the opposite of loneliness.

There is an indefinable feeling associated with the experience of reading a book. (Yes, I am admitting to being a complete nerd, but hear me out).  Reading offers an escape into the world of a character whose story is molded by diverse predicates than our own. It provides us perspective through these glimpses into the mind of another; both character and author. I can honestly say that one of the most satisfying feelings is turning the last page of a book that resonated with me in some sentimental way. There’s something so ethereal about reading words that directly define the emotions hovering in your heart, and the tribulations keeping you awake at night, before you even understand them yourself. Ever since I can remember, books have given me solace in times of despair and distraction through times of intolerable stress.

It’s jarring to me that our generation is slowly turning away from books and becoming inept of the attention span they require. One of my English professors once explained that in the last few years a complete department re-evaluation was required to meet the changing demographic that is our generation. Apparently, we lack the determination and patience required to read books of any lengthy proportion. Considering we are the students enrolled in school based on our fundamental passion for literature, it scares me what exactly this notion dictates for the rest of our age group… and what that says about the generations to come in another 5 years?

I whole-heartedly believe that anyone can be a reader; I promise it’s never too late or the wrong time to begin. It simply takes finding a genre or character that ignites a spark and leaves a lasting impression. It takes finding a story, any story, that leaves goosebumps on your skin and inspires you to the core for something greater. With this in mind, I’ve decided to add an aspect to my blog called “Reads,” in which I’ll summarize and reccomend books that had this elusive effect on me…. and hopefully will do the same for you.

The first book on my list was “The Opposite of Loneliness” by Marina Keegan. The author had writing aspirations similar to my own and at the tragically premature age of twenty two she was killed in a car accident. Five days after graduating from Yale. The book is a compilation of her literal life’s work; from essays, fictional stories and nonfiction. I think this book evoked the response it did for me because of how closely knit her stance on fears and the possibilities of the future were to my recent musing. In her revolutionary essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” which dictated the title of the compilation, she expresses her angst and gratefulness for the entire experience that is Yale. My personal favourite segments were Cold Pastoral, Winter Break and Stability in Motion.

Her writing style is consistent with her age; she writes with dignity and proficiency yet doesn’t hold back to be true to how a 22 year old thinks and behaves. This aspect made her words significantly more relatable and sentimental. Even if you only read the individual essay The Opposite of Loneliness, I promise if you’re in any mind state similar to my own or Marina’s you will feel an impetuous drive to seize your dreams. It certainly left me speechless for a few hours…. and created an anxious (yet soothing?) pang in my heart to create something noteworthy. Quite honestly, it may even be the entire foundation behind my recent urge to pursue my passion.

XO, Olivia