Tag Archives: Loneliness

Friday Fiction – Lonely Is Never Alone

It’s FF time again, and this week’s picture comes from the wonderful Janet Webb. Janet reads and comments on all the stories every week – I don’t know how she manages it, but it’s quite the feat. You can see Janet’s story at her blog, and the rest of her week’s reading at Rochelle’s HQ.

Technically, I’m not sure this is a story so much as an observation. Either way, I welcome your comments, as always.


Lonely Is Never Alone

Diana pushed her plate away: another microwave “Meals4One”. She’d resigned herself to the single life, but it still caught her, sitting at the dining table in her oversized flat. She’d imagined a husband, babies playing at her feet. Now the waters of menopause were rising and she paddled them alone.

Nextdoor, Nadia collected Aidan’s plate. When they were first married, he’d praised her cooking, now he took it for granted. She glanced at the other end of the table: empty chairs for the sons they would never have. Then she waded through her grief into the kitchen to wash up.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Writing

Friday Fictioneers – Far Afield

This week’s picture comes from Maggie Duncan, on Madison Woods’ site. There is something very British about the photo, but I have a feeling that’s more nostalgia in me than accurate geographical identification. I’d love to know where it’s taken though. It’s another landscape, and for me those are always harder than the close ups of something, so I thought I’d give you a taste of the longish story I’ve been wanting to write since the idea popped into my head recently. With luck, sometime I’ll have a chance to write the rest!

By way of background, you need to know that Piccolo is a cat who is trying to get home to his family. Which is another reason this picture made me want to write about him, because, as Maggie mentioned in her post, fog comes on little cat feet.

Far Afield

Piccolo batted a damp leaf from his nose and sniffed the air. He’d been dreaming of chasing the string bird around the bedroom with Dad, and the cold damp air around him came as a shock. It smelt strange – like spring and grass.

Peeking out from the bush, he felt a pang of loneliness. This place was nothing like home. There were no houses, no roads and the only sound was birds, too high to catch, in the branches above him. Ahead, the ground was invisible, blanketed in thick fog, dotted only with more trees, ghostly in their silhouettes.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Uncategorized, Writing

The Lonely Writer

“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life.” So said Ernest Hemingway, great writer and master of misery. Which is interesting to me, because of the “at its best” in the middle of the sentence. Writing is a lonely life. Yes, certainly. Most writers fly solo, and by definition fiction is something that only we can see until we set it down in words.

But does “at its best” refer to the quality of the writing or the life? If it’s the writing, then I think that depends on the writer. Some people work best locked in a room alone, others at a coffee shop where the minor distractions of real life help them to avoid the major distractions of boredom, procrastination and writer’s block.

But Hemingway being who he was, I think it’s perfectly possible he was referring to the quality of the life. No annoying co-workers to interrupt, no screaming children or hungry cats, no nagging wife or impatient husband … just the writer and the worlds he chooses to create.

In which case, Mr Hemingway, I must respectfully disagree.

With a group of fellow writers recently, those of us without day jobs were bemoaning the state of our lives. Put very simply, there were three big difficulties facing us. The first, is the rather obvious and clichéd image of the starving artist. As unpublished writers, we cannot be sure that our work will ever bring in any money; we certainly can have no confidence whatsoever that it will feed and clothe us into our dotage. It’s a concern and a very real one. But, for many writers, a day job or a partner with a day job is enough to pull that problem down from Crisis level.

Connected to our lack of financial security is the difficulty of self-motivation in the face of nothing stronger than a hope of one day being published. As an un(der)-employed writer, I know that nobody is going to give two hoots if I spend the day in bed or watching TV. Nobody is going to chase me for the next draft manuscript or the next short story. For me, the solution is a schedule – I’ve mentioned this before – and a healthy dose of self-motivation. I know that on a Friday I must post my piece for Madison’s Friday Fictioneers, for example, and as well as my Flag Raising goals for the year, I set goals every morning for the day and on the first of every month to complete by the end of it. And some days I’m more productive than others, but it means I don’t need a boss standing over me with a deadline and a P45 (Pink slip for US readers).

But, to come back to EH and his lonely life, the biggest problem for the un(der)-employed writer is a much more human one, felt by homemakers and full-time carers, the unemployed and the cast out as well as the world’s writers. We need company. We need to hear a human voice, to talk – even about nothing – and to be listened to. The television or radio can help, but it doesn’t quite fit the bill. And there is something unhelpful about telephones too – I find they help even less. Which is why I consider myself extremely lucky to have made friends with a group of people who have an online chatroom. Most of them are writers, in one guise or another, although there is much more to any of them than their fiction. During the day, whenever I have a mini-success or what feels like a catastrophic failure, I can jump in and tell someone about it. And the rest of the time, we chatter like co-workers do. Not non-stop, or there’d be no time for work, but enough to feel a connection. It’s as important as being able to share the bigger successes and failures with my husband and family. Like I said about the coffee shop, sometimes allowing minor distractions is the best way to prevent major ones.

So, while I fully admit that my writing, at its best, is still not fit to clean the shoes of EH’s worst; for me, the writing life, at its best, is one that’s shared and enjoyed.


Filed under Writing