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Stories to Love on Vocal Media

Group Challenge for Vocal Creators: The TB Challenge

By Linda RivenbarkPublished 10 months ago 10 min read
Stories to Love on Vocal Media
Photo by Maegan Martin on Unsplash

Everyone has a story.

Actually, everyone has a veritable gold mine of stories.

Silly stories that make people laugh. Somber stories that make people cry.

Stories that tell the truth and make us angry.

Stories that lie to us and make us complacent.

Stories that reach out to the boundaries of the universe, stretching the human imagination with tales that make real what we can only dream of.

Stories close to hearth and home...too close for comfort.

Today, I want to share two Vocal stories by a talented creator named Angie Allanby. In these stories, Angie explores a topic that is very much on everyone's mind these days, and is of utmost importance to everyone living in our current turbulent times.

The first story we will look at is entitled: Where Are You Going? The subtitle is Destination: New Earth?

It is told, it seems, from the point of view of an alien being who has been observing us on this third planet from the sun. This being expresses concern for Earthlings. In fact, the first line reads: "Salutations, Earthling. I come in peace".

By Jonatan Pie on Unsplash

I promise not to do a re-write of the story (me talking here), but I feel I must share the next few sentences word-for-word from the voice of the concerned alien:

"I see that all is not well on this beautiful, delicate planet at this time. I see lies, manipulations, bondages, shame; beings treating other beings horrifically. There is greed and excess, scarcity, poverty and suffering.

Goodness, but what HAVE you been doing with the place? ".

I am happy to be able to tell you, my friends, that the voice who spoke the above words has offered us a treasure.

Not money, lands, gold, or any material things. Something far better.


Our friendly visitor who bothered to come to this big blue and green planet covered mostly by water has expressed concern about our surrounding circumstances.

By Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

The voice of the visitor shows a great understanding of our current dilemma. It implores us to unlock our creativity, which has been smothered far too long by institutions whose focus has been on breaking our spirit, making us believe that we are not enough, not strong enough, smart enough, or creative enough to make it on our own.

These institutions want us to believe that we must be content with slavery to the power-hungry system, yielding up the hard-earned fruits of our labor to the insatiable will of the institution's unseen domineering voices.

Enter friendly alien again.

This friendly voice wishes for us to discover a new way; "a way that can make your heart beat LOUD with the sheer joy of LIVING".

Instead of being paralyzed by fear, let us delight in the feeling of the wind blowing on our faces, the sweet relief of Autumn easing the relentless heat of summer, and the enticing delicacy of earth's bounty.

Our friend encourages us to consider the intensity of the human experience. Out minds have been filled with the intense negative emotions. We are invited to be more mindful of the positive aspects of our human experience.

Then we are offered an even greater gift...the "how to" of finding our peace again. We are advised to "LOOK INWARD". It is there that we will find the master plan for our greatness. We need to reclaim our GREATNESS!

We are reminded that our GREATNESS cannot be stolen or destroyed. We may have to dig a little to uncover it after burying it under years and decades of hopelessness and discouragement.

But it is right there, for us to un-earth (no pun intended).

Our friend advises us to continue to uncover our greatness, in the dark night hours when we wake up many times discouraged, frightened, anxious, and tired...start right there!

By Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

When we begin to despair of ever having the deepest desires of our hearts, look inward and find that dream that fills our hearts with joy.

Should we resign ourselves to living with less than our best, or give our all to make our dreams come true.

I invite you to follow the link below and let the author, Angie Allanby, share this splendid story, every word of it, with you.

Just one story by Angie Allanby is not enough.

It is my privilege to share with you the link to her awesome story entitled, "A Story About a Forest".

Let me just share the first and last lines of this story with you.


"Once upon a time there was a gorgeous, lush forest that teemed with life and vibrance. The forest was protected by highly official documents, laws and legislation, unharmable, loved and nurtured by all who lived by it."


"Across the river and down the other side of the mountain, there was a gorgeously luxuriant forest…".

From one lush forest to another the story progresses. Between the first lines and the last, we read the heartbreaking story about the fate of this living, growing, beautiful forest at the hands of greedy humans.

I invite you to read this moving story by Angie Allanby.

About the TB in this challenge...

Tom Bradbury, Vocal writer, reader, mentor, advisor, teacher, builder, accidental shepherd, and good friend to many - a vital part of Vocal relationships and literary interactions, passed away in a tragic accident about one year ago.

His stories remain for all to read and enjoy.

It is to Tom that this Challenge and our best efforts are dedicated.

I chose a story written by Tom Bradury (a.k.a. Tom Brad) to share with you today.

In reading the story called "Wishing Well Questions", I caught a glimpse into the personality and character of Tom Bradbury.

Although I never met Tom and did not have as much interaction with him on Vocal as many others did, I have learned a lot about him by the words he wrote.

