Category Archives: literature and movies

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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Filed under American popular culture, best thought, erotica, fiction, first thought, flash fiction, flash poetry, literature, literature and movies, poetry, prose poetry, troubled people, works in progress

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: “Inside Her Snore”, fr. notebooks, Jim Stallings

Inside her snore

Was the day ahead

Coded in compact

With the devil’s needs

To exert wrong force

On a man of wanton creeds

That’s what the deed says

Regardless of truth

Or fair judicial review—

So let the stupidity begin

With awakening snorts

And swimming to surface

Announcements & dreamscapes

Where reason gone dark

Makes application

To the best of retainers

Who want to serve the queen.

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Poem: “Try Me He Said”, fr. notebooks, Jim Stallings

Try me he said

And slid the pistol

Across the bar

As if this were

A Wild West show

Or B movie re-run

When in fact we were

As moderns in suits

Atop a skyscraper

In a penthouse

With city lights ablaze

And a Pollack copy

On the wall

Where the literati paused

With canapés mid flight

To mouths agape,


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Literary Asides: “Niagara” & Marilyn Monroe and More

extract from email with polymath, Pedro T.:

Niagara in all its color glory arrived. This was a film that I’ve always come in on in Act 2, about when Joseph Cotten stalks her in the bell tower and chokes her to death. Right out of pulp fiction covers, graphically speaking. So I got to see MM in her Act 1 slinky dresses, her hip twanging walk and her in bed scenes. Apparently Nabokov was smitten by MM when he met her in Hollywood years later in the making of Lolita by Kubrick. He was quite impressed by her beauty and brains. I know Vlad’s wife Vera was right at his side throughout the meetings. She was really a quite small woman. Some guy recently on Antiques Roadshow got an appraisal for one of her tight dresses in Some Like It Hot for a cool $300k. Damn. Now there’s a nest egg pepper-upper. My B-actress Aunt M.E. was in Hollywood in the 50s and like many other aspirants converted to the peroxide blonde look and the bright red lipstick vagina lip look. Fetching. But I digress into shadowy libido areas and Mailer and a herd of other slavering slaves to MM have worn this trail bare. Historically, mythically, the life of a love goddess is not untroubled with all that yang energy focused on her every wiggle and wink. Back to the film itself, it was a sleazy kind of pulp novel of the 50s with the blonde draped over the cover, Niagara Falls in the background…something probably about doomed honeymoons…This was the age of paperback novels edging on the erotic/pornographic. Back then a fast typing, hard drinking, heavy smoking novelist with a run time of 60,000 words could knock out a torrid affair/crime caper in a couple of months. I know an agent from those days who had a “stable” of such writers. One guy in particular he recalled, not his name, but that his technique was to come to Chicago and rent a suite at the Drake Hotel and order a case of his favorite booze. He’s sit down at the typewriter and knock out a novel in about two or three weeks while consuming the firewater. Then he’d drop off the ms. and disappear into Main Street anonymity. The agent said  he sold everything he ever wrote. Ah, tales from the dark side of the creative world. Another odd reaction I had to Niagara. In 1952 when they were shooting the Falls area, which is structurally for obvious reasons much the same tody, I was struck by the paucity of people. There were just fewer people back then, probably half the population of today. I was about six when this shot and part of its attraction to me is to remind me visually of the stuff in the film, the cars, buildings, signage, clothing of “ordinary people.”
Anyway, old bud, I feel underneath this torrid love/murder plot something deeper…but here is not the place to go into it. Something tragic and troubling not only about an American icon of the screen, but something about America post Korea, and all the rest to come (including the love goddess’ death)…maybe it was the lie about love and marriage, about Niagara as a love renewal backdrop and Mecca? Divorce rates were about to take off like a rocket, an unheard of practice prior to this decade (a family shame); something was eating into the old standards of faith and loyalty and long term commitment. Here was a pulp story that actually emerged from the currency of the times and revealed the hollowness of the war and commercial culture (the Cutler’s & Shredded Wheat). zzzzzzzzzzzz….
Sorry, narcolepsy is my current malady! I must move on as I know you must to…but just wanting you to know I dearly love these old films. I love the hermeneutics of the visual text in my act 3 decrepitude. One more observation…from DOA with Edmund OBrien…you know I watched it recently and realized how physically gifted EO was…quite good on  his feet. In fact after watching him run and dodge bullets and death itself within…I gradually saw a correspondence to today’s bullet solid body type action guy…Bruce Willis.
No, I haven’t been drinking…not yet anyway. It’s morning in America, and god bless us, it’s actually raining in the desert! Exit Stage Obama Left:
gracias, amigo…

PS. Difficult People may or may not reappear here. Currently the story book of 172 flash fictions is being prepped for publication as a paperback and e-book. Publication dates, etc. forthcoming…many thanks for readership! Huzzah! Turn off that TV! Bless the fiction reader!

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