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Carolyn J. Martone :
16 article(s)

Carolyn Martone is a graduate of Fordham University and the State University of New York at New Paltz. In 2012 she received a three-month artist-in-residence fellowship to the Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, where she finished the screenplay, "Upstate," which is in development for television. She lives in Los Angeles.
October 16th, 2013
Encountering the faith and art of Fr. Bill McNichols

“I believe that everyone has a landscape in his or her soul that corresponds to an actual landscape on this earth. In other words, the place one feels most at home. I found it in New Mexico…” — Father Bill McNichols
John Muir said, “We are now in the mountains and they are in us.” Though he was referring to the Sierras, Muir’s realization hit home for me in Taos, New Mexico, as a writer-in-residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. I remember Super Bowl Sunday 2012 not for the Giants beating the Patriots, but because it was that day I drove with my dog through the desert, from California to New Mexico, grateful to be given three months to write at the fellowship, unaware…

August 10th, 2011

Busted Halo contributor Carolyn Martone goes on silent retreat. Find out what happens during the final days of her eight days in silence and reflection at Linwood Spiritual Center in Rhinebeck, N.Y. What happened days one through four? Read Part 1.
Day five
“Why don’t you go and rest by the pool?” my spiritual director Elizabeth Anne suggested. I was floored. The pool? Was it really okay to sit by a pool? This wasn’t spring break in Cancun or an episode of The Love Boat… after all. Ninety degree heat or not, this was a serious week of making a serious commitment to begin the very serious Spiritual Exercises.
Didn’t Ignatius suffer in the desert of Manresa for a month in order to grow worthy of hearing the voice

August 3rd, 2011

Ten years ago, if anyone told me I would attend a silent retreat to start the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, I would have thought it more likely that I run naked through the Mission in San Francisco, where I lived. Back then I was in my twenties, performing in theaters and comedy clubs. The opening line of my act was, “I was in a cult for 13 years; other people called it Catholic school.”… One word could describe my feeling about my Catholic upbringing: embarrassment. A life that centered on the philosophy of “finding God in all things” conflicted with my preference to find humor in all things.
I extricated myself from the church before it could extricate me.
An unexpected phone call from my father would change

March 15th, 2011
A St. Patrick's Day reflection

It’s not easy being green
It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things
And people tend to pass you over ’cause you’re
Not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky
But green’s the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like an ocean, or important
Like a mountain, or tall like a tree
When green is all there is to be
It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why
Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful
And I think it’s what I want to be…

When I lived in San Francisco in my twenties, I attended a St. Patrick’s party at a flat in the Mission District, a party hosted by someone I did not know.…

December 14th, 2010

Days 8 – 12: Highlights from Hanukkah
“For a man to be sure of his road, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”…
– St. John of the Cross

Two weeks ago, I embarked on an uncertain experience with no clue as to where I was going. My self-imposed “menorah mission”: To experience Hanukkah firsthand, alongside my housemates, and to learn as much as possible about Judaism in eight short days. I began this Festival of Lights utterly in the dark; the only thing I knew for sure (yikes, did I just quote Oprah?) was that I wanted to know more. Interesting too that the translation of the root of the word “Chanukah” is “chinuch,” which means education.
My sources

December 9th, 2010

Days Six and Seven of Hanukkah
Author Yaakov Astor states,
“Chanukah ideally is meant to instill in us an image of what we can be — no matter how far from that image we may begin.”
I thought back to high school, a time when all I wanted to be was an actor.
I have a confession to make. (Another reason to love Judaism: no confession, and thus — no penance!) The summer I was 16, I had my first job working the concession stand at “Live at the Lakehouse,” an outdoor summer stage that featured free musical theater six nights a week. Confession #2: I saw the play Fiddler on the Roof 36 times as a result. Let me repeat this: I saw Fiddler on the Roof… thirty-six times. If there is such a thing as a “born-again

December 8th, 2010

Fifth Day of Hanukkah
Sunday morning, 9 a.m.…: I awake to a knock on my door. “I have some bad news, Carolyn.” It was my housemate Claire. For months, I’ve been afraid that the house I live in and love would finally sell. In my adult life, I’ve moved more times than the Israelites; I haven’t been kicked out of Eygpt, but I might hold the record for the most sublets and shares in New York and California. “This is it,” I thought to myself, “I’m going to have to move again.”
But the news was of a different kind. “Katie and I aren’t going to be able to go to the Hanukkah party with you today,” Claire said. “We just got tickets to a reading

December 4th, 2010

Fourth Day of Hanukkah…
Haverim,
In keeping with yesterday’s “Musings on Menorahs,” here is the photo of the Noah’s Arc menorah that I’ve adopted as my own this Hanukkah.
I learned that the world’s largest menorah is at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street in Manhattan. It will be kindled at 5:30 p.m. each of the remaining four nights of Hanukkah.
I apologize for having forgotten one of the most important aspects of Hanukkah in yesterday’s post. It took me a few nights to learn that blessings are said when the menorah is lit. (ADD — that’s me.) There are three blessings in all. Tonight, one and two were said:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has

December 3rd, 2010

Second Night/Third Morning of Hanukkah…
On the third day of Hanukkah, my housemate gave to me… a Menorah that she got for free!
Okay, that was a terrible attempt to tweak the lyrics of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to fit this situation. I wasn’t expecting to be the recipient of any Hanukkah gifts, but Claire came back this morning with a gift: my very own menorah! This is a first for me, and it comes with a box of Hanukkah candles! On this, the third morning of Hanukkah, I feel like a kid on Christmas. She got it courtesy of the Lubavitch Youth Organization.
Last night, Katie and I lit the menorahs on the mantle. There are now a total of four menorahs on our mantle courtesy of my housemates, who have

