Reading "The Opposite of Loneliness" by Marina Keegan

Back in June, I bought Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness. I bought it mostly because I’m jealous of this girl who will always be younger and more successful than me, but jealousy isn’t a good reason to deny her writing a fair chance. So I bought her book and, a couple weeks ago, I read it.

Like I said in a previous blog post, at first, I was looking for a reason beyond talent that explains her posthumous success. It was difficult to put those feelings aside and not let them color my impression of her writing, although it was a bit difficult because the book is introduced as “An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.” A lot of the stories and essays do revolve around finding a deeper meaning in life, growing up, or dealing with death, and I wonder how much of that is truly reflective of her body of work or if those pieces were chosen because of


For the love of poetry

For once, the reason why I've been absent from this blog is because I've actually been putting pen (or, sometimes, pencil) to paper and writing. There are words flowing, sometimes a slow stream, but it is nonetheless steady. So I've been putting this blog off to the side and letting the poems come.

It is, however, a bit amazing to me that poetry is my current medium of choice. Fiction will always be my first love -- the act of creating imaginary characters, settings, and situations is what drew me to writing in the first place. Or perhaps, it's more that storytelling is what drew me to writing, and those stories were often made up, the direct result of childhood playtime. At the moment, however, my imagination seems to be a bit dormant, the muse resting silently. Instead, a small poetic voice has perked up and whispered, "I still have things to say, but I don't have very much to say about them."

Poetry has turned into a way of processing the world, my experiences, my thoughts about things. I don't always have enough


Return from Yorkfest

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of reading at the Yorkfest Arts Festival in York, PA. This event was a first because I had never done a reading outside of school. But I did my MFA with Christine Lincoln, who is the poet laureate for York (and an absolutely amazing writer), so my name came up.

As the date got closer, I got more nervous. I haven't been writing all that much, and I don't normally read my work to strangers. I had a couple poems that I loved from grad school, including one which I've been tinkering with a bit recently. I had a poem I'd written a few months ago about a road trip I took last summer. And I had a rough draft of a poem about Ferguson. This last one made me particularly nervous because I'm not normally a political poet, and it's difficult to write about Ferguson without being political (including in the case of this poem). But I went and I read.

It turned out to be just what I needed. It was raining, so there weren't very many people there, and even fewer came to stop by the Poetry Spoken Here tent. But that suited me because I was a bit more comfortable with a smaller crowd anyway, and most


I see police as "safety." That view is a privilege.

It’s not unusual for me to go to the grocery store late at night. Yesterday was no exception: I was on my way home from visiting a friend and ended up fitting in my shopping at 10 p.m.

When I was walking, laden with reusable bags, back to my car across the dark and mostly empty parking lot, I saw an idling cop car a few yards away. The officer was likely just keeping an eye on things, exerting authority simply by being there.

When I am in foreign countries, especially outside of the West, seeing police usually makes me feel a bit nervous. I tell myself things like, “You’re a foreigner, they’re probably not going to do anything to you.” I’ve heard enough stories about police in other places that I keep my distance. I know that this reaction is based on stereotype and not necessarily truth, but it’s


Party animals?

After spending time with a group of people, do you feel energized and ready for anything or do you want to hide in the corner with a good book?

I am such an introvert! I’ve realized this more as I’ve gotten older. I love spending time with my friends and I like being social. But I can only take so much. After a busy night out or a busy weekend, I definitely need some time alone to decompress. This is especially true after spending time with strangers, but it can also be true after spending time with people I know well or even after spending time with family. The one exception is my husband.

I think this is because, like all introverts, when I’m around people, I feel like I need to be “on” all the time. I’m thinking about what I’m saying, how I’m acting, how it’s affecting the room. I often try to make jokes when I’m with a group of people because