I was perusing Adulting books on Amazon. Yup. It’s a genre. I was glancing through Real Simple’s book, one actually titled Adulting, and a few others when the bright yellow jacket on the cover caught my eye and I found myself reading the introduction to The Opposite of Loneliness. It broke my heart.
Marina Keegan was 22 when her boyfriend fell asleep at the wheel and crashed their car on their way to meet her parents right after her graduation from Yale. She died. She won a TON of awards and was published in the New Yorker because she’s just that good of a writer. Her friends, parents, and one Yale professor put together the work that made up this book of essays and short stories. It gripped me from page one and I read through them all in a little less than two days.
The essay with the same title as the book was my favorite, because it reminded me that my hopes and dreams are still tangible, still there. Some people are blessed with their ability to capture emotion on the page, and she was definitely one of them. I’m not sure if the book would have had such a profound affect on me if I hadn’t known the fate of the author, to be honest. To read all that potential and to know that it was forever gone was so heart-wrenching and depressing and…strangely exhilarating.
Marina wrote because it took ahold of her. She wrote because she loved stories and language. She wrote because she didn’t believe she was too young to affect change in those around her. I’m afraid, but Marina wasn’t and I’ve stolen some of her courage by reading what she wrote. This is a book for anyone who is young and feels alone. This is for mothers and fathers who want to know how our generation feels. This is for graduates, for those who never made it to college, for those who want to know what I feel about America today. I didn’t agree all the time, but her snide observations are mine too. And I loved hearing someone voice what I thought.
I’m so sad that Marina never got to write more, but I won’t squander my time. I want to write the way she did. I want to live courageously and be remembered for my words.