Category Archives: literature

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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So it came to pass, lo, a mountain of electronic “books” were published worldwide each year. Hardbacks, paperbacks, all that former sentimental physical press history shrank into a tiny drivel of archival preservation. The blunt new truth was the so-called “book” was now an electronic text read on an electronic instrument. Everyone in the world could publish text. Almost everyone did.

The challenge for writers of electronic texts was to find an audience and build on it. Especially for writers of text who wanted to be paid in electronic credits deposited to their electronic bank accounts. After all, that was the definition of a ‘professional writer’…getting those currency credits. Herein are the tortured guts of the market consumption of texts: those who want to be paid social money credits (and a few intellectual credits tacked on for good show). But keep the chow train going. A scribe has to eat and so far, electronic food, well, it’s a mean lean meal.

E-Sluch Pile.

The electronic web at this soon to be reached point of publishing…well, you can imagine: it’s going to be a nasty war out there to make a paid living for writing and transmitting e-texts around the globe (maybe into colonies on the Moon and Mars).

For the radicals and anarchists and hermits, it probably won’t matter much who succeeds financially. They will reject such crass concerns. Writing into the ever expanding E-Slush Pile is a moral right and privilege, not to be denied by anyone.

Once denied by publishers, editors and critics, the slush pile publications, the great unwashed, the geniuses, freaks, schizos, world conquerors, puppets, psychotics and undiscovered talents, all in fact, the whole sum of the e-publishing networld, this will be the undifferentiated Mass. And who, may we gently ask, who will play gatekeeper and rater of quality of these billions of text issued worldwide each solar day/night? Who will step up and play critic? Who will find the so-called sweet two percent that justifies news about publication? Who will accept a corps of critical texts that serve to rate and rank the writers and texts in terms of worthiness?

These islands of recommended quality, more e-text themselves, will be those critical surfaces where favored texts are modeled for all to read. Cliques. Favored status. Elites. Tribes of good taste.

But these will come and go and meanwhile the tsunami of e-text publication will wash away at the limited exposure of one group’s favored, fair-haired. Literary class warfare.

And it will lead to self-erosion and a greater drift toward anonymity and freedom to write when and how you want.

So to all those writers out there struggling with the old trade book dilemmas, hung up on “making it’ in the paid, commercial fashion, take a deep breath and get ready to enjoy the freedom of nonattachment. Step back and watch the fishes play!

a crass commercial from this author still caught in a marketing age : see my latest BOOK: “Difficult People: Flash Fictions”: 172 short short stories for adult storybook reader. Stop on by and climb Slush Mountain!

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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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Literature Is Humanity’s Deep Gossip

Jim Stallings is a cultural anthropologist with a deep interest in ritual, myth and narrative. In the 1990s he started writing fiction after learning to ghost write and book doctor novels and scripts. He’s published a number of original works of fiction since 2002 using iUnverse; he sees POD publishing as a way of creating demos just as music groups do; it’s an expression of independence and originality and he hopes helps him reach a larger readership through partnerships with major trade publishers.

Here’s his published works to date: Tales for Commuters & Other Time Travelers (stories); Hunters in the Fog: Diary to Screenplay (my father’s fighter pilot diary from WWII plus a screenplay adaptation); Neon Nirvana: A Romance of the New Age (novel); Devil’s Hopper (literary mystery); The Latest Bloodshed (mystery); & Getting To Know You, thriller; most recently, Dispatches from Tumbleweed (haiku poetry).

See website or buy at bookstores like amazon, or




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