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Thursday, August 18

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan or my kind of gal

Marina Keegan had just graduated from Yale when she was killed in a car accident. She was 22. Her collection of nine stories and nine essays became an instant success. It had to do with her being young, pretty, maybe having an introduction to the book written by her professor. It had to do with the reading world being sad that such a sensitive, profound, promising writer ceased to exist before having a chance to grow into a mature tamer of words. Tragedies of this kind strike the world in any field, age range and family. Why should this particular book be any different?



It is the message, the honesty, the language and the fabric of her writing that get stuck with the reader. It is probably a youth manifesto for all the 22 year olds feeling at a loss and at the same time, on top of the world -such an intoxicating contradictory feeling replenishing the hearts and minds of young men and women and other readers emerging in her writing. Still, the loneliness of nights spent in front of computers, roaming streets or staying awake, tired and lost, might ring a bell to many others past their college years. After all, we do live in an age of misanthropy, estrangement, isolation, constantly trying to redefine and challenge stereotypes and gender patterns, in an attempt to reconcile with ourselves and the outer world. 


We do not have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that's what I want in life. 

It is touching how such a young person could be pointing to the meaningful questions and striving to find balance in her existence. In her writing, she did it by depicting and analyzing the small things, the insignificant details and the way she made sense of the world. The big questions and the right answers were sieved through the mind, sensitivity and courage of Marina. I found especially interesting the way she talked about all these Yale graduates full of ideals and big dreams that ended up chasing big checks on Wall Street. Where do we lose our innocence and how do we preserve our inner passions? It is saddening to have such a young woman point to the harsh truths we seek to elude daily. How do we juggle with the priorities, the responsibilities, the love and the reason and still find kindness, first, towards ourselves and then, to those around us? 

I am always moved by such kindness. Especially the reflexive, genuine tender-heartedness of strangers- a mere display of the desire of human connection that goes beyond race, religion, gender, and ethnicity. For Marina, we are all an abundance of people, all in this together. Too short and never too late are another important aspects of her writing. Life comes out as too short to waste energies and wither over trivial matters and it is never too late to make amends and start fresh. Such over used, langue du bois that pushes us farther from the essentials and such an easy way to discard people and chances. Still, inherent to human nature and to the vulnerability we choose to cover from intrusive eyes and minds. 

It is quite hard not to lose the sense of possibility. Most of the times, it just lies there buried under piles of comfort and adjustable pieces of truth we tell ourselves. We stand prisoners to our anatomy and biased views, trapped inside glass houses. We fear the thickness of the walls when in fact, our chains are gossamer and our eyes are blinded by too much light. Outer light when in fact, we need to tunnel out our inside sparkle. 
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