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Combs & Underland Down The Rabbit Hole With...

Jim Delaney - Howe 🧡

By Proud ViM ProductionsPublished 2 months ago 15 min read
Dallee and Canva cobbled

Jim Delaney-Howe is a writing force on Vocal. Dipping his toe across the communities, he has contributed to most of the categories. Often speaking about family matters and his own persoanl experiences as a biopolar gay man. His openess and honesty about both his struggles and joys are sincerely appreciated by many. A true inspiration who consistenly supports others in the their creative journey. Jim is a founding member and admin of the Facebook group Queer Vocal Voices (QVV).

The very lovely Jim

(The usual Spiel)

MC: What got you into writing?

Jim: I suppose it would be when I was in like fifth grade, I wrote a small story about stranger danger. It made it in the school's monthly newsletter, and I was hooked on that feeling of pride and accomplishment. I loved English, and in high school I had a really great teacher who really encouraged my writing. Drifted away from it for a while, raising kids and all, and then I picked it back up again as a form of therapy believe it or not. Once I found Vocal, I was hooked.

MC: Speaking of Vocal, do you have any favorite writers on Vocal you think we should read? or stories?

Jim: I have been reading poetry from River Joy. I just love their poetry, they have such a way of evoking emotions. I have been reading a lot on Vocal lately.I also enjoy Em Keel’s work

MC: If someone was reading your work for the first time, what would you suggest they read?

Jim: Oh gosh! That is a tough one. My favorite piece is My Firekeeper and I. Another one is The Front Steps. They just capture moments so well, and that is what I am hoping for. I am also a fan of my coming out story, Hide and Seek.

Underland: I really enjoyed that - it was just so honest and human

MC: I enjoy all your work so much

Jim: Oh thank you so much! That is the first time I wrote about coming to terms with my sexuality is such a raw, real way

MC: What author would you consider your writing style to be like?

Jim: I've never thought about that. Norman Maclean wrote A RIver Runs Through It. I don't have his writing style, but I write about family, and that is what it is.

Jim: Other than that, I haven't even figured out my writing style yet, so it's tough to compare it to any author. I hope that makes sense.

MC: It makes perfect sense!

Underland: Yes it definitely does! Is there a writer's style you admire and would like to emanate somehow?

Jim: For poetry it would be Walt Whitman and Robert Frost. I am working on a novel, and it doesn't really have anyone else's style.

Underland: What's your novel about?

Jim: It is about a grandfather and grandson that take a trip to a cabin in the woods. The grandfather is grief stricken at the loss of his husband, and the story is about the grandfather coming to terms with loss, and the grandson working through his own issues.I am about three quarters of the way done.

MC: Sounds like it's going to be a wonderful book, I can't wait to read it

Underland: Oh wow! That's a lot- where do you plan on publishing? That sounds so sad but at the same time I can imagine it being incredibly beautiful, like the hurt and pain we all go through.

Jim: That is exactly it. I want it to reflect things people go through, simply so they know they are not alone.I will try a couple publishers whose niche is LGBTQIA+, but if I have no luck with that I will self publish. Bought a guide book to self publishing and it is super helpful.

Underland: Yes! I get that, I think most of the books I love resonated in that way x

Jim: Same for me

MC: We know you are married, how did you meet your now husband

Jim: We actually met online. lol It was supposed to be a one time fling, but I knew after that first date he would somehow be a part of my life. We had instant chemistry, and talked for hours that night. We have been together since.We moved in together, and he helped me build a home for us and my children.

MC: How many years have y'all been together

Jim: Together for 9, married for 5

Underland: Who asked who?

Jim: He asked me. lol. I didn't even have to think about it. We have had our ups and downs, but we are simply better together.

Underland: That is so lovely! So how did the proposal go down? Were you surprised or expecting it?

Jim: That's a long story. You ready for it?

Underland: Only if you want to tell it! Sorry- I am a complete sucker for a proposal story!

