapped like a rat in a drainpipe.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Home #Joy #Rats

  • Hospitality, or flinging wide the door to friends and wayfarers alike, was once important, back in a world without motels or safety nets, where a friend might find his castle burnt down or a wayfarer find bandits on his trail.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Doors #Safety #Important

  • We're a shifty, sliding population. ... What we refer to as 'home' may be a place we haven't seen in years; a place where there's no one left who knows our name.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Home #Years #Names

  • The trouble with American History is that you don't remember it, and why should you? Nobody does.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #History #Doe #Remember

  • One's own flowers and some of one's own vegetables make acceptable, free, self-congratulatory gifts when visiting friends, though giving zucchini - or leaving it on the doorstep, ringing the bell, and running - is a social faux pas.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Running #Flower #Zucchini

  • Sometimes, with luck, we find the kind of true friend, male or female, that appears only two or three times in a lucky lifetime, one that will winter us and summer us, grieve, rejoice, and travel with us.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Friendship #Summer #True Friend

  • Dogwoods are great optimists. Daffodils wait and see, crouching firmly underground just in case spring doesn't come this year, but dogwoods have faith.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Spring #Years #Waiting

  • Exercise, to qualify at all, must be lonely, painfu, humorless, and boring.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Fitness #Lonely #Exercise

  • For some of us, the soul is resident in the sole, and yearns ceaselessly for light and air and self-expression. Our feet are our very selves. The touch of floor or carpet, grass or mud or asphalt, speaks to us loud and clear from the foot, that scorned and lowly organ as dear to us as our eyes and ears.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Eye #Self #Expression

  • Almost any dog thinks almost any human is the Great Spirit, the Primal Creator, and the Universal Force Behind the Sun and Tides. What human can resist?
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Dog #Thinking #Tides

  • A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It's a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.
    -- Barbara Holland

    #Writing #Cat #Typewriters