The characters in the collection of stories by Anne Elliot, entitled The Artstars, have art degrees. For each one you might say that Art is their life but, with one exception, not their livlihood. Any practicing artist in any medium will recognize the existential struggles of the mostly ordinary people who are the Artstars.
The collection of stories, and the lives of the main characters are intertwined. Each story is narrated by a different voice. In the first story, Light Streaming from a Horse’s Ass, the narrator addresses the main character as you. I wasn’t sure if she was talking about herself, or a variation of me or you the Artist. By describing the actions of the main character to the main character, she managed to convey admiration. The narrator is asserting that the process of creating and living with oneself and others is of interest, and might even matter.
I have never believed that sex work is liberating. It’s an industry like most others. It exploits its workers and even its customers really. In Square City the Sex Quarter is used to control the male operators. The women who provide the services are drugged and compliant.
Many women who have not had to deal with the very real threat of female genital mutilation probably prefer not to think about it as something that actually affects all of us. But it does. We have to reach out our hands to our sisters and help them achieve freedom of choice, or we are none of us truly free…
Female genital mutilation is no laughing matter. Many women in the world have had the procedure forced upon them. I don’t buy any arguments about traditions. It’s about control, pure and simple. I hope my fictional story might get more people to think about it…
I have been living in Greenville, South Carolina for more than ten years now. I never had any intention to live in the South, and honestly, I had some misgivings about moving here. But, my husband grew up in Greenville, and I fell in love with him. I followed him here from California when he asked me to.
I had many, mostly negative, ideas about what the “Deep South,” is and was, before coming here. In reality, I have found the South to be many things, some positive and some negative. But now I am a Southerner too. I have put my own blood, sweat and tears into this land and I have no intention of leaving. Odds are, that when you think of South Carolina, whether you live here or not, you probably conjure up your own impressions or memories, and they don’t include me. Or people like me.
So who am I? Who are people like me? Not your stereotypical Southerners. That’s all. Or that’s all I mean by it anyway. I could go on to describe a stereotypical southerner to you, but I don’t want to. My intention is to not spread stereotypes. I want to foster communication and create a comfortable home for exploring alternative realities. That’s why I am starting a new project in 2020 called Hear I Am South Carolina.
Shavana and her followers have avoided detection from STs and Rebels alike. But some women who manage to escape Square City rely on the desires of men to obtain what they need to survive in WilderWood.
Teacher comes from the Lush Planet. He has told Edwin stories about it for as long as Edwin can remember. He has always told Edwin that he would go there one day, even though it is said that the planet is dead.
Many times our own resentments prevent us from having empathy with another person’s situation. Anna, an escaped slave, had not given much thought to why Marvelina had found her privileged situation so intolerable…
Marvelina didn’t foresee the resentment she would encounter in her search to be free. She also didn’t think about the consequences of having both the King’s Square Troopers and her husband’s Special Forces all searching for her and turning people’s lives topsy-turvy in the process.
Morina discovered her greatest strengths while surviving in WilderWood and functioning as Shavana’s fiercest warrior. If called upon to, she would sacrifice her life for Shavana without a second thought. She is also the best hunter among the group of women, and the most hot tempered.
They have different reasons, but Joe and Marvelina both feel like they are outsiders. Joe is an escaped slave with a troubled conscience. Marvelina has escaped but is troubled by her own lack of understanding of how the world works.
There are many unique life forms on the planet Grandmother. It was one reason why the Squares came there. One thing they overlooked completely was the Sacred Herb. But the natives of the planet call it sacred for a reason…