At 22-years-old Marina Keegan was considered a literary prodigy and her essay “The Opposite Of Loneliness” went viral just a few days after she died in a car crash following her graduation from Yale University.
The writer, journalist, and playwright was known for her unique and beautiful way of looking at the world. Her collection of work was published posthumously as a book with inspiring features and essays. Take a look at some of her best quotes.
“It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four A.M. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went , we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.”
“I blame the Internet. Its inconsiderate inclusion of everything.Success is transparent and accessible, hanging down where it can tease but not touch us. We talk into these scratchy microphones and take extra photographs but I still feel like there are just SO MANY PEOPLE. Every day, 1,035.6 books are published; sixty-six million people update their status each morning. At night, aimlessly scrolling, I remind myself of elementary school murals. One person can make a difference! But the people asking me what I want to be when I grow up don’t want me to make a poster anymore. They want me to fill out forms and hand them rectangular cards that say HELLO THIS IS WHAT I DO.”
“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.”
“I worry sometimes that humans are afraid of helping humans. There’s less risk associated with animals, less fear of failure, fear of getting too 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’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 read somewhere that radio waves just keep traveling outward, flying into the universe with eternal vibrations. Sometime before I die I think I’ll find a microphone and climb to the top of a radio tower. I’ll take a deep breath and close my eye because it will start to rain right when I reach the top. Hello, I’ll say to outer space, this is my card.”
“Do you wanna leave soon?
No, I want enough time to be in love with everything…”
“We’re our own hardest critics and it’s easy to let ourselves down. Sleeping too late. Procrastinating. Cutting corners. More than once I’ve looked back on my high school self and thought: how did I do that? How did I work so hard? Our private insecurities follow us and will always follow us.”
“My instinct, of course, is to imagine us as one of many planets racing its evolution against its sun–merely one in the galactic Darwinian pursuit. But maybe we’re not. Maybe all this talk of the inevitability of aliens is garbage and we’re miraculously, beautifully alone in our biological success. What if we’re winning? What if we’re actually the most evolved intelligence in all this big bang chaos? What if other planets have bacteria and single-celled genotypes but nothing more?
The precedent is all the more pressing. Humans alone could be winning the race against our giant gas time bomb and running with the universal Olympic torch. What an honor. What a responsibility. What a gift we have been given to be born in an atmosphere with oxygen and carbon dioxide and millions of years and phenotypes cheering us on with recycles of energy.
The thing is, I think we can make it. I think we can shove ourselves into spaceships before things get too cold.
I only hope we don’t fuck things up before that. Because millions of years is a long time and I don’t want to let the universe down.”
“But as I watched him smile back at me and zip his coat, I saw everything in the world build up and then everything in the world fall down again.”
“So what I’m trying to say is you should text me back.
Because there’s a precedent. Because there’s an urgency.
Because there’s a bedtime.
Because when the world ends I might not have my phone charged and
If you don’t respond soon,
I won’t know if you’d wanna leave your shadow next to mine.”
“And I cry because everything is so beautiful and so short.”
“I miss dreaming forwards,” Anna said.
“I dream backwards now. You won’t believe how backwards you’ll dream someday.”
“I will live for love and the rest will take care of itself.”