Mannequins, Back to School &
Short-Short Stories @ Riley’s

September 10th, 2014

12910WorldsShortestStoriesLast week, I posted a preview of the short-short story and flash fiction event that will be rolling into Riley’s Pour House on September 30. That event is already shaping up to be one of the most exciting Storytelling Nights yet, so — if you haven’t seen the post (which includes Michael A. Arnzen’s story about growing up in the shadow of the Amityville Horror house) — you should check it out now by clicking here. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Today I’d like to look back at last month’s event to give you a sense of how the idea for a night of ultra-short stories came to be.

Billed as an evening of Mannequin Tales and Back-to-School Adventures, last month’s story night featured stories from Marlene Pendleton, Joanne Letcher, Larry Ivkovich, Dan Cindric, and Mary Ann Shaughnessy. All the presentations were first rate, but two of them stood out for their remarkable brevity.

Whereas most of the stories featured at our Storytelling Nights tend to clock in at 10 minutes, the stories told by Marlene Pendleton and Mary Ann Shaughnessy both came in at under three minutes (with Mary Ann’s running an amazing 33 seconds!)

As readers of this blog know from previous posts (“Putting the Flash in Fiction,” and “The Shortest Flashes Ever Written“), I’m a big fan of the short form, and those ultra-short tales by Marlene and Mary Ann got me thinking that maybe it was time to host a night of short-short stories.


After the show, I contacted some of the area’s masters of the short form, all of whom agreed to take part.

The guidelines for the flash event are simple. Each storyteller gets up to ten minutes to tell as many stories as possible, provided none of the stories exceeds five minutes. The subject matter is wide open. This time, the length is the theme.

So fasten your seat belts, friends, and get ready for a night of rapid-fire storytelling. This event is going to rock!

Need some inspiration? You might want to check out the books 100 Jolts by Michael A. Arnzen or Mourning Jewelry by Stephanie M. Wytovice (both of whom will be joining us at this month’s event).

You might also want to give a listen to the tracks below.

marlene and babeIt was Marlene Pendleton who first suggested the mannequin theme for last month’s event. During our initial discussions, she offered to bring a special thematic guest to the performance. And so she did, arriving with a mannequin named Babe who sat on the side of the stage for the entire night. One of Marlene’s previous Storytelling-Night tales was a crowd favorite, and she will be returning in December for a competition featuring the year’s top storytellers. Her mannequin story might stretch the definition of mannequin, but it certainly doesn’t stretch time. It’s brief, well constructed, and hilarious.

Beating Marlene’s record time by over two minutes, Mary Ann Shaughnessy tells an amusing tale about playing hooky from Catholic school.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you on September 30 when the Riley’s regulars (Marlene, Mary Ann, and others) are joined by flash masters Michael A. Arnzen, Sheldon Higdon, Stephanie M. Wytovice and more for the flashiest Storytelling Night ever. Until then . . . scop on!

  1. This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 9:48 pm and is filed under 21st-Century Scop. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply