Artstars as Ordinary People

The Artstars by Anne Elliot
Indiana University Press, Publication date: 10/01/2019, ISBN: 978-0-253-04436-5

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.

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Marvelina Chapter 20 Part 2

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.

	The Operators paraded up the stairs, now swaying their hips and licking their lips as they crossed the faux cut stone bridge. Joe felt the spikes in his boots sinking into the reinforced cardboard as he followed them. Curved buildings with entryways shaped like vulvas beckoned to the men from the other side of the bridge. Perfumed steam rose into the air lit up in pink. Cheap thrills offered by mechanical devices were arranged in view of the bridge to titillate the Operators and persuade them to part with some change as soon as they crossed over. A red carpet promised more expensive pleasures for those desiring to search further within the twisted streets of the Sex Quarter.

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Marvelina Chapter 19 Part 1

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…

	She scrubbed herself hard, trying to wash away the memory of Doctor Schlock. But when she leaned back and closed her eyes, she saw his curly waxed mustache as he tapped his fingernail on her clitoris, telling her it was his now. She put her hand between her legs, relieved that she had not been mutilated, and understanding fully now what had been done to the girls working underground.

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Marvelina Chapter 18 Part 1

Conquerors, and even the people they bring unwillingly with them, tend to ignore the native people, and their native wisdom. This is as true on Earth as it is on Grandmother.

	“We should follow them,” said Katrina. She and Morina nodded to the men and turned to leave. But Merlin interrupted them. 
	“Want the Only People to you touch not. Want they to you talk not." He paused for a moment, reaching into his pocket. "Got I the Sacred Herb some of.  Time is it sharing for. We walking are the web on Grandmother Spider of, going and coming the same is.”

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Marvelina Chapter 17 Part 2

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…

Relishing the site of Marvelina’s youthful appearance, and the idea that the King would be watching, Dr. Schlock became impatient and decided to start without Florence. 
	“After she gives me what I want, I'll finish off with the razor blade. It's her pleasure button makes her so wild," he whispered with eager anticipation. "They all become compliant when it's gone. She'll be better off without it."

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Hear I Am South Carolina

Here I am, with my three sons, raised (mostly) in Greenville, SC

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.

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Marvelina Chapter 17 Part 1

Queen Square was sold into marriage, just like Marvelina. Unlike her daughter, she has settled into her passive role. But she is still rebellious in small ways that harm her more than anyone else.

	“Another Square Flair Marybell,” drawled the Queen lethargically. Marybell slipped her stiletto sandals on and stepped from behind the couch. She took a Square Flair from a deep pocket in her wide skirt and kneeled in front of Queen Square to hand it to her. Even though they were contraband inside Square Headquarters, Square Flairs were as irresistible to Queen Square as they were to rebellious teen Aristocrats.

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Marvelina Chapter 16 Part 3

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.

	Lavender woke up thinking about when she walked out angrily on her mother and dropped her lipstick in the street. She cried, and an ST had stopped to talk to her. Before that day she had thought that Inside was the only place where she could get things that she wanted. Anticipating what unexpected offerings might come her way today, she hugged the automatic weapon that she was now in the habit of keeping at her side while she slept.

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Marvelina Chapter 16 Part 2

Marven was a wise leader on the Lush Planet. He knew who his sworn enemies were. He also knew that to overcome, sometimes you have to make adjustments.

	…”Well, around the time that Marven got the news that the boy was born, he harvested his first crop of the Sacred Herb from the seeds that the Only People had given him. He made a tea with it. Just as they had said, his vision was enhanced. He could see the thin little wisps of Grandmother Spider's web stretching across the night sky. He saw that he couldn't move without creating a ripple in her vast and intricate work. He realized that he didn't get to decide who he was connected to, that he couldn't just get rid of the Squares. 'We're already all connected. We must evolve to survive,' is what he said.

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Marvelina Chapter 16 Part 1

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.

…”We watched the stars and told their stories, and our spirits soared into the night sky." 
	"What stories? How did you know star stories?" Edwin had once asked Teacher.
	"The spiders lived with us in the trees. They told us that all the stars and planets and people too, all our stories are woven together. The planets are connected to each other, and so are their people."
	“Tell me a woven together story," Edwin demanded. He had turned thirteen, and Teacher was getting weaker.

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