Art by Marc Tice
Name: Emma Monaco
Date of Birth: April 19, 1982
Address: 1412 Neplem, Astoria, OR 97103
Occupation: Art teacher at Ashten Elementary School
Identifying marks: None. Tattoos are too permanent for me.
The day/time you’re filling this out: Tuesday, October 13, 2009, during my prep hour
Where are you: My classroom
What was the last thing you ate: Banana for breakfast, granola bar while I’m filling this out
What’s in your closet: Dress clothes for work: slacks, skirts, blouses. Clothes for home: jeans, t-shirts, sweatshirts
Weapon of choice: (That’s an odd question, isn’t it?) I guess my paint brush or pencil. I’m not into violence, but I use either of those and my easel against emotional attacks.
Friends: Jenny and Sean
Last movie watched: The Ugly Truth. Jenny and I rented it. We made a night of it with wine, popcorn, and chocolate.
Last book read: Art in America magazine, does that count? I don’t read books that often.
Favorite TV show: Senfield. It’s a classic
Last TV show watched: Jay Leno
Last game played: 7up with students
Greatest fear: Disappointing my students, not being there when they need me . . . disappointing my parents.
Greatest love: art
Favorite quote: I have two: “Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one.” Stella Adler and “Art is the only way to run away without leaving the home.” Twyla Tharp
Car: Red 1990 Toyota Camry.
Sexiest part of a man: His hands
Last time you cried: Too private
Last time you laughed: When Sean came in to my class about ten minutes ago and mimicked Principal Dalton’s speech at last week’s staff meeting. “It’s only when we work as a team,” *cough, cough, make sure hair is still covering up bald spot* “that our students benefit.” *Hitch up pants over bulging belly*
Two Entries From Emma’s Diary
Fallen Redemption was the first novel I wrote with the hero as the main character. Since my previous novels were all heroine centered, I figured getting to know Emma would be an extremely easy event. It wasn’t. She was stubbornly silent the first few months of pre-writing.
This was one of the first pre-writing activities she completed for me. Below are two pages from her diary. And although she didn’t talk directly to me, I still learned a lot about her character.
September 8, 2009
Jenny’s crazy. She has another blind date on Friday and, yet again, is trying to get me to go with her. She’s really excited about this one, too. I just don’t get it. What’s there to be excited about? Pounding heart, sweating palms, frantically trying to fill the silence about something other than the weather. And then the guy ends up being a loser who still lives with his parents or some psychopath. I will never go on a blind date. A real one would be bad enough.
In one of her attempts to coerce me into going, she reminded me, oh so casually, of what I tell my students: Never allow hard work or fear to hold you back. My response: I stuck my tongue out at her. Something I learned from Jamie Henderick almost every week last school year.
Her words struck a chord anyway, especially when I think of the closet in my front room filled with emotions that I allow to hold me back on a daily basis.
I’m still not going on the date.
October 14, 2009
I love my kids! Tina Kansicowski gave me a big hug and a “thank you, Ms. Monaco” after class today. She’s been having a hard time lately. Her parents are getting a divorce. She’s been coming into my classroom during recess and after school to hang out. It’s something I allow all my students to do whenever they want.
I try to teach my kids that anger, stress, disappointment, and all other hurtful emotions can be expressed physically with a canvas and a paintbrush. It’s an outlet I use on a daily basis. Most of the time it seems like they don’t even hear me, but then I get that one student. . .the feeling is indescribable.
I did the right thing by becoming a teacher. This is where I’m supposed to be.