A Thinning Veil by Andrea Fingerson

Still Hungry for More Thrills & Chills?

We will continue to run a new story each day this week. These stories were written at an Inlandia workshop for those wanting to write for Ghost Walk.


Cast of Characters: Male Narrator, Female Bystander, Isadora, and Fred.

When the scene opens, a man and a woman are arguing with each other upstage. Downstage the Narrator (an elderly male) is preparing to introduce the scene when he begins talking to a bystander (female) hidden in the audience.

Narrator: Welcome. Welcome. Please, gather around. Come closer. But not too close, of course. We are surrounded by visitors tonight.

Bystander: Visitors?

Narrator: Yes, of course child. It’s almost Halloween. The veil between our world and the next has been stretched thin. Look, the ghosts are beginning to bleed through.

Bystander: What are you talking about? I don’t see any ghosts.

Narrator: Oh, you will. Take those two, for instance.

Bystander: The couple in the corner?

Narrator: That is Fred and Isadora. Poor souls. They’ve been stuck here for at least half a century.

Bystander: What are they fighting about?

Narrator: Who knows. It’s always something with those two. Let’s listen in. But remember, don’t get too close.

Bystander: Why?

Narrator: Trust me. It’s for you own good.

Fred: I still can’t believe you killed me.

Isadora: It’s no more than you deserved. Or have you forgotten about shooting me on the steps of the courthouse?

Fred: You were trying to take our daughter away from me.

Isadora: For good reason.

Fred: Things were perfect until you filed for divorce.

Isadora: Sixteen trips to the emergency room is not what I would call perfect.

Fred: Why, I ought to.. (he tries to hit her, but misses; they’re both ghosts, but they can’t touch each other)

Isadora: I’m not afraid of you anymore, Fred. You can’t hurt me.

Fred: You never used to be so flippant.

Isadora: Now all you can do is annoy me.

Fred: It’s the only way to have fun in this place.

Isadora: It’s called limbo.

Fred: Who cares what it’s called. I just want to know how to escape.

Isadora: You’re not the only one.

Fred: Oh, I’d give anything to be able to touch something again. Anything. Even you.

Isadora: You’d probably just hit me.

Fred: And this is my punishment? An eternity stuck with you?

Isadora: You deserve a torturous afterlife. I, on the other hand-

Fred: (interrupting) Killed me, remember?

Isadora: Not quickly enough. I should have started dosing you with arsenic the first time you hit me.

Fred: You were so timid. That’s what I liked about you. You never hurt a fly, until you went and killed me.

Isadora: Best decision I ever made.

Fred: I would never have hurt our daughter. I loved her.

Isadora: And how was I supposed to know that? You took your frustration out on me enough times.

Fred: God. What I wouldn’t give to have another chance at life.

Isadora: That’s probably the one thing we agree on.

Fred: What would you do differently? If you had the chance?

Isadora: I wouldn’t be so timid, that’s for sure.

Fred: But it was your best quality.

Isadora: You mean my worst. No, if there’s one thing I’ve learned being stuck with you all these years, it’s to take what I want.

Fred: So I did make an impression on you.

Isadora: Don’t flatter yourself.

Fred: I won’t. I’ve learned a little humility being stuck with you all these years. (quieter) Wish I would’ve learned it sooner.

Isadora: What was that?

Fred: I said I wish I would’ve learned it sooner. Ok?

Isadora: Oh, Fred. You mean I’ve made an impression on you too?

Fred: I suppose so. Despite myself.

Isadora: At least that’s something.

Fred: And I intend to do something about it.

Isadora: What are you talking about, Fred?

Fred starts looking around at the crowd. He begins to examine them carefully. Isadora is following behind him, asking him what he’s doing)

Narrator: (backing up) Oh no. We’ve gotta get out of here.

Bystander: What are you talking about?

Narrator: We need to leave. Now.

Fred: (stops in front of the bystander) Oh yes, you’ll do nicely.

Narrator: I’ve heard about this. (he starts to push the bystander away) You’ve gotta get out of here.

Before the bystander can leave, Fred pushes Isadora into her. After this, the actress who plays Isadora should stand one to two feet behind the bystander and mimic the bystander’s words and movement.

Bystander: Fred. Fred. Where are you? What’s happening?

Fred: Coming dear.

Fred faces the narrator, staring at him.

Narrator: Oh no you don’t.

The narrator turns to run, but Fred grabs his arm and pushes himself up against him. After this, the actor who plays Fred stands one to two feet behind the narrator and mimics the narrator’s words and movement.

While this is happening, Isadora and the bystander are freaking out and calling for Fred. They don’t know yet that they can be seen by everyone else.

Narrator: Wow. That felt weird. (he turns to the bystander) Are you in there Isadora? Did it work?

Bystander: Wait. Can you see me?

Narrator: Of course I can, Isadora.

Bystander: (looks closely at the narrator) Fred? Is that you?

Narrator: (proudly) It is.

Bystander: What happened? Where are we?

Narrator: This my dear, is our second chance. I suggest we make the best of it.

The entire cast walks out, arm in arm. The actress playing Isadora and Fred should follow behind the narrator and the bystander.

Talent is Overrated: A Free Five-meeting Fiction Writing Workshop at CSUSB by Cati Porter

Join the Inlandia Institute and Cal State San Bernardino for a free five-meeting fiction writing workshop, “Talent is Overrated.”

Writing isn’t glamorous and it isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. With determination and hard work you can become a writer, but you have to choose to be one. Join Andrea Fingerson for a 5-meeting workshop where you will learn how to become a writer. (Note: there will be homework. Please be prepared to commit to the workshop.) The workshop will discuss what it means to be a writer, share strategies that will help you develop the necessary disciple, and review basic fiction techniques and strategies that will help you write a short story or picture book. By the end of this workshop you will have a completed and edited story that is formatted for submission. Writing is in your future. Let Andrea help you get there.

