Essay Workshop series #2: Shellyne Rodriguez

Here is my next entry in a small series of student writings from the VCS Senior Essay Workshop. This piece is from Shellyne Rodriguez.

Later this week I’ll post some photos from a recent field trip that Amy Wilson’s Foundation Drawing class took to the studio of artist Joy Garnett. After that I’ll be back with another entry from the senior essay workshop, followed by a short piece from Janice Ahn’s Reading, Writing, and Thinking class.


No doubt, there have been many muses in my life; past lovers that I remember fondly. Each one neatly tucked away and compartmentalized in the different chapters or eras of the epic I envision myself to be. If I am to stroll down memory lane and point out just one, I would have to start from the beginning. My first crush: graffiti.

The first time I saw her I can’t exactly remember. She was always around, she loved attention and knew how to get it. She was so attractive, and yet she had a questionable reputation. All the boys wanted her but she wasn’t the kind of girl you would want to be seen with. On any given day you might catch her adorned in different colors, patterns and styles. I would just stare, engulfed in my infatuation, watching all the guys in the neighborhood try their hand at her. It would be wrong to assume that she was easy, she was the type that could smell mediocrity and just by looking at her expression she would expose it, so only the best kept her company.

Hmm. I would fill pages with professions of my love in secret, sort of like practicing what I would say in the mirror. I was too intimidated to approach her; after all, I was a female, but I was convinced that whatever those guys could do I could do better, with a woman’s touch. I was only a girl.

My fever boiled over into desperation, which unearthed courage that led me to approach her. I was nervous but I was sure it was what I wanted. Our first time together was the most cathartic experience of my life (You always remember your first). We went well together and it lasted quite a while! All the fellas in the neighborhood respected me, and respected my relationship with her, I had earned it; her expression spoke for me. But eventually things changed and we began to grow apart. My eyes started to wander and I took other lovers. We ended amicably. We saw each other a few times since then but it was never the same and never as often. Every now and then I see her around, still so attractive and full of life, surrounded by puppy-eyed boy-toys as usual. We always smile at each other with a knowing gaze. We had good times.

Visual & Critical Studies