Early last month, author Barbara Holland, passed away. Aside from those who take drinking so seriously as to write about it, Ms. Holland’s death received very little notice. Granted, it was covered by a few newspapers. But her quiet passing at her home in the rural central Virginian countryside did not receive the normal amount of attention usually given literary and media types. Yet those of us who read her words and were so greatly affected and influenced by them quietly mourned this news with a toast among friends or a solemn drink alone.
After a few weeks of introspection on her literary contributions and their influence, I’d like to add my thoughts on the loss of a drinking icon.
Like many of my Generation X contemporaries who read Ms. Holland’s work, I was immediately hooked after reading her quintessential Joy of Drinking. In fact, this book was the inspiration to begin this blog; and this book rightfully stands first on this site’s Recommended Reading page. Her words on drinking customs and cultural norms of years past made me jealous of her life experience during those more traditional and simpler times. I also realized that I too held strong opinions and ideas concerning this hobby of drinking. Writing and drinking are both enjoyable pastimes, so why not take a few minutes each day to record my impressions on the matter?
And really, who cannot adore a woman who so eloquently writes on the virtues of drinking, smoking, and swearing?
So passes into time – like Bernard DeVoto and Kingsley Amis before her – another wise voice so clearly and cleverly encouraging the regular and copious consumption of strong drink. Though her ideas, to some, may sound as from a bygone era, a few of us still remain who happily take up her mantle to thoughtfully and humorously extol the pleasures of drinking. And to fondly remember, as her memoir is titled, when all the world was young.