Loneliness Matters: A Story, a Writing Prompt and a Poem

Ready to write
Ready to write | Source

Writing Challenges and Prompts

Writing challenges and prompts can be very useful for writers. They often stimulate the imagination and creativity and can be very inspirational. By participating in a challenge or basing a composition on a prompt, a writer may be able to practice new styles of writing and explore new skills. The process can be fun, satisfying and educational at the same time.

I enjoy creative writing and often use prompts to give me ideas. I created the poem in this article from a prompt obtained from a short story. The story was written by Brenda Chamberlain, a twentieth-century writer from Wales. Her life and writing inspired me to think about loneliness and the problems that it causes.

A picture can act as a writing prompt. Why or what is the angel writing in the book?
A picture can act as a writing prompt. Why or what is the angel writing in the book? | Source

Examples of Writing Prompts

A writing prompt is anything that stimulates new ideas for writing topics. It may consist of words, a picture, an object, a scene or even an experience.

Written writing prompts may consist of a single word, a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph or a question. The writer may choose to use the words in the prompt inside their own writing or to write something based on an idea triggered by the words.

A picture used as a writing prompt can trigger a description of what's happening in the picture, why it's happening or what happened next.

Attempting to create a piece of writing from a prompt is a type of writing challenge. The term "writing challenge" is sometimes used in a slightly different way, however. It often tries to stimulate a writer to achieve a new goal, such as writing a certain number of words in a day, writing for a specific number of days in a week or writing in a new genre.

Both the digital and the non-digital method of writing can be useful for a writer.
Both the digital and the non-digital method of writing can be useful for a writer. | Source

Brenda Chamberlain: An Artist and a Writer

Brenda Chamberlain was a Welsh artist and writer who lived from 1912 until 1971. She was born in the city of Bangor in Wales and trained as an artist at the Royal Academy Schools in London.

While in London, Chamberlain met John Petts, an artist and a craftsman. The pair married in 1935 and returned to Wales in 1936. Here they established the Caseg Press, which published greeting cards, postcards and bookplates.

During the second world war, Petts became an ambulance attendant in Europe and the Middle East. Chamberlain remained in Wales and temporarily became a poet instead of an artist. She published the Caseg Broadsheets with Alun Lewis. These contained poems by Chamberlain, Lewis, Dylan Thomas and Lynette Roberts.

Chamberlain and Petts divorced in 1946. After her divorce, Chamberlain continued her writing and also returned to art, for which she won awards. In her later years she suffered from bouts of loneliness and depression. Sadly, her psychological state eventually led to her death.

Some lonely people have an intense desire for connection. Even without physical contact, a smile or a greeting can help a lonely person.
Some lonely people have an intense desire for connection. Even without physical contact, a smile or a greeting can help a lonely person. | Source

An Epidemic of Loneliness

News reports today talk of an epidemic of loneliness or a loneliness crisis. Even allowing for some exaggeration, it certainly seems that the number of lonely people is increasing. Different people have different ideas about why the loneliness problem appears to be getting worse. Whatever the reason, some people need help.

Loneliness and depression are not the same thing, Severe loneliness can lead to depression, however. Researchers have discovered that loneliness is also bad for physical health. Investigations suggest that chronic loneliness disrupts sleep and increases the risk of some diseases, including cardiovascular problems.

Being alone doesn't necessarily mean that a person is lonely. Some people are content in solitude. For others, though, the desire for connection with other human beings is strong and unfulfilled.

Just because someone is alone doesn't mean that they are lonely. Another point to consider is that sometimes a person surrounded by other people feels lonely.
Just because someone is alone doesn't mean that they are lonely. Another point to consider is that sometimes a person surrounded by other people feels lonely. | Source

I've explored the topic of loneliness, but I'm not a mental health professional. Anyone who is experiencing chronic or serious loneliness should seek help from a qualified person. Self-help after reading suggestions from professionals may be successful. If personal counselling or therapy is necessary, however, it's important to get it.

Overcoming Loneliness: Some Possibilities

Many people are lonely at times. A person who is frequently or chronically lonely may need help. Loneliness can be caused by a variety of factors, including knowing or having access to only a few people, having superficial or unsatisfactory connections with people or feeling uncomfortable during social interaction. Solutions for loneliness therefore vary.

A lonely person may need to contact an organization, a counsellor, a relative or a trusted friend for help. Joining a group or class that explores a topic of interest or helping people in need by doing volunteer work may reduce the feeling of loneliness. Walking into an area containing people and exchanging a greeting, a comment or even a smile with someone else may be helpful for people who find social interaction difficult. Determination and repeated practice may be needed, especially if some of the attempts to interact are unsuccessful, but the end result could be very worhwhile.

