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No This But This: New Novel Just Released

                                                                                                       


My attempts to let this novel go into the world haven’t been easy. It has been finished for a few months, just resting next to my computer, waiting for me to DO something. I don’t know: blow trumpets or do a few rolls on the snare drum. But there it sat. Too intimate, maybe. But this is not a memoir. The main character and I are not the same person, though I do recognize so much about her responses to life, Her life, a quite different life from mine. Her name is Ella, and she and I are the same age–in the final years of a lifetime. She lives pretty much where I do, but not in the same house. As the story opens, Ella’s life is in fragments. She has lost so much and been unable to make sense of her experiences. I may have been influenced by a review by Sandra Scofield of a friend’s memoir: “[This] memoir is breathtakingly passionate, painful and exhilarating. A mature and gifted writer answers the question most of us don’t dare to ask: Did I live the right life?”

No This But This is a work rising up from the way life tends to coalesce and integrate with age and longevity. I wrote it from my soul’s depth, and the only part that does not come from there is the the story itself. What an odd experience writing this novel has been. Each character is, as it were, my soul in a different form, with a different history, following a different path, experiencing different challenges and conflicts, and resolving them in ways different from ways I have chosen. 

At first, I didn’t know how to classify the book. In a way, it is a memoir, except that these scenes never happened to me personally. By the same token, while writing I was remembering something internal,  so intimate that I’m still shaken by having enclosed it in words that describe a fictional scene. 

Like a shaman’s journey, the writing of this book seemed to dismember me and cast the scraps of my own life to the wind.

I’m hoping this: that the completed novel carries in its characters and their story the intensity and intimacy about life’s choices that I felt while I was writing. 

To buy NO THIS BUT THIS

  

No This But This: New Novel Just Released

                                                                                                       


My attempts to let this novel go into the world haven’t been easy. It has been finished for a few months, just resting next to my computer, waiting for me to DO something. I don’t know: blow trumpets or do a few rolls on the snare drum. But there it sat. Too intimate, maybe. But this is not a memoir. The main character and I are not the same person, though I do recognize so much about her responses to life, Her life, a quite different life from mine. Her name is Ella, and she and I are the same age–in the final years of a lifetime. She lives pretty much where I do, but not in the same house. As the story opens, Ella’s life is in fragments. She has lost so much and been unable to make sense of her experiences. I may have been influenced by a review by Sandra Scofield of a friend’s memoir: “[This] memoir is breathtakingly passionate, painful and exhilarating. A mature and gifted writer answers the question most of us don’t dare to ask: Did I live the right life?”

No This But This is a work rising up from the way life tends to coalesce and integrate with age and longevity. I wrote it from my soul’s depth, and the only part that does not come from there is the the story itself. What an odd experience writing this novel has been. Each character is, as it were, my soul in a different form, with a different history, following a different path, experiencing different challenges and conflicts, and resolving them in ways different from ways I have chosen. 

At first, I didn’t know how to classify the book. In a way, it is a memoir, except that these scenes never happened to me personally. By the same token, while writing I was remembering something internal,  so intimate that I’m still shaken by having enclosed it in words that describe a fictional scene. 

Like a shaman’s journey, the writing of this book seemed to dismember me and cast the scraps of my own life to the wind.

I’m hoping this: that the completed novel carries in its characters and their story the intensity and intimacy about life’s choices that I felt while I was writing. 

To buy NO THIS BUT THIS

  

The sound heard around the world….

It’s a new day. I think the outpouring of love and celebration and relief in the United States is incredibly heartwarming and hopeful but what I find even more telling and truly optimistic, is the outpouring of pure joy from the WORLD. Global citizens and leaders alike are celebrating a change for good. A change for uniting people, bringing back decency, dignity and the truth. It’s not my intent to use this space as a political platform because truly, I’m an artist at heart, not an activist but this situation was different. Democracy was at stake.

And…a WOMAN as VP!!! No matter what side you’re on, that is a massive cause for pride and celebration. It’s a new day. Champagne is popping because we’re exhausted and now we’re relieved.

Consider this a hug and high five and my deepest wish that, as Joe Biden said last night in his speech, it’s time to SPREAD THE FAITH.

(And if you want to send a “Cheers” in the mail, available here and here.)

California Watercolor Association’s 51st National Exhibition

Painting Selected For Exhibition. Greetings!  I am thrilled to say that my watercolor painting “Three Minute Egg #14 – Blue Espresso Cup” was juried into the California Watercolor Association’s (CWA) 51st National Exhibition. The Juror of Selection was Mr. Frank Webb.  There were 650 entries and the Juror selected 97 paintings for the show. Congrats! …

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The post California Watercolor Association’s 51st National Exhibition appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

“Moon Goddess” – Halloween & Pollinator Bat

Halloween and Bats Go Together. Greetings!  It is late October and that must mean it is “Moon Goddess” time.   Why October?  Well, bats are a traditional theme for Halloween and she is a bat.  Or rather, a colored pencil drawing inspired by the long nosed and long tongue bats of North America.  They are …

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The post “Moon Goddess” – Halloween & Pollinator Bat appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

When the going gets tough…

The tough make stickers.