Jim: It's a good story. lol. Very sweet. Ok here goes.So we were at a friends house for a lunch date on my birthday. Just Mark and I and my two greatest friends. After some food and some day drinking, my friend wanted me to come look at her flowering arbor. We were standing under it talking about something in her flowers. It was a total scam. All of the sudden I hear this song playing called "I Choose You", by Sarah Barellis (not sure of spelling). I turn around to look back towards the deck, and Mark is right there on one knee. He asked me, we cried, and then had cake and champagne. It was the sweetest thing I have ever experienced, and Mark is very practical, so this was a side of him I didn't see often. This was in August, we got married the next December.

Underland and MC swooning

Underland: That's so beautiful!. I have tears in my eyes! What a beautiful story! And I love that song Sarah however you spell it is a stunning singer! What was the wedding like?

Jim: I get butterflies in my stomach when I talk about it.. We got married in an old 1800s church building. Hardwood floors, a beautiful choir loft. It was a country wedding. The wedding was upstairs and the reception was downstairs. The building was decorated just stunningly. We had a choir sing "Come What May" as we all walked down the aisle. We said our vows, had family members doing a readings, my kids presented Mark with the tree of life dreamcatcher, and he made vows to them as well. Then after we said I do, a bagpipe played Scotland The Brave as we walked back down the aisle and out for pictures. It was just perfect.

Underland and MC…more oooing and arrrghing Swoon.

MC: beautiful, I can see it now

Underland: Oh wow- that sounds wonderful and I love the image of the dreamcatcher, what a beautiful symbol. So who has Scottish heritage in the family?

Jim: The funny part is neither one of us are, we just wanted a bagpiper to play it out. lol

Underland: Why not? *Shrug*

Jim: Actually Mark did one of those Ancestry DNA kits, I think he had a little Scottish in him.

Underland: Where are you both from?

Jim: We are both from Central New York. I was a suburbs kind of guy, Mark was a country kind of guy, so we moved out of the city and out to the country the year we got married.

Underland: So, aside from writing wonderfully you also create art from wood, how did that come about ?

MC: Do you have any hobbies?

Underland: I think that's the same question...but mine was oddly specific- sorry!

Jim: It started one year when I was trying to make extra cash for Christmas. I was good at it, and I could customize everything. I did that for a few years. Now if I make wood art it's for fun. I like to fish, but haven't caught anything in two seasons now. lol. Maybe it's time to give it up..I read a lot, write something, even if just a paragraph everyday. In the summer we garden. I love hanging out with my family, I don't know if that counts as a hobby.

Underland: What do you do when you're ''hanging out'?

Jim: We play cards. I enjoy just putzing around the house too.My kids are all grown except my youngest, so it usually involves some drinks, some weed, and shenanigans. (You can edit the weed part out if it is too controversial.) We like to chill around a bonfire too

Underland: Nah It's fine...unless we're going to get you arrested or something? I have no idea how that stuff works in America

MC: Legal in assorted ways state by most states

Jim: It is legal in my state for 21 plus. And when I say we, I mean my adult sons. Not my youngest. That would get me in trouble. lol

MC: My cat wants to know what type of pets you have

Jim: Two cats. One was Mark's, her name is Kilo and she is 12 years old or so, and we have Jessie, so we took them in after someone had to get rid of him.

Underland: So what are your kids up to? College or...?

Jim: All three have decent jobs, and are doing well for the most part. They work, my oldest has a stepson who is just an awesome kid. I really am proud of my three boys. Well I am proud of my youngest Elliott too, just for different reasons.

Underland: Have any of them followed in the ‘dad the writer’ footsteps?

Jim: My oldest writes music and performs in the local music scene. Elliott got the artsy side of me.

MC: Elliot made a difficult decision, from my understanding. If you don't want to talk about it, you don't have to.