Keeping a pet is often recommended as a tactic to relieve loneliness. While a pet can be wonderful company, it's important that a person thinks about the pet's wellbeing as well as their own before they bring it into the home.

Doing research to discover how other people have dealt with loneliness may be helpful. Specific people and written material can be inspirational. I find the quote below inspiring, since nature is an important part of my life.

Here I sit between my brother the mountain and my sister the sea. We three are one in loneliness, and the love that binds us together is deep and strong and strange.

— Kahlil Gibran

Northwest Wales: The Temporary Home of Brenda Chamberlain

The long and thin projection in the map above, the Snowdonia National Park and the island of Anglesey are all located in the county of Gwynedd in northwest Wales. Bardsey Island is the tiny speck next to the tip of the projection. The island may have partly prompted Brenda Chamberlain in her writing of the story called "The Return".

The Return: A Short Story by Brenda Chamberlain

As a writer, Brenda Chamberlain is known primarily as a poet, although she also wrote novels. She wrote at least one short story as well, which I have in my copy of "The Penguin Book of Welsh Short Stories".

The story is called "The Return". It's a moving tale of a woman named Bridget who is in love with a dying man. He lives on an island separated from a mainland village by a dangerous sea channel. The man is married to someone else, but the couple are separated. Nevertheless, Bridget faces disapproval from the villagers for her relationship with the man.

After a short time away, Bridget travels alone from the village to the island in a heavy fog. At the start of the trip she learns that the wife of the man she loves is planning to visit the island in the near future.

During the difficult boat voyage Bridget becomes surrounded by fog and is forced to lay anchor overnight. As she sits in the boat, she thinks about her life and her love. The quoted sentence shown below describes Bridget's experience as she awakens from a dream during her night at sea.

Bardsey Island or Ynys Enlli
Bardsey Island or Ynys Enlli | Source

Bardsey Island

Brenda Chamberlain lived on Bardsey Island for a while. The island is located off the coast of northwest Wales in the county of Gwynedd and is known as Ynys Enlli in Welsh. The Welsh name means "Island in the Currents". Dangerous rip tides surround Ynys Enlli. Historically, the island was an important religious centre. It's known today for its interesting wildlife, including dolphins, porpoises, grey seals and birds. To me, the island sounds very much like the one described in "The Return".

Video of Bardsey Island: Waves, Wind and Animals

A Writing Challenge, Prompt and Poem

Participants in the writing challenge which triggered my poem below were asked to first choose a sentence from a magazine, newspaper or book. We were then asked to write a story or a poem, starting each line with a word in the chosen sentence and using the words sequentially. As an alternative, we were allowed to base our composition on the sentence in any way that we wanted.

I've used all the words in my chosen sentence in my poem, but they aren't used sequentially and they appear anywhere in a line instead of always at the start. The poem describes a woman's escape from loneliness and depression and her fear that the companionship and happiness that she is currently experiencing are only temporary.

Loneliness and the light
Loneliness and the light | Source

Out of dream, she swam into consciousness, painfully leaving the dark figures of fantasy.

— Brenda Chamberlain in "The Return"

Loneliness Lies Sleeping

Loneliness lay sleeping

and depression curled within;

dark figures of the night

asleep in strange repose


She crawled away from darkness

for fear of waking pain,

and heard the distant call

of friendliness and care


She swam towards the light

through consciousness and hope

and touched the ancient dream

in wonder and delight


She stood amidst the love

and tendrils of concern,

and welcomed happiness,

a fantasy no more


Amidst the tears of joy

at leaving grief behind

an icy shiver ran;

remembrance of the past


The road led into life

and out of cold despair

She took the path revealed

to find community


Yet still they slept within

quiescent but alive

sending chilling dreams

of being painfully reclaimed

© 2015 Linda Crampton

More by this Author


Comments 66 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 23 months ago from Olympia, WA

Great explanation, nice historical notes, and lovely work with the poetry. Well done, my friend.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Bill. I appreciate your comment!


Gawth profile image

Gawth 23 months ago from Millboro, Virginia

Very nice!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Gawth!


Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 23 months ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Thanks for your efforts and information. Thumbs up, Useful, Interesting.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 23 months ago from southern USA

What a beautiful and interesting hub, Linda! I loved learning all about Brenda Chamberlain as the poet and I truly love her creative writing.

Thank you for sharing your gift of poetry. Your poem is powerful and dramatic. I love it!

You are very talented in many areas.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Blessings and peace always


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment and the votes, Perspycacious.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Faith. Thank you so much for such a wonderful and kind comment! As always, I'm very grateful for your votes and shares. Blessings and peace to you, too.


