January 10, 2006

Page 9

Marty wasn't any slouch herself in terms of her contribution to society.
Aside from what she was doing for a living, and her art career, she ran
something that was a cross between an art salon and a group home out of her
house. She had a circle of young friends who she mentored and guided, as well
as socializing and going clubbing with. This circle included some of her
large extended family, such as her nephew Jason Foren and cousin Melissa
Forrest, as well as friends such as Dakota Warren and miscellanous associates
of all of them.

While she had some wild times with her young friends and associates, there
were a few very hard and fast rules in Marty's home, number one of which was,
no drugs. She might play and party hard with her crowd, and play games that
were irreverent and occasionally obnoxious, but it was all clean and mostly

Despite playing and clubbing, at core Marty retained a serious relationship
with anyone who needed her in that capacity. The parents of her friends were
willing to let them come and hang out specifically because her place was safe.
Additionally, she took it on herself to try to assist her charges past the
lumps and bumps of growing up. In some cases, there was much more going on
than just the normal angst of adolescence, and Marty worked to assist with
that as well.

One of her messages was constant, with anyone who would listen: get a college
education. She repeated this message not just with her young charges, but
with all of her classroom aides at school, and she was proud of each and every
one who took college courses. She practically burst with pride over each of
her mentees who graduated college, whether young or not so young, such as her
former aide Lynn Smart.

Many of her companions modeled for her to draw and paint during this period
of her and their lives. Marty painted the bulk of her "Watching TV" series
around this time. Each portrait in this series depicted the model as they
watched a favorite movie or television show, and each portrait was executed
from start to finish in about two hours, give or take.

Marty also mentored her friend Dakota Warren, himself an aspiring artist and
craftsman. As a craftsman, Dakota specialized in tilework, and he and Marty
collaborated on several tile murals for her house. He supported himself
through such tilework, but he also competed for and won several public art
commissions. In many ways, Dakota is and was the son Marty never had.

Dakota was the person who introduced Marty to the Internet. He interested her
by showing her how other artists were using the Internet to show their work.
Inspired, she collaborated with her cousin Melissa in creating her own art
site, showing all of her work as well as some of her writing and providing a
resume of her professional life.

Back in the workplace, Marty was taking cognitive behavioral theory and
applying it to the problems of her emotionally distrubed elementary school
students with great effect. This was more than just a job - this was a true
mission, a true calling. The students that wind up in the ED classroom aren't
just unhappy or a little angry. Marty's students were accomplished arsonists,
molestors as well as molested, drug users and sometimes dealers, and other
sorts of criminals. Their destiny was to wind up in prison; then they met up
with Marty.

At core, what Marty did was to identify the weak spot in the traditional cycle
of violence. The cycle propagates itself by inculcating children while they
are helpless and weak. The first lesson that it teaches is that there is no
consequence for bad acts, that in fact there are no bad acts, no right or

The first countervailing lesson a student learned from Marty is that there is
in fact a standard that they must abide by - obeying is right, and accompanied
by a good consequence, and disobeying is wrong, and there is a price. From
there, she could build in each student an inner voice helping discriminate
right from wrong. That each inner voice would sound like her was just a minor
side effect of the process.

Posted by scott at January 10, 2006 03:57 PM