As the above story begins, as Tom told it, he was sitting on the side of a well behind the "huge shambling wreck" he called home. Actually, it was his home away from home, as he was from the UK (England) but had bought an old mill in France to renovate. Then because of Covid-19, he had been forced to stay longer than he had intended.

The well, according to Tom, was an "ugly sewer pipe facing backward, pointing upward the sky". The place seemed to hold some significance for Tom, although he wasn't sure just why. For some reason he could not pinpoint, he seemed to feel more calm there.

He then shares a story from his childhood, about a summer he spent with his "nan" who lived in St. Helens. He was about eight years old at the time and believed magical things could happen. He especially loved wishing wells.

He never asked for anything he knew was impossible like receiving some kind of super powers. Instead, he chose something he wanted that was just barely within a possible range in order to maintain his belief in the validity of magic.

His biggest wish that summer was for a new pair of shoes. He knew that was possible, but he did not ask nan for them. The shoes he wore to his grandmother's house were a heavy, 'clunky' pair of school shoes. The kids he played with at nan's house wore trainers which were more suitable for running and playing.

His grandmother took him to a park near a library during his visit with her, and she told him about a large stone that was at the end of a winding patch going from the library to the park entrance.

If he sat on the stone, she said, and made a wish, it would come true.

By Sergey Lapunin on Unsplash

For the rest of the summer, Tom went there every chance he got, sat on the stone, and made his wish. At the end of the summer, his Nan took him shopping and bought him a new pair or trainers. He was over the moon happy that his wish had come true.

Tom then talked about the "lies" that parents tell their children because their parents had told the same lies to them. The parental lies went back an untold number of generations as something like a tradition that no one wanted to break.

Wishing wells were one of the lies he was talking about. He said the way wishing wells used to be was different from what they are today.

Now they were not a place to have wishes for great riches, power, or glory. They were more a place to go with "that doubt in your mind, that problem you need an answer to".

He explained what the "power" in the well was like. It was not like humans, he said, because it did not want excessive attention, nor to be praised. It was rather shy and would disappear if you tried to stare down into the well for too long.

It did not want expensive jewels or high value coins.

Instead, it wanted something that was valuable to you only.

Something that was like a part of you because you valued it highly.

A special coin like your lucky penny, a shiny piece of glass, or a favorite pebble.

Tom seemed to have tuned in just right on the nature of the wishing well's power.

One of the best parts of the story is Tom's explanation of what power really is. We need so much to know that in our world today. I must let you read this in Tom's own words:

"That’s what we get wrong, we think real power is connected to worship. It is the opposite. Real power is sacrilege, it goes against the rules, it runs between the lines, it stands outside the room. It stands outside looking in. Real power is not necessarily evil, it just has its own rules. This is the reason why any old coin will not work, because it holds no value. The exchange it offers must be satisfying".

Shift back now to Tom some thirty years after his visit to his nan. He is sitting on the side of the sewer pipe well, looking outward.

The day before, he had cut a button off his favorite jacket. He had spent as much time as he could holding the button tightly in his hand, making a tight fist around the button. So tight that it left the shape of the button on the palm of his hand.

By K8 on Unsplash

Now, it would seem like a part of him. That was what the power in the well wanted - a part of you - not wealth or adulation.

Tom then tells how he tossed the coin over his shoulder and listened with all he had to hear it hit the water. Finally, he heard a tiny little plop, and he knew the tiny part of him was given to the well, so with a peaceful heart, he made his wish.

We don't know what he wished for. We don't need to know.

But we do know some things about Tom. We know he understood that what really matters in life is not being wealthy, influential, or powerful in a worldly way.

What mattered was being 'real' and knowing how to give of yourself. How to open your mind and heart to peace and love.

I hope he found his peace and had all his questions answered. Farewell again, Tom. We have not forgotten.


To read more of Tom Bradbury's stories, click on the link below.


About the Creator

Linda Rivenbark

I believe in the magic of words, love, and tenacity. There is a world out there that needs to be explored, researched, and written out to try to make some sense of it, and to make a better place for the children of tomorrow.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (9)

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  • Dotun Famuti8 months ago

    I enjoyed it. Well done.

  • Cathy holmes9 months ago

    Great read. Well done.

  • Thanks for sharing 😊 It was a great read. All the best and happy writing.

  • Mariann Carroll10 months ago

    I was lucky enough to chat on Facebook with Brad before he pass away. He was a kind man who give support and advices to writers. He wrote wonderful stories. He made a impact on a lot of us here on vocal. I love this story how you appreciate their works and what you personally got out of their stories. I have subscribe. Look forward to reading more.

  • This was awesome! Loved your reviews!

  • Judey Kalchik 10 months ago

    Linda- this is such a wonderful embracing of the TB Challenge. Both review and your own internalization of these stories... and of course, Tom. Thank you for accepting this Challenge and doing such an excellent execution!

  • Novel Allen10 months ago

    Wonderful. great read.

  • Gerald Holmes10 months ago

    This is beautiful. Thank you for bringing Tom back to us.

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