DDE profile image

DDE 23 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Greatly written! I enjoyed reading this valuable hub. Voted up interesting and useful.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Devika. I appreciate your comment and all your votes.


annart profile image

annart 23 months ago from SW England

Beautiful poem in response to this challenge (which I've only just found out about here in your hub!).

The background history to Brenda Chamberlain is fascinating. I haven't heard of her before but will look up her name and the book.

Thanks for making us aware and for testing yourself with this challenge - great result!

Ann


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 23 months ago from England

Hi alicia, I had never heard of Brenda Chamberlain before so that was really interesting, and I loved your poem too, wonderful!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Ann. Thank you very much for the kind comment. I appreciate your visit. The only work of Brenda Chamberlain's that I've read is "The Return", but I'm looking forward to reading more of her creations!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Nell. Thanks for the comment about the poem! I don't think that Brenda Chamberlain is widely known today. I'm going to learn more about her and her work. She sounds like an interesting person.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 23 months ago from USA

Wow, Linda, this is stunning. You are ever the poet, and I enjoyed the introductory background about the woman who chose the dying man as her fixated love interest. The heart wants what it wants. I encourage you to do more creative writing like this, as you have obvious talent.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Flourish, I appreciate your comment very, very much. I did creative writing long before I wrote informational articles. I'm enjoying trying it again! I find information fascinating and creative writing very fulfilling.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 23 months ago from The Caribbean

Helpful notes on writing prompts and writers. Good poetry. Thanks for this useful presentation.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 23 months ago from Queensland Australia

This is a wonderful response to my challenge AliciaC. I absolutely love the poem, and thank you for the great explanation of the story behind it and the interesting information you provided about Brenda Chamberlain an author I had not heard of. I love the way you used every word of the sentence in your poem as well. Great work.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the visit and the comment, MsDora.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the lovely comment and for creating the challenge, Jodah! I appreciate your visit and the idea for a writing prompt a great deal.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 23 months ago from Victoria, Australia

Great article! Enjoyed reading both the prose and poetry.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 23 months ago from Massachusetts

Hi Linda. I'm impressed. I didn't know you were a poet. I had never heard of Brenda Chamberlain so once again I learned something new. You should write more poetry :)


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, Blossom!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Bill. I appreciate your visit very much, as always, as well as the comment.


shanmarie profile image

shanmarie 23 months ago from Texas

Oh, how interesting - the poem and the challenge! You are obviously talented and creative, even if the challenge was not met exactly.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the kind comment, shanmarie. It was an interesting and enjoyable challenge, even with the modifications!


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 23 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Very interesting challenge and you made it so awesome with your nice poetry. Voted up and awesome.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and for the up and awesome votes, Venkatachari M!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 23 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

Interesting! Now that i think about it, a fading rose on a rose bush was the inspiration of the best poem I've written. Thanks for sharing your experience with Jodah, and the info on these writers.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the visit, Rebecca. I hope your novel is going well.


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 23 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

Beautiful poem, loved all the background information. You did a wonderful job with those words, I must look up Brenda Chamberlain.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the visit and the comment, Jo. There has been at least one full-length biography of Brenda Chamberlain published, which looks interesting. I'm going to see if I can find it in my local public library.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 23 months ago from San Diego California

Wonderfully touching poem. I am thinking about participating in Jodah's prompt myself. Great job!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Mel. I'm looking forward to seeing your contribution to Jodah's challenge!


Dip Mtra profile image

Dip Mtra 23 months ago from World Citizen

Hey, that's awesome poetry! Voted up!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Dip Mitra!


pinto2011 profile image

pinto2011 23 months ago from New Delhi, India

Very nicely jotted down step by step all the necessary elements.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 23 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the visit and the comment, pinto2011.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 22 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Very nice creative maneuver.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Deb.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 22 months ago from Minnesota

Hi Linda-I really enjoyed this hub on writing prompts. I find them to be so fun and rewarding. Your poem was absolutely 'AMAZING'. You use such emotive words in your poem and can feel how she goes from a place of dark and depression, to a place of light. Hit many buttons, voted up and sharing all over.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the visit and such a kind comment, Linda! I appreciate the comment, the votes and the shares a great deal.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 21 months ago from Alberta Canada

Hi Alicia... an amazing read and one I have bookmarked as a reference as it is so well put together. Well done and packed full of suggestions and ideas. You are an amazing writer my friend and you keep getting better each time I read your work. Love the poem...

Hugs from Alberta


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for such a kind and lovely comment, Rolly! I appreciate it so much. Best wishes from British Columbia!


Insightful Tiger profile image

Insightful Tiger 21 months ago

Beautifully and intelligently written! Brava! You inspire!

Loneliness! May it never be reclaimed!

! (and a couple more exclamation marks for emphasis) ;) !