Jim: I can talk about it. Elliott is non-binary, they are not sure about much else. They are walking their path of discovery, and it is hard work. Regardless of what Elliott is or who they want to become, they have a special place in my heart and always will.

Underland: That's the most important thing- That they become who they want to and need to be.

MC: Nothing changes who they are inside. They're still your child

Jim: I agree. Elliott's mother does not, so it is difficult for them.

MC: I can imagine so! What's it like being an admin for Queer Vocal Voices (QVV)

Jim: It has been an amazing experience. River, Oneg and I are in sync, and we all have the same goals for the group. I am excited to see how it unfolds.

Underland: They are both amazing, as are you.

Jim: aww, thank you for that.

MC: What would you like to see the QVV accomplish?

Jim: We have accomplished creating a space where anyone LGBTQIA+ is safe to share and express themselves. I would like to see the PRIDE community on Vocal grow. We foster that by prompts, challenges, threads, and publishing pieces in PRIDE.

Underland: Honestly Jim, I can't explain the depth of the respect I have for the three of you, to take your own struggles and joys and use that to build a positive, supportive community.shows the depth of your characters.

Jim: Thank you Celia. I appreciate that. Obviously I would like to see our group grow, and that will come with time. What is really cool is that we have some people in the group who are just readers. That to me is pretty cool.

Underland: I read a piece of yours, I'm sorry I don't remember the title off the top of my head but you talked about bipolar and how thankful you are to Mark for supporting and understanding you. It really stuck with me. I was just wondering what advice you would give to someone who has been recently diagnosed, or perhaps yet to be? ( Again no pressure to answer, we can delete the question x)

Jim: That was an interview I did with Mark about being the spouse of someone who is Bipolar, from his point of view.

Underland: Yes it was, My bipolar from my husband's point of view I think it was one of the first pieces of yours I read

Jim: So what I would say is stick with the meds, it takes a little bit to find the right combo. I would also stay counseling is invaluable, that is where I learned my triggers and what symptoms to watch out for that mark the start of an episode. Mark is just as in tune with my episodes as I am, and when one starts, we have a plan in place with my psych doc, my counselor, and Mark to head it off. I am pretty successful in managing it, though it isn't always easy. I would also say to someone newly diagnosed to build a support group around you of family and close friends.I am so open about it to end the stigma. The only way we do that is to talk about it. Mental health care is an issue in this country, so it has to start there.

Underland: I think that the way you and Mark work together is truly a lesson for us all, of course there are tough times but you are so supportive of each other. It makes me think of the untangled love challenge. Like you represent it in all its nuances and beauty.

Jim: This is definitely a situation where we are better together.

Underland: Psychological health should not be seen any differently to 'physical' health. but yet, oddly, it still is in most if not all countries. The more people who talk about it the more I think this skewed stigma will be challenged.

Jim: I agree. That is why I am so open about it. Mental health disorders are nothing to be embarrassed about. You are right, it is just like a physical illness, you just can't see it.

MC: Is there any advice you would give a young writer?

Jim: Write what you would want to read. Get involved in the Facebook groups- you learn a lot there. And put the effort into your craft. And most importantly, write. Make it a daily or even weekly goal to write something. Even if you don't finish it right away. Routine has helped me a ton.

Underland: So on a slightly lighter note...any big plans for Valentine's tomorrow?

Jim: Actually it's kind of funny. Mark and I don't celebrate Valentine's day in the sense that we buy each other things. It's all capitalism. The way I feel is it shouldn't take a holiday to love the one you're with. We will have a good dinner, play some cards, maybe watch a movie. something like that.

MC: That sounds perfect!

Underland: Completely agree! So what movies are you into?

Jim: I love epic action movies, comedies, and yes, rom coms. Braveheart, Gladiator, and All the Die Hard movies are my favorites. The romance movie "The Notebook" makes me cry every time I see it. Lol I am bigtime into horror movies as well.

