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My Top Stories

A Review

By J. Delaney-HowePublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Graphic created by author

Not too long ago, I took a few weeks off from writing. I felt like I had no inspiration. I would stare at the blank screen or page and nothing. So, instead of trying to force it, I took some time off from writing.

The first piece I wrote after my break was for the #200 challenge, and it helped me set some attainable goals for the next year on Vocal. I wondered if I would be able to create good content again. I have had quite a few new subscribers as of late, so there was a little extra pressure. A friend of mine, who is also a writer, suggested I look through my work and review my best work. So that is what this is—a recap of my Top Stories on Vocal.

Conversations With My New Friend Oneg

This is my first Top Story with Vocal. It was a fun piece to do as well. A Facebook group I was in posed an unofficial challenge: Not My Shoes interviews. People got paired up, and it was an exercise for us to get to know people better. I got paired with Oneg (Oneg In The Arctic on Vocal). Oneg is an interesting person, and we still chat today. Did you know that Oneg lives on a First Nation reservation? It's a small Ojibway community in the middle of Canada's Bush (forests). Read more of our interview below.

Phone Calls With Mom

I wrote this when COVID was still keeping us separate. My mom was high risk because of her COPD. I wanted her to know how much I appreciated her and how much our daily conversations meant to me. She did read it, and we did have the discussion I mentioned at the end of this piece. Now that my mother is gone, this piece has a special place in my heart.


This piece is a poem I wrote for the Vocal Tautogram challenge, where every word starts with the same letter. I am pleased with how this turned out, and this received Top Story, though I did not place in the challenge.

Hospice Came Today

Hospice Came Today is another piece written about my mom. I wrote this after the doctors told us that she wasn't responding to treatment and there was nothing more they could do. She came home on hospice care, where my sister and I took care of her until she passed five weeks later, at home surrounded by her children.

Introducing Araina the Spirit Medium

This was a fun interview to do. Araina is a long-time friend and a very gifted medium. She is also one of the kindest and most compassionate people I know. It is a fascinating read about being a medium and what comes next.

The Art of Love

The Art of Love is probably my favorite of my Top Stories. It was for the painted prose challenge. I took a different route and selected to write about a piece of art my youngest child (fifteen now) painted for me. It is a picture of my husband and me in front of a rainbow backdrop, with a banner along the bottom that says "Dads".

Good Grief Part One

Good Grief Part One was born out of doing my own research to help me get through the grief of losing my mother. While writing this piece, much research went into it, and I learned so much about the grieving process.

A Broken Hero

A Broken Hero was a tough piece to write. It is my dad's story, including the good and bad times. He was a force of nature, and good and bad, he made his mark in this world and left a big void for those of us left behind.

Introducing Queer Vocal Voices

This piece was exciting for me. I, along with two other Vocal creators, Oneg and River, started a group specifically for queer voices on Vocal. We noticed the number of creators and stories in the PRIDE community was lower than expected. So with a group specifically for queer creators, we are trying to foster a safe place for queer creators to be heard. Hopefully, that translates into more creators and stories in the PRIDE community.

Hide and Seek

This piece is probably the most personal piece I have written. This is my story on accepting myself for who I am, and my eventual coming out.

Thank you for reading my work! I appreciate all of the support, reads, likes and comments I have received over the almost three years I have been on Vocal.


About the Creator

J. Delaney-Howe

Bipolar poet. Father. Grandfather. Husband. Gay man. I write poetry, prose, some fiction and a good bit about family. Thank you for stopping by.

Queer Vocal Voices on Facebook.

Find me on Facebook.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  2. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

  2. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

  3. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  4. Expert insights and opinions

    Arguments were carefully researched and presented

  5. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (8)

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  • Manisha Dhalani2 months ago

    Nicely done. Congrats on all of these top stories! Hoping for more to come!

  • Out of your 10 pieces here, I've read 7 of them! I'll circle back here when I'm free to read the remaining three. Congratulations on all your Top Stories! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Thank you for this pillar post, J. I'm now caught up on your Top Stories. Yeah!

  • sleepy drafts2 months ago

    This is a repertoire to be incredibly proud of. Thank you so much for compiling and sharing this. ❤️ There were a few on here that I had missed, so I'm excited to read them!

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Good review. I know I read some. I'll see what I missed.

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    A lot to read and respect! Good work!

  • I loved this review

  • Oneg In The Arctic2 months ago

    I love this review, and think it’s so funny and cool that I got to be involved ☺️

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