Walt's Look Around: Special artist - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Special artist

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EUPORA, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Melissa Prewitt has lived with her grandparents since she was five years old.

And as with many people who have a disability, Melissa has one incredible ability.

She started making her architectural models over 30 years ago.

And many of them are displayed at her grandparents home in Eupora.

Melissa's is a world of total silence.

She was born deaf.

She has never heard the first sound in her life.

Sound is an obscure idea to her.

Melissa knows how to read and write.

She knows letters.

But not the sound they make.

Her language is shape.

The relation of curves to straight lines and angles.

That is Melissa's language.

Geometry, applied Geometry: lines and mathematical probabilities and relationships.

And she expresses herself in architectural models.

Eudora Welty wrote short stories.

Melissa Prewitt makes three dimensional cabins and houses.

And Faulkner wrote novels.

Melissa makes the Empire State Building, four feet tall, to scale and in detail, all freehanded from memory without the aid of rulers and straight edges.

Her language is lines and shadows and curves and edges.

Plain talk: Flowery language. Romantic language, The Eiffel Tower in minute detail, even detail on the inside of the model.

For sport, Melissa works complex puzzles.

Here's one that would tax most of us to perplexity: Hay in a Needle Stack.

It took her three months to solve it.

I would have thrown it out about two months and two weeks before that.

Are her architectural models just a pastime?

Or is it an indication of an intense intellect yearning for an expression that would have known no bounds had she also had the ability to hear?

Or if she had heard, would this part of her soul been just as suppressed as is perhaps the genius that lays dormant in all of us is, mute because we had no real need to awaken it?

I have no idea.

And Melissa isn't saying.

But she's constantly making: making lines and angles and light and dark and color and shape and height and depth.

Poetry in cardboard.

Patience in creation.

Mystery in being.

And you wonder what could have been "only if she could hear."

But also realizing what "is" may have never been if the "only if" had happened.

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