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Freshly Picked Stories

my favorite things I read on Vocal lately

By Naomi GoldPublished 11 days ago Updated 7 days ago 5 min read
Freshly Picked Stories
Photo by Yulia Khlebnikova on Unsplash

This week, I was talking to Roy Stevens about the mysterious nature of what makes something a Top Story. Like I told Roy, I’ll never complain about being overlooked on Vocal. Even if I never get another Top Story again, I’m good. I’ve gotten plenty during my first three months publishing here, and I love seeing other people get their chance to shine.

However, Roy and I are most proud of our grief pieces. They didn’t get Top Story or the attention of our more lighthearted reads. Dear George is an incredible epistolary poem. Yes, it’s grief over death—but more than that, it’s a celebration of life.


Here’s some fresh picks of mine:

Two by J. R. Lowe

I tried to pick a favorite between these two micros, and I couldn’t. I had to share them both. One represents a dark part of human history, the other a dark potential future for humanity.

By Elizabeth Rojas

I love this poem. I love when writers write about grief. It’s an inevitable part of life that happens to all of us. We process it in our own unique ways, but it’s one of the most universal experiences a person can have. Thank you, Elizabeth!

By Misty Rae

I love Misty’s writing voice. It reminds me of Stephen King in that it’s so unpretentious I have no problem believing her protagonists are real. I also loved her recent story, “Age Old Questions.” But this one was like a parable. It perfectly illustrates the concept of “One man’s trash...” It made me think about the ways we cheat ourselves when we refuse to take a closer look at what other people treasure. I think we’d live much richer lives if we opened our minds.

By Caroline Craven

Caroline is a masterful storyteller who has done it again!

I commented:

“This put me through such a rollercoaster of emotions. I was angry for Liz, then sad, then shocked, then sad again. As always, you’ve written so beautifully about real life circumstances.”

By Benedetta Mancusi

This was a runner up in the Epistolary challenge, but it was my personal favorite of the winners. I think it deserves more views and hearts.

By Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

I love all the stories and playlists Mike creates for Beat. I know he’s my competition in the Musical Milestones challenge—the challenge I care most about. Many people have already said the challenge was created for him and he should win. We shall see.

I particularly loved this playlist, and commented:

“Wow! I never heard of theremin before, yet it’s in so many great songs I love! This was informative and fun. I enjoyed your demonstration, and your song selection proves once again you’ve got great taste.

Oh, and I love that you mentioned The Clangers! Not many people know what I’m talking about when I bring it up. I didn’t realize it was a British show. Now it makes sense. I’m in America where not everyone has seen it.”

I think you should check out Mike’s playlist and The Clangers too.

By Nicholas S.

I commented:

“This was disturbing, and hilarious, and one of the best things I’ve ever read on Vocal. I love the illustrations too.”

Vocal writer L.C. Schäfer commented:

“Fuck me blind this was disturbing, but also richly detailed. I love how you've given thought to how it would actually work. ‘My other half’ tickled me for some reason. The description of breathing was excellent. It is pretty weird, when you think about it.”

By K.C. Rickles

I’ve been subscribed to K.C. since “Dreams Gone Bye” was a runner up in the Time Traveler challenge. But the crazy thing is, I’m still the only person to leave a heart on the winning story, and the only person to leave one for “Val.” I hope I can draw more attention to both stories. I love them, but my “love is not enough.” ❤️

By Aphotic

My favorite micro fiction of the week! True-to-life horror without a single word wasted.

Vocal writer Kristen Balyeat commented:

“Wow- heartbreaking and profound. I love that you have the thoughts running through her head and the numbness and non-response of the woman in the mirror- you portrayed the complexities and dualities of the human mind/emotions so perfectly. This is a very strong piece.”

By Esperanza McMahan

I was blown away by this submission to the Musical Milestones challenge. The writing triggered me for sure, which is what good writing does. She was honest and vulnerable, holding nothing back. The prose was beautiful. The song choices were so great I added all of them to my musical library—except the Taylor Swift one. But I can see why each song was chosen. I feel privileged to have read (and listened) to this.

By Ahna Lewis

I don’t feel I can describe this one or share comments without giving things away… but it raised a lot of thoughts and emotions for those of us who read it! I love seeing a comment section full of paragraphs.

Ahna responded to my comment:

“This protagonist has been one of my favorites to write. I like that she’s flawed, but I still want to see her succeed. It might seem strange to talk about a character like she’s autonomous when I’m the author, haha, but to me, there comes a point where the characters start to make decisions for themselves.”

That’s when you know you’re doing it right. I found this protagonist complex and fascinating, like people are.

By Zack Graham

A micro fiction with a nod to everyone’s favorite factory owner.

Vocal writer Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock commented:

“Sweet! Though I guess nothing of human design is truly ‘Everlasting.’”


That concludes my baker’s dozen. Enjoy!


About the Creator

Naomi Gold

Psalm 23:5

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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