Teacher’s taste: Maria Hiaasen


Ms. Hiaasen is an AP English 11 and AP Seminar teacher with a bubbly personality that is reflected through her taste in entertainment, cuisine and fashion. Staff writer Carolyn Twomley sat down with Hiassen to dig deeper into her sense of style.

Q: How would you describe your taste in fashion?
A: Tailored with a rebellious side. And you probably want to know why, don’t you? I don’t do a lot of ruffely things, I favor stripes over florals, and God knows, black, you got to have black. And you got to have comfort… often a different pair of black slacks, with a different series of tops.

Q: Have trends from your past influenced your current style?
A: Well, everything does come back, that’s for sure. For example, these kinds of pants (straight jeans), these were popular when I was in college, and they are popular again… I like statements… so I have all these buttons on my lanyard… so some things from my past do make their way into what I wear.

Q: Is there a trend or decade of fashion that you miss?
A: You know there might have been a time where I would say that, but I think I have lived long enough that I see everything come back, isn’t that weird? I’ll tell you what I don’t miss, I don’t see the need for bell bottoms ever again. I just don’t. They get in the way.

Q: Do you have any specific type of culture of food that you enjoy?
A: Well, I do eat a lot of veggie burgers, because they are easy, and they make my conscience feel good. But in term of cuisine I love, it’s hard not to love Italian food, isn’t it? It’s hard not to. I love the freshness of great Italian food with great tomatoey stuff in it.

Q: Is there style of show or movie that interests you?
A: I, a former journalist that turned into a teacher in midlife, enjoy watching, and it’s kind of sick, watching the coverage of the political news. And it frustrates me and then I get my hopes up about “surely things will go the way I want them to now, look at all this evidence”. Also, I watch, also some political things that will make me laugh. On HBO there is this guy named Bill Maher that does this show, and he will have some guests, some pundits, and he is hilarious… he takes a funny look at the news, even as he’s critical, he’s rather satirical. Along the same lines I like John Oliver, who also has a show on HBO.

Q: Does your taste in music from the past reflect what you are interested in now?
A: I worked at my college station, and I recommend that for everyone, so we were kind of and alternative station, so that’s kind of reflected in the stuff I listen to. I still like alternative music as opposed to big hits. I’ll be driving along, listening to my little alt. nation, and I keep and little notebook and pen and if I hear a song that I like, I wait for them to say who it is and what the artist name and I write it down and add it to my playlist.

Q: Is there a style of writing you looking for when searching for your next book?
A: I love realistic fiction, so love fiction about people who seem real, duh, with problems like mine, or problems worse than mine that make me feel better. And I think we are all looking for how to stay motivated, how to stay motivated in life… I also love writing that is clear, the details are chosen so well, and that’s why The Road is one of the books I like. It does so in a tone that is rather short and spare, clippie and short, but I love equally the descriptive passages that are in The Great Gatsby, a different style. They are just so vivid. If you can slow your mind down and go “okay pause on the what happens next tings and take in this beautiful description.”

Q: And to wrap it up, what part of today’s culture do you wish you had in your childhood, if any?
A: Wow, let’s see, what do we have today? Well it would have to be the music thing, at your finger-tips… In my life time, the mail guy, the guy who delivered the mail has a transistor radio and, you know, he just carried it and he carried it. And then we and boom boxes, if you picture people walking down the street and break dancing. And then we had the disc man, where you could put the compact disc in and then paly that with headphones