My Favorite Author, Marina Keegan, and Why I Admire Her so Very Much

I’ve always loved writing. Then in seventh grade when I realized I was good at it and then in eighth grade when I was still good and because of a bad move, it became my only friend, I really fell in love with it.

So, in high school I became invested in the newspaper, Inklings. One day, a writing professor from Yale came to speak to our advanced journalism class. He told us about one of his most memorable students, Marina Keegan, and we read her most popular work, The Opposite of Loneliness.

I could quote the whole essay, but my favorite line says this:

“The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious.”

And it is. And it always will be. More seriously, though, is that it actually was too late for Marina Keegan. Right after she graduated from Yale with a job lined up and everything, she died in a car accident when her boyfriend fell asleep at the wheel (#TAG).

Marina Keegan was an inspiration to me and should be to all of you reading this, too. She was strong and self-aware and mature and majestic in her writing.

My other favorite piece was about her car. And my favorite line is this one:

“My car was not gross; it was occupied, cluttered, cramped. It became an extension of my bedroom, and thus an extension of myself. I had two bumper stickers on the back: REPUBLICANS FOR VOLDEMORT and the symbol for the Equal Rights Campaign. On the back-side windows were OBAMA ’08 signs that my parents made me take down because they ‘dangerously blocked my sight lines.’ The trunk housed my guitar but was also the library, filled with textbooks and novels, the giant tattered copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare and all one hundred chapters of Harry Potter on tape.”

This opened my eyes to the idea that your actions, the things you own and the people you let into your life are all extensions of yourself. You must be your own body guard! Your time is valuable and no one who doesn’t value it immensely deserves even the tiniest bit of your attention. You must know how very special you are. Think of the odds that had to come together for you to be alive in this moment right here and now. It’s crazy and beautiful and wonderful all at the same time.

I often think about what I want people to say about me at my funeral. I want them to say that my words and my friendship changed their lives, made them better even the smallest bit in one way or another.

I know I’ve done it for at least three people, but I need more.

My teacher, the late Cody Thomas, once wrote:

“Everyone wants to know they’ve left some kind of legacy, and what better way to leave a legacy than influencing the future leaders of the world.”

I want my words to be my legacy like Marina Keegan’s are hers and forever will be.

I hope these quotes I have shared with you will brighten your day even just a bit. And if you want to lighten it up even more, PLEASE read her book, The Opposite of Loneliness. It will change your life for the better. And once you have, contact me through the contact tab or email zoebrown@usc.edu and we will talk about it for as long as you’d like (I could go on for hours).

Thanks for reading and supporting my dreams!

XO,

Zoe

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