Like you, I’m in month 4078 of Covid lockdown, pre-election anxiety and a myriad of other lifey events. And yet life goes on. And business goes on. And I’m forgetting how to laugh some days and then the next I’m having a laugh attack over something David Rose said. (God Bless Schitt’s Creek, Pandemic Salvation.)

No trade shows this year, workshops, in person events, nada. Even the ones that were “so far away”…cancelled. But, makers gonna make. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Painting more than ever, experimenting with a variety of fun products (some duds, some winners), and going wherever my creative compass makes me smile.

Introducing, Stickers. My 10 year old self is clapping her hands and picking out her faves. My 50 year old self is clapping her hands and picking out her faves.

Enjoy, hope you like them. They are 2″, vinyl, die-cut, 5 designs (so far) and pretty darn fun. In stock, shipping now. Thanks for looking and as always, a huge thank you for your support here. xoxo

PS. Free shipping!

Not What I Expected

Once upon a pre-pandemic time, I heard a famous writer say that when she looked back at her life, nothing had turned out the way she’d thought—and that was good. She said she could summarize what she’d learned about life with this simple statement: Not What I Expected.

I think that would make a great T-shirt. 

 

This year certainly racked up more than its fair share of unexpected things—good and bad. I was scanning the calendar all the way back to the maskless days when I realized that so many big things I’d anticipated got cancelled, and yet even better things—things I could not have fathomed—happened in their stead.

 

Exhibit A: This spring, I was going to help lead a workshop in Paris and then begin my poetry book tour there afterward—continuing the tour in New York and San Francisco. It was kinda career-pinnacling stuff. And then, a matter of weeks before departure, the world shut down. But guess what? The day the workshop would have started, my now-husband proposed to me. And as grand as Paris is, if I never return to the world’s most romantic city, I feel no lack; I have actual romance now! 

 

Exhibit B: I had been invited to give a poetry reading and teach workshops at a college writing conference in Wyoming this fall. One of those all-expenses-paid gigs poets dream of. The event managed to stay on the books all through the summer, but then…it was finally cancelled. The plan had been to drive out there with my husband, teach, and then take our delayed honeymoon road trip from there. We wouldn’t have had as much time to see the national parks and monuments we hoped to visit, but we were going to make the best of it. When the conference was cancelled, we were able to take the entire time together—time that became so precious and relationship-building, I am quite glad we did not have to give up a minute of it. 

 

Exhibit C: Any moment now, I would have been boarding a plane to Sweden and then on to Latvia for a month-long writing residency. I would have spent all of November writing in a little seaside village. You guessed it: cancelled. But you know what? I’d almost forgotten that was going to happen. My life has taken such a different turn that many of the things I once wanted fiercely now seem like brief apparitions—like glimpsed prisms of light that all but fade by the time you focus on them. 

 

I have no idea what November will bring instead of Latvia. (And I’m not talking about elections or anything else one might expect.) I’m actually glad to have no idea what specific goodness is on its way—I just know that something is. It always is; Goodness & Mercy are always at our heels. Maybe we just have to stop now and then, turn around, and acknowledge them. Something tells me those two are all the more thrilled to come closer with their surprising gifts when we’re grateful for them. Even when they deliver stuff we never ordered. 

 

Speaking of ordering, I’m seriously thinking about making that T-shirt. I haven’t figured out what the back would say, but I might borrow a line from another famous Creator:

 

“And it was good.” 

 

NEEDED: House for Rent

I have a special request from Norm Rossignol, one of the artists who lost everything (except his wife and their dog) to the Almeda fire.

They have decided that they’re not going to rebuild, and are now looking to rent a 2 bedroom, 2 bath house. If you know of an available house rental in the Rogue Valley, please send us an email at [email protected] and we will forward the information to him immediately. You can also contact him directly at [email protected]. Thank you so much!

Here is a look at the art Norm used to make before it all burned up in the fire. He is a wonderful art teacher and plein air paintout facilitator and advocate. This man is more than worthy of the help and a place to live where he can rebuild his life and art career. Let’s see if we can give him a hand, shall we?

Autumn In Lithia Park III: A Walk In The Park

Greetings and Happy Autumn! You see, here on the southwestern Washington coast, the leaves are starting to turn.  And, the breeze is just a bit cooler perhaps.  It feels like Fall. So, while contemplating the change of the seasons, some of my earlier autumn-themed paintings popped in my head. Feeling inspired, I thought I would …

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The post Autumn In Lithia Park III: A Walk In The Park appeared first on Margaret Stermer-Cox.

North West Watercolor Acceptance

Congratulations Eve!

80th ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL OPEN EXHBITION

We are thrilled to inform you that your painting has been accepted into the Northwest Watercolor Society’s 80th Annual International Open Exhibition! Our first ever online International Open Exhibition has been extremely successful with 324 entrants submitting 674 total paintings, from 38 states and 12 countries. Juror Ron Stocke has selected your painting as one of 75 to be featured in this prestigious exhibition. Well done!

Fire and Ice
Fire and Ice
22″ X 30″ Mixed water media on paper
$1200