Jim's writing life

Jim's writing life

Jim's writing lifeJim's writing lifeJim's writing life



I am a recipient of the 2017 PEN/Robert J. Day Short Story Prize. I received the award for my story The Asphodel Meadow, which was published in the anthology PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2017.

New Rain

In the country where I grew up the clouds had grown thick skins, belligerent underbellies that would not give up their gift.

Storms approached from the mountain range to the west, floating like leaden cargo ships, while my little sister and I watched through our bedroom window. [Keep reading at The Esthetic Apostle]

The Barlow

This is The Barlow. The Perfect Barlow, in the perfect town. A marketplace where people drop their iPhones and they don't break because the ground is perfectly made from recycled tires; a place where every barista looks the same and the ones that look different look like the server at the brewery.... [Keep reading at Salmon Creek Journal]


In your city, a beautiful bird appears. It is small, the size of a tight fist. Amidst the glass and cement, it seems fragile, vulnerable. The type of creature that would sing. 

[Keep reading in issue 243 of Crack the Spine]

The Asphodel Meadow

He invited my wife to hike up a mountain. She laughed. She twisted her hair in a tight bun. He stepped out onto the porch and picked up the morning newspaper. The air was cool. Dew covered the buttercups. He put the roof down on his sports car. A neighbor peeked through the curtains. Lamb's wool covered the car seats. My wife put on her shorts. She pulled a pink T-shirt over her black bra. She slipped her feet into white sandals. She nestled in the sheepskin. He handed her the newspaper. She dropped it on the floorboard. 

She turned to him and said, "Look at what passes for the new. You will not find it there but in despised poems." [Keep reading at the Summerset Review]

Traveler #17

By the time he was 46 years old, he had orbited eight planets, and then, finally, they selected him to go live on one for a time.

The blue surface felt like moss. Even through zinc boots and socks insulated with an aluminum alloy that left a rash on the soles of his feet, the planet felt luscious. Stepping onto the surface was exhilarating, as if he were the first to ever touch another planet. [Keep reading at JONAH Magazine]


An angry girl commands that I go look into – go sniffing around for – a smoking pot.

I'm on my way to school, in a subway station, I’m counting rats on tracks, my train is approaching. Six rings, I pick it up, I’m hit with this shrill girl, and I don’t say a thing. An awkard call at dawn.

“No, no, no, you numb skull,” this chick sighs, “Not a burning trashcan!” “I didn’t say a word,” I blat back at Angry Gal, “and I am not saying, am not going

to say, not thinking of saying, a word.”

[my novel, coming someday]