December 2nd, 2010

“Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
instead of one day of presents we have eight crazy nights…”

Adam Sandler, “Chanukah Song”

It’s not coincidence that much of what I know about Hanukkah (not much) is from Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song” performed on Saturday Night Live. The show and many of the comedians whose careers were born there have occupied my mind and heart for the last thirty years.
Back in the late 1970s and early 80s, sugar cereals, caffeine and SNL… were just a few of the things that were banned at my parents’ house. Which is exactly why I spent every weekend at my grandparents, where Murray and Morris, Belushi and Curtin and Ackroyd and

November 5th, 2010
Reflections on fear and faith at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Sitting on a packed Greyhound bus on Friday night, somewhere between Port Authority and Union Station, I panicked. I couldn’t breathe; my cell phone was about to die. I was even thankful that the guy next to me was asleep and drooling; that was better than him witnessing the unmedicated panic attack of the person sitting beside him — a bipartisan, underemployed thirtysomething who had never been to a rally before. I’m claustrophobic and anxious about crowds, germs and public transportation. I’m as leery of the concept of Port-O-Potties as I am about attending events that require them. Why attend the “Rally to Restore Sanity” if it meant forsaking my own?

The thing is, I had waited such a long time for Saturday.

Those of us with panic disorder generally like to know what we’re in for beforehand. On the way to D.C., no one knew. Was this undefined and/or unprecedented rally going to be political or sarcastic?

Every possible scenario came to mind. I envisioned being screamed at by officers on horseback or trampled upon by angry hipsters wearing ironic Halloween costumes (the guy stapling Lipton Tea bags to his pea coat comes to mind). I imagined holistic hippies selling vegan muffins and self-published copies of Eat, Pray, Shop. I pictured people screaming at each other, being handcuffed and thrown against police cars, and a media circus capturing it all on camera. Cops meets Saturday Night Live meets C-SPAN.

Guess what? None of these fears were realized.

October 1st, 2010
A four-legged love story

“God is beauty.”
— St. Francis of Assisi

Here’s what I expected to be able to rightfully call my own by the age of 35:
(1) an 18th-century farmhouse in the country and a corner brownstone apartment in either the Upper West Side or the East Village in New York City; (2) no less than five published books, at least one of which would be a New York Times best seller (if for no other reason than that I could say no to being in Oprah’s Book Club…); (3) an ideal husband who liked cooking and traveling and could also fix computers; (4) yearly trips to Europe for wine, a tour of the Nutella factory that included free samples, and types of cheese that can’t even be found at Zabar’s.
On the morning

March 30th, 2010
A Lenten Lament

I’ve never been to an AA meeting, but feel like the mantra is appropriate here in admitting to the world, “My name is Carolyn and I am a recovering Oprah-holic.” Though I was able to put the brakes on my problem before it became an addiction, I was headed in that direction two years ago during Lent, when I sought solace in self-help and self-pity. I was one of thousands of people who joined Oprah’s Book Club featuring A New Earth: Awakening to your Life’s Purpose… by Eckhart Tolle. I joined for a couple of reasons. One, I was experiencing a particularly brutal winter of Seasonal Affective Disorder while editing a book of Iraq War narratives and living in my hometown in the aftermath of my

February 18th, 2010
Looking back at life and death through the eyes of a 10-year-old

For Kathleen Erin Daly
The outside cover of Natalie Babbit’s 1975 novel Tuck Everlasting… poses just one question — what would you do if you could live forever?
I asked myself this very question in1982, a complicated time when I was ten and on an impossible mission to understand not only death, but the litany of unanswerable questions that the subject brought forth: “What happens when you die?” “Why do some people die at age 4 and others get to live to 105?” and perhaps the most elusive, “What is the point of being born at all if only to one day die?” Beginning on January 11, 1982, this quest consumed me. To say that 1982 was the proverbial “winter of my discontent”

December 30th, 2009
A pilgrimage for my two mothers

When I was ten, my favorite movie was Mary Poppins. As it begins, British siblings Jane and Michael Banks write an advertisement listing their requirements for a new nanny. Their father — a curmudgeon who prefers investment banking to parenting — shreds the heartfelt proposal, throwing it in the fireplace and into infinity. His children’s wishes reach Mary anyway; she sits perched contentedly in the sky, as if waiting for them. With the snap of her fingers, Mary Poppins could transform a routine bunch of chores on a mundane Monday into an eternal summer Sunday afternoon at the carnival. Truly, Mary was capable of the miraculous.
Twenty-five years later, I found myself seeking Mary again. This time,…

July 6th, 2009
Memories of my Marriage Encounter childhood

Growing up, I was mortified by my parents’ public displays of religion. I’m still convinced that from the years of 1982 to 1986 my parents were part of a cult; others called it “Marriage Encounter.”
One fateful Friday afternoon in 1980, they packed one suitcase and prepared to leave for the first of many retreat weekends; weekends that would become the bane of my existence; weekends that would become the main reason I fled to therapy at the ripe age of ten.
“We’re not getting divorced,” they asserted repeatedly, often in unison, when I questioned their decision to join such a mysterious organization. Of course, deep down I suspected that was the reason they were going.…

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