MC: What's your favorite horror movie

Jim: hmmm. I think it would be the original Exorcist, and The Babaduk

MC: Both great movies

Underland: Not seen either Nor will I ever...Down with the first selection though!

Jim: Not a fan of horror movies?

Underland: No. I have an overactive imagination- I'd not sleep for a week!

Jim: lol

Underland: I watched the first minute of Chucky once- a spider fell under the bed...I was done! Hid in the kitchen drinking wine whilst the housemates scared themselves witless . So before we call it a day/night, is there anything you would like to add or say?

Jim: We talked about so much! lol. I would like to say thank you to the Vocal community. For reading my work, always being supportive and encouraging. With the exception of two situations, the Facebook groups have been a huge support. So thanks to everyone that reads my work! I appreciate it so much.

Underland: I've absolutely loved every second of getting to know you a little bit. It's almost 11pm here so I'm drooping a little but thank you so much for taking the time to meet with us!

Jim: Thank you! This was so much fun!

MC: thank you for allowing us to do this interview, I really enjoyed getting to know you better. You're another of my favorite ppl.

Have a good day, bye

Jim: Celia I hope you get some good sleep and MC have a good night!

We had a great time getting to know our fellow creator, Jim a little more and we sincerely hope that you enjoyed it too!


Join us on Facebook ViM for fun and writing frolics:

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Note: Queer Vocal Voices is only accepting members of the LGBTQ+ community at the moment, we will open up to allies in time!

You can also catch up with Mother Combs and Celia Underland on their respective profiles on Vocal.

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Proud ViM Productions

Alone, we are letters floating in the wind. Combined, we are an Opus. We hold community in our core, "We all rise when we lift each other up"

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Comments (10)

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  • Hayley Matto2 months ago

    This is so sweet!!! Keep us up to date on when they book drops Jim!! Sounds like a fantastic read. You have such an honesty and vulnerability to your writing, I have enjoyed everything I have read of yours. Keep 'em coming!!

  • sleepy drafts2 months ago

    Oh man, this interview made me feel allllllll the feelings 😭 First off, thank you so much for the mention - Jim, I am truly so honored. You are one of those writers I always feel moves me, inspires me, and educates me with every piece, including this interview, honestly. Your proposal story and wedding stories, and the way you speak about your family gave me goosebumps. You've fostered and created so much beautiful love into your lives together, it's beyond inspiring. Also, as someone who also has bipolar, I find your perspective genuinely impactful on my life as you often touch on the subjects I don't see written about often. Your writing has helped me grow in more ways than I can probably ever say. This interview was amazing and it was so wonderful to get to know a little bit more about you, Jim!! 💗💓💓

  • Awww, I love Jim's and Mark's proposal story! That was soooo sweet! I enjoyed this interview so much!

  • Kenny Penn2 months ago

    Damn, Jim, that wedding sounds so freaking awesome! Nice to read a bit about you, and we share a favorite horror movie! LOL the original Exorcist is the only horror movie that genuinely ever terrified me.

  • ROCK 2 months ago

    I love you Jim! I love your flat out " this is who I am" style, no bullsh*t and oh how I want sit around a bonfire with weed again. That is the only problem I have with Sweden. I also have great respect for anyone who speaks up for mental health stigmas and stereotypes. Thank you, thank you 😊❤️💜❤️

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    This is a wonderful interview. Well done to all of you.

  • Rene Peters2 months ago

    Loved learning more about Jim! Some of this made me laugh a bit, like Celia's response to the horror movies part.

  • River Joy2 months ago

    Always love hearing more from Jim! These are great questions and answers! Awesome interview from the two of you as usual!

  • Great to see two excellent creators in this interview, enlightening stuff

  • Oneg In The Arctic2 months ago

    Oh I loved this so much!! Also love Jim’s Hide and Seek piece, it was one of the best vulnerable and raw pieces I’ve read by him! Also him and Mark are #goals

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