Category Archives: fiction

Infernal Regions Report: Scribe in Purgatorial Revision Spirals

Let us now praise the gods & goddesses of revision.

Long accepted is the law of writing, reading, rewriting…putting away…(after a period long enough for amnesia to set in, reopen the text)…read, rewrite, read again till sick of it again…repeat ad nauseam…[test the manuscript on poor “friend” victims, get feedback, please be patient with good readers]…and so on it goes, until the Author gives the creature a push out of the lab and good luck to that orphan…but always remember, authors in their heart of hearts love all their children, however suspect in terms of ideal standards of literary finesse.

By way of prologue, this is currently a period of revision, two novels in advanced revision yet not quite ready to release into the sink hole of despair & hope. Yes, Authors must dream too about their creatures of the imagination.

In brief, two novels in final prep…and a clamor from the Idea Pile…for new works to start. Meaning, the Author is in a betwixt & between (liminal) state. A most delicate transition between imaginary worlds. Steadying this uncertain phase to the next work in progress are those tortured texts under final tweaking. You get the point I’m sure, especially if you’re an obsessive compulsive writer who must scribble or type something everyday or else you start to suffer withdrawal nausea usually accompanied by rock emotional swings. Strange business. Don’t wish this scribe habit on anyone. Count your blessings if you can write and put it down for a few weeks, months or years. Please, I hear you, enough.

Oh, almost forgot, I’ve joined up with Author Central out of the Amazon Tribe of Scribblers. They’ve given me a very nice website with great links for the tentacles in a postmodern writer’s life. Check it out my twelve current works of fiction, hopefully a little something for everyone (what a nice man, the author is):

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Follow us at Witts Inn Writers Retreat: Summer 2010

On foggy Monkfish Island somewhere off the Maine

Coast Near Portland (sometimes adrift it’s thought) is

Witts Inn Writers Summer Retreat (2010):

follow the fun goings on of a scribe tribe on a spooky island

 & listen to the gossip as they learn how to battle their uncertain

writing & social skills.


Go to:

Begins May 27/Memorial Day weekend & ends after Labor Day

******More to come here on blog after Labor Day

a spontaneous Twitter novel by Jim Stallings



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At Witt’s Inn: Twitter novel-in-progress

So just by accident I happened to start a narrative on Twitter from the phrase overhead “at wit’s end”. But I heard it also as “at Witt’s Inn.” And so, for a while at least, I’m having some fun improvising installments or dispatches from this island writer & artist retreat on mysteriously foggy Monkfish Island. It’s exact location off the coast of the U.S. is in question as it seems to move about along the various coastlines. The important thing is that we seem to overhear the meditations and concerns of resident writers & artists in Twitter’s 140 character frames.

The experimental dispatch novel is now only a week or two old but we’re hopeful our link to the island will remain viable and that we may learn a few things about the introvertive universe of writers in residence. Below are a sampling of recent communiques into the cyberspace void. Drop in at

and read the latest.

Here on the Weblog we’ll continue to post other works-in-progress & literary commentary.




At Witt’s Inn Island Retreat, literary writers clean communal bathrm; news fr NYC: vampire novel earns 6-fig advance. Gnashing of eye teeth.

Male residents of Witt’s Inn artist retreat think Al Gore’s breakup aftr 40 yrs of marriage is only way to reclaim unsown oats. Go Al!

At Witt’s Inn female residents argue Peace Prize went to Al Gore’s head & drained his tiny bit of Jack Daniel charm & thus estranging Tipper

At Witt’s Inn Island Retreat when the fog lifted & the sun emerged, writers knew the island was all too real w/ absurd real estate prices.

At Witt’s Inn on foggy Monkfish Island, rumors started w/ resident writers that the “island” was really a boat & they were being shanghaied.

On Monkfish Island at Witt’s Inn for Writers & Artists, guests sit in small rooms & listen to rain tapping a hideous message fr the Gulf.

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Poem: “Island Pond Has Frozen”, solstice poem, Jim Stallings

Recently published on Monhegans Common on their poetry site in celebration of the island at winter solstice. (


Island pond has frozen
But not enough for skaters.
Weather says:
Three to five inches
Of white stuff,
Rain and sleet.

Hunker down, Hearth Huggers,
Bolster forth, Brave Hearts.

Yes, we are dreamers
of winter full,
Still shy the solstice
When time hangs still
Twixt shorter nights
And longer days to come–

And Lo! Our bonfires
Beckon the sun
From the dark ocean,
As our faces turn
East in faith.

