Monday Muse – Marina Keegan

Monday Muse – Marina Keegan

I was browsing the Internet recently, and came across a short essay entitled ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’. I happen to be perpetually intrigued, captivated by and concerned with the increasingly digitally over – connected / personally under-connected world we are living in – and so this article caught my eye. Marina Keegan, musing over her last few months at Yale University, and the disconcerting state of unknowing anticipation she found her fellow undergraduates to be so nervously wallowing in – juvenilia, in general – writes, ‘We’re so young. We’re so young. We’re twenty-two years old. We have so much time.’

I delve into the context of the article, and I discover Marina, aged 22 years old, died in a car crash five days after this essay was published.

Marina graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job lined up at the New Yorker. She was a rising star. The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories, is a collection of short stories and essays that was published posthumously this month. Keegan creates alarmingly imaginative emotional dynamics, empathetically exploring the idiosyncratic nature of the human condition.

Her essay entitled ‘Even Artichokes Have Doubts’ resonates with me enormously. Alarmed by the statistic that 25 percent of employed Yale graduates enter the finance or consulting industry, she insists that young people shouldn’t stop dreaming.

‘What bothers me is this idea of validation, of rationalization. The notion that some of us (regardless of what we tell ourselves) are doing this because we’re not sure what else to do and it’s easy to apply to and it will pay us decently and it will make us feel like we’re still successful.’

She isn’t discounting the finance industry, or the nobility of needing to make money and absolutely doing so.. but merely agonizing over the fact that so many young people don’t seem to realize the opportunities they have entering the world as adults. Upon investigation, amongst her peers, she finds only apathetic attitudes towards upcoming positions in gleaming financial institutions. ‘I just haven’t met that many people who sound genuinely excited about these jobs. That’s super depressing!’. She closes her thoughts –‘I feel like we can do something really cool to this world.’

And she’s right. No one has as much power to positively impact the world than the next generation.

Jack Hitt writes for the New Yorker:

‘For her family and friends, the grief is intimate and personal. But for some in our field—producers and editors, reporters and writers, the loss of Marina is a different kind of tragedy. We lost a talent before we got to know her.’

Naming Marina Keegan as our Monday Muse isn’t intended to be an act of contrived posthumous glorification, but recognition I feel compelled to give to an overwhelmingly talented, promising and intuitive young lady, whose chance to make a name for herself in life was ripped away from her far too soon. She was a girl who believed she could change the world for the better, and a girl who had the strength of character to try to do so. PRABAL GURUNG is a brand inspired by women of substance, women who are interested and curious about the world around them, women whose beauty radiates from the inside. Marina was insistent that if given the chance, one should absolutely follow their dreams – and so am I. Marina Keegan is this Monday’s Muse.

Even Artichokes Have Doubts

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan