I just can’t seem to shake her story and the way it continues to be told through the magic of the Internet. Marina Keegan was a Yale grad in 2012, poised to bust out of academia and into a fresh new life chapter with a job at The New Yorker, an essay-gone-viral after it was published in the Yale Daily News, and a now newly published book of essays that delivers this talented young woman’s voice to the world.
As I am studying the continuous, almost rampant evidence of grief expression and the development of a person’s life story on line, I am stunned at the way I have come to know some of Marina’s life story in such a short time. I came across Marina quite inadvertently. It was simply the opening of my web browser one morning before work, as it is often my routine to scan news feeds for interesting stories to share on my social media networks – usually to save those links so I can return to them later when I have more time to absorb and savor their information. But Marina’s story was not one to save for later. I saw the headline as my Yahoo! account opened up, and the words instantly reverberated. That’s what working on a dissertation will do to you. Your brain is at heightened sensitivity to the terms, images or concepts that you are drowning your thoughts in, on a regular basis:
Life Lessons From Marina Keegan’s Posthumous Book of Essays
Life lessons. Posthumous.
What is this? I thought. An immediate “click” and I was thrust into Marina Keegan’s life.
I hate to “summarize” her because there is so much to share, but with the Internet at your disposal, you can find out more details than you probably should be allowed to by searching for her on line. For now, I’ll just tell you that at 22, Marina Keegan led a life of purpose in exploring her talents and how to offer them to the world in words and deed. The Boston Globe ran a story just the other day about Marina’s book of essays, so I’ll let that article fill you in:
This is why I am writing a dissertation. This experience of being compelled to know more about this young woman, and understanding how this kind of content on line presents something of a phenomenon in literary expression. I need to figure out what it all is, still, but I am convinced that something big is happening here.
The story that introduced me to Marina, as many Internet stories do, contained other links. Those led to other content about Marina including photos and the now archived news coverage of the accident in which she was killed. The layers of information and storytelling kept going.
For now, I continue to explore this hard-to-pin-down category of grief storytelling. And I grieve for the loss of someone I never knew, but whose work and life approach has inspired me.
Copyright 2014 By Marianne V. Heffernan