Workshop dates and times:

Sept. 25, 6-9 p.m.

Oct. 2, 6-9 p.m.

Oct. 16, 6-9 p.m.

Oct. 30, 5-6 p.m. (optional meeting)

Nov. 13, 6-9 p.m.

Nov. 20, 6-9 p.m.

All workshops will take place at CSUSB in the Pfau Library, room PL4005A (4th floor).

This workshop is limited to 15 participants. The only requirement is that only people who are sincerely willing to commit the time and effort take one of the places. You will essentially be writing, rewriting, and editing a short story in under two months. If you would like a place in the workshop email jvlong@csusb.edu, and include a phone number that she can reach you with. Reservations will be made on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested, please email today.

Inlandia’s Fall Creative Writing Workshops Set to Begin by Cati Porter

The Inlandia Institute’s Fall Creative Writing Workshops are set to begin. Led by professional writers and writing instructors, each workshop is designed to meet the needs of writers working in all genres at all levels. Currently there are six different workshop locations:

Ontario, led by Charlotte Davidson [*Closed: Full]; Riverside, led by Jo Scott-Coe; Corona, led by Matthew Nadelson; Idyllwild, co-led by Myra Dutton and Jean Waggoner; Palm Springs, led by Alaina Bixon; and San Bernardino, led by Andrea Fingerson.

Each workshop series is approximately 10 weeks long, meeting every other week unless specified. Workshops are free and open to the public but registration is required.

Please RSVP to cati.porter@inlandiainstitute.org. Registration forms will be emailed prior to and/or distributed during the first session.

And, while these workshops are free and open to the public, in order to keep them that way, we do ask that you consider an optional but suggested donation of $25 for the entire series. Information about why this is necessary is included in the registration packet.


Dates and times vary by location:

Ontario [*Closed: Full]


Led by Charlotte Davidson

6 pm – 8 pm

September 10 & 24, October 8, 22, and November 5


Ovitt Family Community Library

215 E C St

Ontario, CA 91764




Led jointly by Myra Dutton & Jean Waggoner

2 pm – 4 pm

First Friday of every month


Idyllwild Public Library

54401 Village Ctr Dr

Idyllwild, CA 92549




Led by Matt Nadelson

7 pm – 8:30 pm

September 9, 23, October, 7, 21, and November 18


Corona Public Library

650 S Main St

Corona, CA 92882




Led by Jo Scott-Coe

6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

September 25, October 9, 23, November 6, and 20


Riverside Public Library

3581 Mission Inn Ave

Riverside, CA 92501


Palm Springs


Led by Alaina Bixon

2 pm – 4 pm

October 8, 22, November 5, 19, and December 3


Smoke Tree Racquet Club

1655 E Palm Canyon Dr

Palm Springs, CA 92264


Free parking, accessible from E Palm Canyon or the Citibank lot on the corner of Sunrise/Hwy 111.


San Bernardino


Led by Andrea Jill Fingerson

3:30 pm – 5:30 pm

September 23, October 7, 21, November 4, and 18


Feldheym Library

555 W 6th St

San Bernardino, CA 92410

Alaina Bixon leads writing workshops, including Inlandia’s creative writing workshops in Palm Springs, edits books, and reads for the online journal The Whistling Fire. She is working on an article about women at MIT.

Jo Scott-Coe is the author of Teacher at Point Blank. Her essays can be found in Salon, Memoir, TNB, River Teeth, Hotel Amerika, Fourth Genre, and the Los Angeles Times. Jo is currently an associate professor of English at Riverside City College and the faculty editor of MUSE.

Charlotte Davidson received a Masters in English from Syracuse University followed by an MFA in poetry from UC Irvine. Her first book, Fresh Zebra, appeared in 2012. Charlotte leads Inlandia’s creative writing workshops in Ontario.

Myra Dutton is the author of Healing Ground: A Visionary Union of Earth and Spirit, which was a 2004 Narcissus Book Award finalist and a 2006 selection for “Ten Books We Love” by Inland Empire Magazine.

Andrea Fingerson has taught preschool, reading, and high school English. Currently, she teaches Child Development classes to teen parents. She received her MFA in Fiction from CSUSB. During that time she was a Fiction Editor for Ghost Town and the high school Outreach Coordinator for The Pacific Review. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and is currently in the process of editing a young adult novel.

Matthew Nadelson teaches writing at Norco College and leads a creative writing workshop at the Corona Public Library (every other Tuesday from 6 pm to 8 pm) through the Inlandia Institute. He has lived and worked in Riverside County since 1997 (with the exception of a brief stint in San Diego at SDSU, where he earned his MFA in creative writing, from 2002 to 2005). His writing has been featured in more than 20 journals and anthologies, and he was recently featured on the Moon Tide Press website as their “Poet of the Month” for December 2013. His first poetry collection, American Spirit, was published in August 2011 by Finishing Line Press.

Jean Waggoner, a published fine arts reviewer, poet, essayist and story writer, has taught college English and English as a Second Language in Riverside County for the past thirteen years and co-leads the Idyllwild poetry and creative writing workshops for Inlandia Institute. Jean is an advocate for part time faculty equity and co-author of a book on the part-time professor experience, The Freeway Flier & the Life of the Mind.

* Charlotte Davidson’s workshop is now CLOSED due to maximum enrollment; please check back in winter to see if openings are available or join one of our other upcoming workshops that still have seats. San Bernardino and Corona both have openings.