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“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 were in the stage where we couldn’t make serious eye contact for fear of implying we were too invested. We used euphemisms like ‘I miss you’ and ‘I like you’ and smiled every time our noses got too close. I was staying over at his place two or three nights a week and met his parents at an awkward brunch in Burlington. A lot of time was spent being consciously romantic: making sushi, walking places, waiting too long before responding to texts…. Secretly, of course, the pauses in our correspondence were as calculated as our casualness – and we’d wait for those drunken moments when we might admit a ‘Hey,’ pause, ‘I like you.'”

“At the Unitarian Universalist Christmas pageant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, it didn’t matter that Mary insisted on keeping her nails painted black or that Joseph had come out of the closet. On December 25th at seven and nine P.M., three Wise Women would follow the Wise Men down the aisle, one wearing a kimono and another African garb; instead of myrrh they would bring chicken soup, instead of frankincense they’d play lullabies. The shepherds had a line on protecting the environment and the innkeeper held a foreclosure sign. No one quite believed in God and no one quite didn’t – so they made it about the songs and the candles and the pressing together of bodies on lacquered wooden pews.”

One Million Page Princess

Marina Keegan had just graduated magna cum laude from Yale. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival, and a prestigious job waiting for her after graduation at the New Yorker. She had a loving family, a wonderful boyfriend and group of friends, and a body of work that at only 22 would make most writer’s in their 50’s jealous. Tragically, five days after graduation, (not due to speed, drugs or alcohol) Marina died in a car crash. This collection of short stories and essays was carefully selected and organized by her┬áprofessors, family and friends to be published posthumously.

Read it. Just read it. Keep in mind all of this was written before she was only 22, so some of it does come across as simply the best piece of writing in an undergrad writing class, but that’s because it was. Try to look past that to see the incredible young talent of an incredible young woman, and if you’re a writer yourself then you should probably prepare to be inspired.

Bravo Ms. Keegan. I am so sorry your life was cut short. We can never understand why things unfold as they do. They just do, and we all try our best to make sense of it. Thank you for reminding me how precious life is, and to give presence to what I have today, in this moment.

“We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.” – Marina Keegan

 

OMPP