Marian Fontana has been a writer and performer for over twenty-five years.

As a writer, her articles have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Salon.com, The Guardian and more. Her memoir, A Widows Walk was published by Simon and Schuster and was as the Top Ten Great Reads of 2005 by People magazine and the Washington Post’s Book Raves of 2005. A Widows Walk was on the New York Times best selling biography list and was nominated for a Books for A Better Life Award.


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Q is for Quest

Once upon a time on the Isle of Staten, there lived a fair Maid named Marian. They called her Maid Marian not because she cleaned well. She didn’t. Nay, I think it was fair to say Maid Marian loathed taking a rag to counter as much as dental work and so paid another fair maid a goodly sum to do it for her. Alas, Marian was called Maid because she was single. Since her Prince[...]

P is for Personal Day

When I was in grammar and middle school, my parents would occasionally allow me to skip school for what we affectionately called a “personal day”.  These special occasions allowed me rare and memorable alone time with each parent.

Personal days with my mother involved a cultural outing in Manhattan. We saw Picassos at the MOMA, Red Groom at the Marlboro Gallery and Calder at the Whitney. Days with my father were spontaneous adventures to Coney Island,[...]

O is for Oncologist

I met my oncologist as a cartoon in the graphic memoir, Cancer Vixen.  In the cartoon version, Dr. Paula Klein is blonde and glamorous and wears Manolo Blahnik heels with her white lab coat.  In person, Paula is dirty blonde and wears flats.  Every three months, I visit Paula and go through the rituals required of breast cancer.  

(See letter M)

“Hi how are you?”  I always say.

“How do you think I am? I work in[...]

N is for Nuptials

N is for Nuptial

When my late husband and I got engaged, Dave announced he wanted to get married in a Catholic Church.   Since Dave and I never went to church and agreed that religion seemed like an excuse for people to boss other people around, I was surprised.  Even more shocking was that he insisted on a full nuptial mass, the Roman Catholic equivalent of the director’s cut.  I shuddered at the thought of my[...]

M is for Mammaries

I like my boobs.

I used to hate them.

When I was ten, my breasts started to grow at an alarming pace.  While my friend’s sported small nubs under white t-shirts, my breasts swelled in time lapse photography. I was an avid gymnast and was deeply perplexed how my top heavy center of gravity was effecting me. I slipped off the beam, slid off the uneven parallel bars and fell over the vault, angry at my new[...]



This American Life With Ira Glass


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