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you so much for the lovely comment, Insightful Tiger! I appreciate your visit. It would be wonderful if nobody ever felt lonely.


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 21 months ago from sunny Florida

Not only is this a lovely article to read but it is filled with thoughts we should all consider. Loneliness can sneak in and steal your day even when you are surrounded by others. And as you say it can lead to depression if it is severe enough.

Well done .... Alicia...I always enjoy your work each time I visit...

Angels are on the way to you and yours this beautiful Sunday afternoon. ps

Voted up++++ g+ shared


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the kind and thoughtful comment, Patricia. I always appreciate your visits and the angels that you send! I appreciate the votes and the shares, too.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 21 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

I really like your poem, Alicia - it is beautiful. Loneliness can be so devastating when there is seemingly no hope. That is why it is so important for those of us who can to reach out and fill lonely moments for those in need of companionship.

I must look up Brenda Chamberlain's short story, The Return. It sounds very interesting.

Up,U, B, I and H+


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and for the votes and share, Phyllis! You are so right - it's very important that we reach out to those experiencing loneliness.


Born2care2001 profile image

Born2care2001 21 months ago from Asheville NC

Thank you Alicia for making me feel right at home learning, feeling and experiencing what you shared from head...and from heart!

I'll be back!

Bruce


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Bruce. It's nice to meet you!


Julie K Henderson profile image

Julie K Henderson 19 months ago

This is an informative, comprehensive, and inspiring article. Voted up. I find the phrase "depressed curled within" powerful. This lovely turn of phrase may inspire me to do a future writing exercise. Well done.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 19 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Julie. I appreciate your comment and vote very much.


Victoria Lynn profile image

Victoria Lynn 16 months ago from Arkansas, USA

Your poem is beautiful. Loneliness can really feed poetry. I am often alone, but I enjoy the solitude. Lovely hub!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 16 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment, Victoria. I appreciate your visit.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 14 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Interesting post and a nice ending with some poetry.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Nadine.


newjerusalem profile image

newjerusalem 14 months ago from India

Good tips, appreciable poem, appropriate references, and altogether you've done well in this post. Interesting methodology you handled.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 14 months ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, newjerusalem.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 10 months ago from london

Hi Linda.

If I have two comments, then delete the other one.

Hi Again. I didn't want to forget this, so I stopped reading and came here. You're an excellent writer, and show much empathy in your writing. I like that. Again, you write with what I call 'an English feel' yet you seem to come from somewhere else. I will return here in a minute.

I'm back, like Arnold Swarzenegger, and I'm so glad that I spent some time here. Your poem is so exquisite, so beautiful! Your well-placed quotes by others are so meaningful! Now I know hat I'm right about your empathy. After all, you seem to have read Kahlil Gibran, no easy feat.

Brenda and I are similar. I am a creative writer, and have two books to my name. I also started here with prose 6 years ago. But I am wise. As a servant of the inner Light, I find it more useful to get my message through poetry, which is naturally much shorter, and encourages the busy person more. Now many call me a poet. Don't mind. I say I do both effectively.

Simon Armitage say exactly what I say. It's uncanny, because I do not have any schooling. Yet some of what you said in your Flash, I also apply automatically to my work.

Excellent work, Linda, now I will go tic the follow box. Much Love.

P.S. Solitude is a big one for me. I enjoy solitude.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 weeks ago

Alicia, thank you for the story Wales, the Island and introducing us to Brenda Chamberlain, I thought I was linked to al of John's participants in his writing challenge, now I have to make sure I have a link to yours.

Beautiful poem.

Blessings my friend


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for such a kind and interesting comment, Manatita. I appreciate it a great deal.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, Shyron. I appreciate your visit and comment. Thank you very much for the link, too. Blessings to you as well.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 weeks ago from london

Thanks Alicia.

I now understand what you mean. I only have great things to say about you. I can feel your Spirit. Someone I know, in fact a disciple brother of mines, sent me this today:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Now more than ever, our world need us to jump into the manifestation-world with utmost self-giving and eagerness.

Regardless of your political belief or nationality or race, we are one humanity – and, truth to tell, all around us we are seeing much frightful division.

Let it be us, The Supreme's sons and daughters, who will courageously offer His message of loving oneness. In each and every daily interaction and in and through all our divine manifestation projects, may God's own kindness and goodness radiate brightly.

“When I love the world

With my Master’s breath

 Inside my love,

I conquer the heart

Of each and every human being

 On earth.”

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 35, Agni Press, 2004, #34898

I believe that you strive to live this beautiful philosophy. Higher blessings!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you once again for such an interesting and kind comment, Manatita. The thought of one humanity united in love is truly beautiful, especially at this difficult time in our history. I'll explore Sri Chinmoy's ideas in more detail. Blessings to you.

.

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