If you haven't read The Opposite of Loneliness yet, I highly recommend it. I have no doubts that if Marina Keegan were still alive, she would have continued to write brilliant stories and essays. One of her strengths, in my opinion, is to write vividly, making you feel like you are present in the story. She writes about the big truths and ideas in this world with such ease and her tone takes on that of those deep conversations that can only take place at 3 a.m. when everything finally begins to make sense.
Her most popular essay, "The Opposite of Loneliness" went viral and was viewed over 1.4 million times after her tragic death in a car crash five days after her graduation from Yale.
There is a common theme woven throughout many of Keegan's essays and stories. We are so young. We have the world at our fingertips and we can change the world. College graduation is often thought of as the beginning of the rest of your life, but it is not guaranteed. Despite all of this, Keegan was able to leave her mark on the literary world and is an icon for our generation.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the book:
“What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. Get a post-bac or try writing for the first time. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating from college. We’re so young. We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life.”
“We're so young. We're so young. We're twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There's this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lie alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out - that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialized. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it's too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.”
“I worry sometimes that humans are afraid of helping humans. There's less risk associated with animals, less fear of failure, fear of getting to involved. In war movies, a thousand soldiers can die gruesomely, but when the horse is shot, the audience is heartbroken. It’s the My Dog Skip effect. The Homeward Bound syndrome.”
“We have these impossibly high standards and we’ll probably never live up to our perfect fantasies of our future selves. But I feel like that’s okay.”