"If you want to conquer the world, you best have dragons." – George R. R. Martin
At its core, Vocal is a platform where creators can be outspoken, creative, and compensated for their many talents.
A few weeks ago, we asked the community at Vocal to be just that: Vocal. At the same time, we love to see our community take it a step further and push their creativity to new heights. Largely inspired by our challenges, many creators have been adding layers of complexity and intrigue to their work, as well as including rich media to complement their words. We couldn't be more excited to share more of our favorite stories with you.
Once again, our roundup this week includes a variety of topics, from old-school video games to Manhattan-based pet dragons. As always, you can leave your favorite authors a tip, and if you're not already a creator, sign up here to get started today.
The Joy of Retro
Retrogaming provides a special kind of joy that goes beyond just reliving childhood. It provides a special perspective. It's easier to understand and enjoy where games are going when you understand where they've been. It's the same reason why people tend to watch original films instead of remakes. Sprites may be blocky and polygons may have jaggies, but great gameplay lasts forever... or, at least, until the consoles break down.
This week, long-time Vocal creator and avid gamer Adam Wallace reminded us that humanity's greatest weakness is nostalgia. We can't resist it. Anyone who has touched a console knows that Tomb Raider Legend on PS3 is a masterpiece. Even if you have little to no interest in video games, old-school games like Super Mario 64 show us how far entertainment has come in the last few decades. Be careful though; nostalgia is a powerful force. Before you know it, you'll be digging an old Game Cube out of the attic and playing OG Smash Brothers late into the night. You've been warned.
What Does It Mean to Be a Life Coach?
As I sat across from my lawyer at Starbucks and signed my divorce papers, I sensed my life was a pile of puzzle pieces that I’d been reshuffling for a long time. It was time to start putting them together.
Norene Cashen has been in a situation to which many can relate: starting over after a failed relationship. A truly gifted storyteller, and clearly an empowering life coach, Norene paints a self-portrait that is unsure, but at the same time, unbridled. Much like Taylor M in last week's roundup, Norene desperately needed a change.
I did what any sensible, ex-Pentecostal American would do. I went to a Buddhist vihara to learn meditation.
I didn’t even know what a vihara was.
With a sense of humor and a "no day like today" sense of urgency, Norene gives us a small taste of what to expect in a life coaching session, and we were inspired.
The Art of the Grift
You're young and beautiful. Try Hollywood first, you'll do well there.
"The dream," some call it — that fantastic goal to make it big in entertainment. If you watched Netflix's show "Hollywood," a fictionalized reimagining of what it was like for up-and-comers in the 40s, you know a bit about that life. The first season is available to stream, but if you don't have time to binge the whole thing right now, that's okay. Add it to your queue, and for now, just read Stacy Peacock's story.
When I walked into what was to be my new bedroom there were only two items remaining from the previous occupant: a wooden futon on the floor, and an odd rope tied between the futon frame and a hook in the ceiling.
Pre-coronavirus, we had an office where we also hosted birthday parties, and in the office we had a pet. His name is Smaug, and he is a bearded dragon. He lives in a 40-gallon tank, eats mostly leaves, and I love him dearly.
Some people have work wives; I had a work dragon.
Vocal creator and dragon mom Katherine Carnes Coleman caught us off guard with a winning combination of photos and stories about her exotic pet. Our Animals of the Internet channel has a new king, and Smaug would make J.R.R. Tolkien — the late author of his namesake villain — proud indeed. We can't devour enough content about this little guy, somehow both terrifying and cute, who looks like he knows a thing or two about devouring. No, no, dragon hunters, lay down your weapons. Smaug is harmless. He is currently being wheeled around Manhattan in a specialized dragon wagon, enjoying the sights, just like any reptilian tourist might do on a trip to NYC.
Adam, Meet Alison
Adam locks his iPhone and drums his finger on the wooden table. It’s his first official date since Madeleine. His mind runs wild: I should have gone with the Tom Ford perfume. Why did I put that 2016 picture from Ibiza, I was so toned then, she’ll for sure realize the difference now.
Our latest challenge invited Vocal creators to reach new creative heights by crafting a story that somehow, in any capacity, involved a 24 hour diner.
Brushing past his arm, Alison closes the gap and presses her cheek against Adam’s. Her lips sit right in front of his ear. She whispers, “Let’s go to the back."
Frankly, we may never be able to set foot in a diner again, because the Vocal community delivered stories in droves beyond our wildest expectations. Tales of collusion, heartbreak, murder, and the paranormal flooded our queues, including this seemingly straightforward "first date" scenario from Jide Okonjo that will take you on more twists and turns than the Kingda Ka at Six Flags.
As the moderation team at Vocal, we read hundreds of stories every day. Thanks for tuning in every couple weeks as we spotlight our favorites. Until next time: be vocal, and may your creativity be boundless.
We hope to read more of your stories very soon.