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“Mister Charlie”–flash fiction from Difficult People

Mister Charlie



          She kept Mister Charlie in a closet…in a box in the back. When she got home from a day of work at the office, she kicked off her shoes and pulled off her dress and walked around in her bra and panties. What a bunch of morons running the world, as she flipped on the news. My god, the stupidity of it all! Time to get out Mister Charlie and have a little talk. And out he would come, out of the back of the closet, out of his box and propped on the cushion on the TV couch (although now and then Mr. Charlie was allowed other places).

          “There you are, let’s watch the news, you appreciate that little moment.”

          “Of course I do,” she heard him say.

          “Did you miss me, Mr. Charlie?”

          “Oh yes…I was very lonely without you,” he said.

          “You’re lying, but I love it,” she said.

          “Please don’t tease me.”

          “Ohhh, Mr. Charlie, don’t you wanna hear about Bob. Bob’s been talking to me a lot.”

          “Please, not Bob,” Mr. Charlie pleaded. “Let’s just watch TV, the news.”

          “No no, Mr. Charlie,” she said, clicking off the TV. “We gotta talk.”

          “No, not this,” Mr. Charlie’s hand seemed to fall across his face. “Please…”

          “Bob met me at a hotel after work. The Marriot again and blew in my ear…and…”

          “I’m begging you. I’ll do anything,” Mr. Charlie said, motioning toward the bedroom.

          “Then let’s see Mr. Charlie hustle.”



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“Last Dance”–flash fiction from “Difficult People”

Last Dance



          Dappled gray light, spilling across the street where Tobias Farmer lived in comfortable seclusion. The time had come, the day was approaching, the letter was in the mail, all the signs were in place. The cistern out back had run dry, the weeds of summer were swept down, twisted in whirlpools of agony, flailing until now…yes, the clouds voted an opinion sympathetic with the general drift of things sui generis. The furnace ticked, the old dog rolled over and yawned and then, farted audibly in tuba register. My, my…retirement had its quaint moments, the energy of youth, the pulse of creativity, to jump to your feet and in a blind fury to spin round to the blasting music. Oh, that had been the case once…he himself a real flash point for all the quick-stepping firm young single women of his village, Lakeside, NY. Ontario’s blue waves lapping at the canoe as he asked Ginger or Edie to dance one more round. He had seen the old clubhouse bulldozed, replaced with a biotech lab years later, heard the crunch and splinter of old dance floor boards. He could still catch the rustle of their skirts; the laughter as they swept like flower corsages in bunches to the restroom. Tobias lit his pipe and his dog opened his eyes and watched the blue wreath of smoke circle his head, he gave a nose wiggle and sneezed gently in protest. An old widower at his leisure watching the gray afternoon December light fill the slow moving sky…and standing to his full height, Tobias Farmer motioned to his partner and swept slowly round the room.



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“Corn Hairs”–flash fiction from “Difficult People”

Corn Hairs



          The contempt Josh Clark felt for Sandra Stone was off the human scale. Not only had she rejected him, she then spread the word that he was gay: “Well, Josh,” she was reported to have said, “he’s at least bisexual.”

          Remembering no doubt the jungle fucks they had in her friend’s apartment in the City—those “nooners” she tagged them in honor of her philandering philatelist of a father, his rare stamp store only a brief walk from where she was roundly possessed from the hallway to the kitchen table. The high vaulted pale light of Manhattan winters cast a pall of other days, other lovers, other lives.

          The fact was Sandra Stone was an incurable Daddy’s girl and would depend on his musky five o’clock shadowy beard to arouse her desire for new men…men doomed to failure in comparison.

          Josh let out the rumor that Sandra in climax screamed “Daddy! Daddy! Harder, Daddy…Harder!” and the other associated verbalisms issuing from her little deaths of maddening orgasms.

          Josh knew she’d never escape paternal possession of her unless she left Manhattan and that would be like saying: Go, enter the Great American Desert, never to return. Once in fact she tried to take a train to the West Coast to prove her freedom. After hours of endless farming vistas, by the time Sandra hit Chicago, she’d booked a flight from O’Hare to Kennedy.

          “The nightmares of all those yellow corn hairs wriggling against the train windows! I was quite literally suffocating. Oh Josh by Gosh…I’m so happy to be home in dear dear Mannahatta, darling!” etc., in ever greater flourishes of Big Apple theatrics.

          Josh could take no more. He was living in the shadow of the great man with his tiny, expensive stamps. Still, occasionally he longed for Sandra’s Rubenesque curves, her maddening spasms of lust; but with time, Josh found other lovers and came to thank Big Daddy and the silky corn hairs.


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