Enticing, heart wrenching, and darkly funny, the interconnected stories in The Artstars are set in creative communities—an art school, an illegal loft studio, a guerrilla street performance troupe—where teamwork and professional jealousy mix, and the artists grapple with economic realities and evolving expectations. A middle-aged poet, reeling from 9-11, fights homesickness, writer’s block, and ladybugs at an artist’s colony. A new empty-nester finds a creative outlet in her community garden, but gets tangled up in garden politics. As the characters pass through each other’s stories, making messes and helping mop them up, some find inspiration in accidents; others are ready to quit art completely. Together, they stumble through the creative process, struggling to make art and find the spark of something new and original within themselves. In a world where the odds of becoming a star are nearly impossible, The Artstars tells the stories of those who dare to dream.
Light Streaming from a Horse’s Ass
Three Lessons in Firesurfing
Down the Slope
The Stone Floor
The Beginning of the End of the Beginning
The Artstars is a fierce and funny exploration of creation and its discontents. Anne Elliott’s stories are, like the up-and-comer sculptors and poets and fabric artists who populate them, droll, ambitious, and hungry for meaning. They are about the struggle to make art, to outlast your doubts and debts, and to find love, which is to say they are about the human heart revealing itself. A gorgeous collection.
Steve Almond, author of My Life in Heavy Metal and God Bless America
These stories are so visceral, you can almost smell the oil paint, see the light coming out of a horse’s ass, as one of her characters observes. A real treat to read. And they’re funny too!
Sonia Pilcer, author of The Last Hotel: A Novel in Suites
I love these interconnected portraits—elegant, funny, fond—of artists struggling to realize a vision in the face of indifference, misunderstanding, and being very, very broke. They are heroes, deliciously human ones. The Artstars crackles with irresistible energy and smarts.
Pamela Erens, author of Eleven Hours