poetry, prose, and image by Brittney S Holland

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

For Everything, There is a Season...

Dearest Reader,
After much time and contemplation, I feel my life has begun pulling me in a new creative direction. Please visit my new blog tinderheart @ http://mytinderheart.blogspot.com .

Thank you so very much for reading SimonSays through the years.

Most Sincerely,
Brittney S. Holland

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Name is Brittney!

Yesterday I attended the funeral of perhaps the kindest person I have ever known. She was my father’s aunt. And while my life did not afford me the opportunities to know her as well as I might have liked, I can honestly say, “I loved her.” I loved her smile. I loved speaking with her. I loved that she always seemed joyful and genuinely glad to see me.

I love the fact that I never heard her utter an unkind word. Ever!

But what amazes me MOST is that she survived her husband, two of her three children, and one brother. At seventy-eight-years-old, she came to know much sorrow…and STILL she loved…still she found joy and shared it with all she encountered.

I wish I could have known her more intimately.

The catholic in me thinks her worthy of sainthood…my own personal sainthood, that is. I too know sorrow. Perhaps not as great as hers,…but still very great to me. Perhaps she could have offered me sound advice. Perhaps she would have shared her secret. Perhaps her secret was her faith. Perhaps it was Jesus. Perhaps it was just that simple, and perhaps she had had enough practice to finally get it right. Perhaps.

But instead of meditating on these things during yesterday’s service, I found myself angry. Incensed. I wanted to walk out. I wanted NOT to dignify this pastor’s words with my presence. I wanted NOT to allow his foibles, his ill preparation, his lack of attention to detail, his lack of personal investment for so wonderful a woman to go unmet. (I stayed put, however, out of respect for the family.)

My faith teaches me that our heavenly Father calls me by name…knows the number of every single hair on my head. Knew before I was born – the moment of my birth, the moment of my death, and every sin I will commit between those moments. That’s pretty darn personal....and I am NOT that interesting.

So shouldn’t those of us who “officially” serve as the physical hands and lips of our heavenly Father do all we can to take our callings personally? Shouldn’t we strive to “make it personal” with each of our daily ministries? Shouldn’t the pastor presiding over a funeral service at least KNOW the name of the deceased? Shouldn’t he (or she) be able to deliver a eulogy without calling the deceased two or three other names (or parts of names) before resorting to the less personal Mrs. ---------?

I am sure there are times when family and clergy struggle to speak well of the dead, but this certainly was not such an occasion. I heard this pastor “putting words in her mouth.” (i.e., “…and I don’t know, but I bet she would say…” and worse still, “…and she said,…”)

Is this what we have come to? Is this how little the light of life is worth once extinguished…so little that a clergyman can’t take the time to better study his notes? So little that a clergyman can’t tweak and reshape his obviously formulaic eulogy to fit the deceased, rather than tweaking and reshaping the deceased to fit into his formula?

I posted last summer that I have been giving thought to my own end. Ahhh...“When I have fears that I might cease to be….”. Yesterday left me knowing one thing for sure. I want whoever delivers my eulogy to know my name. I want him/her to not put words in my mouth. I sincerely hope that he/she might know me personally and be able to speak from the heart rather than formula. But just in case…

My name is Brittney.

And I hope the following things can be honestly said about me:

  • I LOVED more than I caused pain.
  • I learned from my mistakes.
  • I brought joy to others.
  • I helped someone in need.
  • I sought beauty.
  • I hoped for the best in humanity.
  • I encouraged compassion and tolerance.
  • I personified (in part) the Sacred Heart of Christ Jesus.
  • I am most proud of my children, my education, my conversion to Catholicism, my music, my poetry, and my photographs.
What advice can I offer?
  • Love, love, love.
  • Be kind.

"When we get to heaven, it really won't matter how smart we were.
What will matter most is how much we loved."
(from a homily by Father Patrick at St. Mary's in Rome, GA)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cover Weim

February 2012
Well, I can't celebrate Longchamp's weimy-ness without giving a nod to National Geographic. It seems everyone is finally catching on to the beauty and wonder of these blue and silver beauties!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Weims are So Fashionable!

I LOVE the new Longchamp campaign!
Perhaps you've seen the ads in magazines?
So precious!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Delightful Discovery


image by izak zenou

I stumbled across this image yesterday, and I can't stop thinking about it. It captures so perfectly what I've been up to lately. The school system where I teach has "encouraged" me to participate in a local, certification initiative. Yes, ANOTHER one. "It's no big deal," they said. "It's mostly on-line," they said.

I spent TWO HOURS on ONE of a six-part assignment last week. I've got a year of this (ugh!)...and the whole time, a little voice in my head said, "You could be working on your doctorate."

Ahhhh, my doctorate. My long-lost dream.

As for Simon? He stands and stares at me, just like this little guy. He grows impatient. He wants my attentnion. He couldn't care less about all this homework.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Roman Holiday Faves

...in no particular order
  1. the pastries
  2. the espresso
  3. the wine
  4. cobbled stone streets
  5. street side cafes
  6. the little, old men (so charming)
  7. the windows in my hotel room
  8. confession at The Vatican
  9. mass at The Vatican
  10. The Sistine Chapel
  11. The Basilica de Santa Maria in Trastevera
  12. the piazza in Trastevera on Sunday afternoon

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who Knew?

I promise to continue my posts on Italy, but today I want to write about something else, a jewel of a discovery I made while browsing a vintage bookshop on Friday. Eudora Welty was a photographer. Yes, Eudora Welty. Who knew?

Don't know Eudora Welty? That's quite alright. She's an American author, highly anthologized for her stories set in the American South. You perhaps read her along the same time you read stories by Katherine Anne Porter and Flannery O'Connor. Don't recognizes those names? Perhaps that's because their stories too often pale in the literary lights of William Faulkner, Earnest Hemingway and John Steinbeck. Those were, indeed, "hard acts to follow"...especially for a Southern woman.

Such is life.

But it's Eudora's photographs I want to talk to you about today. They are truly captivating. Vintage...yes. A little rough at times...yes. I think these add to their character. And...perhaps my fascination with the recently discovered Vivian Maier and her soon-to-be-released book of images (November) predisposes me to such excitement, but I am truly enchanted. For those of you who are photography buffs, Eudora's images are not fine art photography; they are street images. Mostly, she captures people living in and around Mississippi, people who resonate with the images I conjure when I read her stories. And...perhaps it is this that captures me.

I , too, love watching people, filing them away in my mind for a future speaker in a poem. I also love the insights I gain about humanity while watching others (especially when they don't know I'm watching).

If only I possessed Eudora's courage. (Alas, I am shy.) Her images, unlike the street shots I posted from my trip to Rome, are intimate. Her subjects clearly know they are being photographed, and many times they look directly into the lens.