We all know that loneliness and feelings of isolation can chip away at our sense of self, at our reason for being, at our souls, yet to even mention that we feel lonely comes with such a stigma of shame that we barely ever mutter the word out loud.
Loneliness is such an ethereal concept that we never give it much daylight in our minds. We push aside thoughts of feeling lonely as something that will pass. I've suffered from loneliness in my life, often, because I have felt pushed aside by close connections, people I had looked to for support but who had not offered any.
Feeling lonely can feel like you don't fit in or that you've got nothing in common with the people around you. As a writer and publisher I seek connections with people daily. I need daily connections with people to keep these feelings of loneliness at bay, but what about the people in this strange world who are unable to create daily connections with other people?
It's a question I have asked myself a million times: what about those who are not blessed with my "gift of the gab"? I just wish we could use that word 'lonely' and not feel ashamed or muted by the concept of feeling lost in the world and without support.
Joining groups can make the loneliness worse, that feeling that somehow a mass of bodies surrounding us, chattering at us, can make us feel connected, because ultimately loneliness is about feeling connected with the world and our environment. And that's where Society, with a capital 'S' is to blame. A Society that absorbs the cultural norms of modern life and does not challenge it, makes us fear loneliness and makes us unable to admit that despite having friends we still feel socially disconnected and therefore alone.
Which brings me to the paperback anthology my little publishing company is about to release, called ALONE - journeys inside the solo life, and why we should start talking about this eternal human condition.
Eight writers take us on journeys inside the solo life and what this state of being does to the mind of an ordinary human being in the second decade of the 21st century. Loneliness distorts our thinking, makes us laugh, cry, recoil, remember, get violent, despair, get philosophical, and sometimes it makes us do away with ourselves. For these reasons we need to talk about loneliness.
ALONE - journeys inside the solo life is out next week (15th February 2023). It features a Foreword by Scotland's Queen of Crime Val McDermid and an Introduction by Scottish Mental Health Activist and Writer Chris Creegan.
This anthology features seven short stories and one short screenplay by talented Scottish writers working today. Priced at £10.95 plus p&p, it's available to order from this website.