I can’t remember a time in college I didn't know Patrick Jewell. Our school wasn’t huge, so it was easy to know people, especially if you had common interests. Patrick was a writing tutor, just as I was, so we sometimes worked the same shifts in the basement of Shouvlin Center, helping students organize their thoughts on paper. So, I knew Patrick. We were both, in a sense, word nerds.
But beyond our shared tutoring shifts and tutor meetings, I didn’t spend time a lot of time thinking about Patrick. Until we took fiction writing together. And no, it wasn’t that I fell in love with Patrick (though I’m sure many of my classmates did), but he became the star of our fiction class show, figuratively speaking. Our professor was in love with Patrick’s writing—smitten with, swept away by, adoring of it. At least it appeared that way to me, a person whose fiction writing my professor was not the least in love with.
Patrick had a gift for the short story. I in fact did not. So it goes. Life went on. But I never forgot his talent.
A few years ago, I reconnected with Patrick via email. I confessed my past envy. He was humble about it, which is how I remember his being back in the day. And, no surprise, he is still creating: he’s a painter and printmaker. He’s still got all that talent I remember his having, but now its focus is on the visual. When I see some of his works, they evoke a sense of nostalgia for me, in the best of ways. He’s capable of pulling off beautiful depth in his paintings/prints, and other times his pieces are more whimsical. You can find his etsy site here. You can find his artist website here, which showcases a greater portion of his work.
As you can see, I’m now even further from having Patrick’s talent. I’m still trying to catch up with him in fiction! The extent of my visual creativity is drawing a smiley face on a note to my husband.
But he’s not the only one I think of when I think of the bunch of talent I don’t have. I also think of Tammy Hennessy.
Tammy and I have a shorter history. A few years ago, I had gone by myself to a local contra dance weekend, and though I knew some people’s names and faces, I had no good friends there, so I wandered around alone between dances and during breaks. During one particularly long break, I was grazing in the snack room, when I met Tammy. I can’t remember who started the conversation, but we kept on talking, getting to know each other while resting our feet. The dance ended, and life went on.
Some time later, Tammy friended me on Facebook. I looked up her art blog. I was nothing short of astounded. The woman not only created delicate yet vibrant things, but she was (and is) capable of working in drastically different media. Since then, we have written to each other, lending support and encouragement. It’s funny, but I only ever saw Tammy in person that one time, but of course it feels like we’ve been lingering by the snack table together for a long time now.
I am in awe of the two artistic powerhouses that these people are. They inspire me. I might not paint or draw or sew, but I keep going with what I know.
I’m at peace with that.