Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck: Stories from 2nd Story

Overview

This anthology of short, personal essays brings a vibrant oral tradition to the page through the work of 2nd Story, a Chicago-based collective working to build community through storytelling. These original, unpublished essays are adapted from the group?s monthly events, which fuse page, stage, and sound to deliver a unique, live literary and theatrical experience. Contributors include Sam Weller, Patricia Ann McNair, Eric Charles May, and Randall Albers.

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Briefly Knocked Unconscious by a Low-Flying Duck: Stories from 2nd Story

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Overview

This anthology of short, personal essays brings a vibrant oral tradition to the page through the work of 2nd Story, a Chicago-based collective working to build community through storytelling. These original, unpublished essays are adapted from the group’s monthly events, which fuse page, stage, and sound to deliver a unique, live literary and theatrical experience. Contributors include Sam Weller, Patricia Ann McNair, Eric Charles May, and Randall Albers.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"We drove around Evanston, Illinois in Lisa's Toyota RAV4 with Xena sitting in the back seat. We pulled into an empty Dominick's parking lot, hot-boxed the RAV4, and blew smoke in Xena's face." This is just one of many memorable moments to come from this collection of 23 essays by members of the 2nd Story Group in Chicago. The book is filled with laugh-out-loud gags and witty anecdotes, not to mention heartbreak that's often underplayed, yet still impossible to miss. One need only look as far as the stories' titles to get a sense of this anthology's unique flavor. There's Byron Flitsch's "Dirty Dancing," Molly Each's "A Prostitute Comparison," the aforementioned "Xena: Cardboard Princess" by Sara Kerastas, and Patricia Ann McNair's heartfelt closing piece "Return Trip." The stories are endlessly relatable and their tellers are true masters of the craft, able to make you laugh, make you cry, and make you want to do it all over again once you've finished. This collection will demand, and receive, return trips from its readers.
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From the Publisher

“A whole world retold. Life-saving. Hopeful. They really know how to tell a story.”  —Dorothy Allison, author, Bastard Out of Carolina

“Funny, compelling, intimate, raw, and always surprising, Briefly Knocked Unconscious By A Low-Flying Duck is storytelling at its absolute best. From porn queens to tooth fairies, blood clots to sobriety, prepare to be awestruck, dumbstruck, thunderstruck, and perhaps struck by low-flying fowl. These are stories you will want to read out loud to your friends.”  —Dinty W. Moore, author, The Mindful Writer

“The best part about the stories in this collection isn’t that they’re captivating (though they are). And it isn’t that they bring a tear just as much as they’ll bring a smile (though they will). And it’s not that they’ll introduce you to some of Chicago’s most incredible new writing talent (though that’ll happen too). No, the best part about these stories in this collection is that they are true.”  —Dan Sinker, author, The F***ing Epic Twitter Quest of @MayorEmanuel

“These fresh voice-driven narratives will make you laugh and ache. A wonderful collection with the heart of true storytellers.”  —Heidi W. Durrow, author, The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

“To capture the authority of the stories 2nd Story tells is to chronicle our lives, to leave a legacy of our triumphs and struggles, our hopes and heartbreaks. I cannot wait for you to get your hands on it.”  —Willa Taylor, director of education and community programs, Goodman Theater

“This collection gathers some of the 2nd Story’s best-told, completely true tales. In print, these stories resemble personal essays, yet they have a far looser, more conversational flow, thanks to their oral roots. How the story sounds is as important as, if not more important than, how it reads.”  —Patty Wetli, Booklist

“Each piece in Briefly Knocked Unconscious is like a particularly flavorful berry—self-contained, juicy, and keeps you reaching for more. Awareness of the original medium ushers in strong visuals: layouts of places, and great descriptions of people, for example. These stories are some of the most vivid short pieces around.”  —Examiner.com

“The stories are endlessly relatable and their tellers are true masters of the craft, able to make you laugh, make you cry, and make you want to do it all over again once you've finished. This collection will demand, and receive, return trips from its readers.”  —Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780984670062
  • Publisher: Elephant Rock Productions, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/12/2012
  • Pages: 227
  • Sales rank: 1,270,552
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Reilly is the director of publications at 2nd Story. His writing has appeared in Alarm, the A.V. Club, and Norman Einstein’s Sports & Rocket Science Quarterly. Megan Stielstra teaches writing and performance at Columbia College Chicago and the University of Chicago and is the literary director for 2nd Story. She is the author of Everyone Remain Calm. They both live in Chicago.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 27, 2012

    When this book was added to my syllabus at Columbia College dur


    When this book was added to my syllabus at Columbia College during the last weeks of class I was less than enthused, to say the least, to read it. I had a date with madness and he promised to show up the night before finals. But I was hooked from the first story and didn’t put it down to sleep. This is a ‘readers,” and “writers,” book. To say that these characters are from different walks of life is an understatement.
    In one essay: A black girl takes a Chinese guy home-a gut buster; in another a biker chick pops up preggers-action packed, and you learn what could make someone hate the mess out of strawberries-tear jerker. After crying, laughing, writing, crying laughing and writing some more, I just gazed at the cover and thought, “Never judge one based on the title and the comedic book trailer!”
    I expected the essay’s to be about lilies, daffodils, and nightly strolls in the rain. I was dead wrong! Once I digested the stories, I went back to look at the style and construction of the essays. I had to know what had me so hooked. That’s why I say it’s a writers book. The book could have been called “The Lesson,” if you ask me. It should have been the first thing my teacher assigned. I hope to one day write something that touches my audience the way these stories touched me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2012

    This is a fantastic book. It really captured that unique, hard t

    This is a fantastic book. It really captured that unique, hard to describe, vibe of listening to someone tell a story in Chicago. I was concerned that that intangible live performance whatever-it-is wouldn't translate to a written collection of essays, but they nailed it. The essays are well balanced and all deliver that necessary punch, whether it's laughter or a tear. They never stray into diary-like material, but are extremely well told. "Push Kick Coast" practically knocks you over. I enjoyed every single story. It's a very big win.

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  • Posted November 16, 2012

    Okay, full disclosure here: I have an essay in this book. BUT--b

    Okay, full disclosure here: I have an essay in this book. BUT--before the book's release, I had not read most of the pieces in this collection of "real" stories written to be read on-stage to an audience that is out for a good time, good stories, and probably lots of cocktails. Imagine my delight in finding such a wide range of stories told (written) by a remarkable range of writers. I could say a little something about each of them, but in order to not take up too much space, I will mention just a few and the impact of them. "A Prostitute Comparison;" "Amber;" "A Cautionary Tale?;" "Push Kick Coast"--made me laugh until my eyes brimmed. "Crazy For You;" "Super K;" "Foreigner in a Straight Land;" "This Teacher Talks too Fast;" "Here Comes Trouble;" "Counting Days;" "Here, Capture Something;" "Running On Empty"--touched me in ways that surprised me. Oh, and Deb R. Lewis's "Why I Hate Strawberries"--really, nothing can quite compare to this. Really. The rest of the book--well, let's just say that I am extremely proud to be in such company, and I hope that everyone reads every story--many times.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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