Michael Martone

Michael Martone was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and graduated from Indiana University and from the Writing Seminars of The Johns Hopkins University. He has two sons. Sam, the oldest, has been visiting colleges and universities in anticipation of enrolling next year. When Martone asked his son where he would like to go to school, his son answered Chicago. “The University of Chicago?” Martone asked. “No,” his son answered, “just anyplace in Chicago. It’s where my favorite bands are.” So Martone visited the University of Chicago with his son anyway and took the tour offered there by the admissions office. An undergrad upperclassman showed prospective students and their families around the University of Chicago’s Hyde Park campus. Martone’s group was near the field where once the Manhattan Project ignited the first chain-reacting atomic pile when his son asked what the students here do for fun. Martone and his son had been to Northwestern to tour as well, and there heard about the dance marathon and the rock that gets painted over and over again by students who protect the rock’s topmost coat of paint. The rock has its own website and rock cam. “A scavenger hunt,” the tour guide told them. “We have a scavenger hunt each spring. Last spring,” he said, “a dozen teams of students searched the campus for parts to construct an atomic reactor.” He turned and took a step or two leading them toward the Econ building and the abstract sculpture designed to cast, on May Day, a shadow of the hammer and sickle. Perfectly timed, he stopped and turned back to his following. He said, “Two of them worked.”