My cartoon/verse memoir By the Forces of Gravity is now out Books by Hippocampus ! The story spans the time when I dropped out of fifth grade, left home and met a girl who forever changed my perception of the universe.
It’s available through:
Ariel Gore Interviewed me about the book and drawing for Psychology Today: Drawing Out Grief
I was on The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, interviewed by the host, Brendan O’Meara, episode 106. Give it a listen!
What people are saying about By the Forces of Gravity:
“Reading By the Forces of Gravity is a wonderfully unusual experience. By combining poetry, illustration and comics, Rebecca went completely outside of the traditional storytelling format and created a wholly captivating book that takes the reader through the entire spectrum of emotion, from heartbreak to hilarity. But besides the wonderfully anomalous narrative, Rebecca’s real talent lies in her ability to capture exactly what it feels like to be young, confused, and fascinated by the world, and relay that information in a way that feels honest, real, and raw, which is really all I want in a story, because that’s all that really matters.”—Julia Wertz, author of Tenements, Towers & Trash
“By the Force of Gravity is more than just a fun and intriguing story of a friendship between two girls, rather it’s a memoir full of vibrant words and engaging drawings that together shows us what it means to be a human to one another in this world. I never thought that I would call a book my friend, but Fish Ewan’s fresh voice pulled me into her story and now I never want to leave it. She has created an exceptional reading experience.”—Chelsey Clammer, author of Circadian
“By the Forces of Gravity is like nothing you’ve ever read. Rebecca Fish Ewan has invented a wildly unique new genre that will transport you to a wildly unique time and place where love and experimentation reigned, children were intentionally left unparented, and everyone, it seemed, spent their days chasing far-out trips. In this vividly magical and terrifying world, a once-in-a-lifetime friendship blooms between two girls. At turns utopian and tragic, By the Forces of Gravity will forever change the way you think about love, childhood, the meaning of family, and what it means to be fully alive.“ —Ariel Gore, author of We Were Witches
“An unflinching work of tender beauty, By the Forces of Gravity is an intimate memoir to be savored, re-read, and shared with your own ‘soul friends.’” —Lara Lillibridge, author of Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home
“Rebecca Fish Ewan’s By the Forces of Gravity is a visually and emotionally compelling coming-of-age memoir. Her inventive prose and picture narrative recreates the tumultuous counter-culture movement in Berkeley, California, capturing the intricate, psychedelic zeitgeist of the 1970s. Together, the drawings and text weave an intimate story of a young girl finding her soulmate and mentor as they search for cosmic consciousness. This free-verse-comic takes us on an epic trip of alternative lifestyles, sex, drugs, rock-and-roll, loss and ultimately redemption.”—Chip Sullivan, author of Cartooning the Landscape
“Full of the raw honesty and complicated tangles of a young girl navigating the lost and found of adolescence friendship and the journey toward selfhood in 1970s Berkeley—the drawings as necessary and revealing as the doodles in the margins of her lessons.” —Tyler Cohen, author of Primahood: Magenta
“Reminiscent at turns of both Kurt Vonnegut and Judy Blume, this graphic memoir wrestles with the very universal stuff that only the immutable and mutable laws of physics and girl-power can explain. Whether resisting inertia or singularity, Fish Ewan’s imaginative orbit is undeniable. By the Forces of Gravity is a wrenching, delightful freefall—full of wry humor, love, and the sort of wisdom so compacted and understated it could have been forged only in the space-time magic of this author’s own luminous vision.”—Alexis Paige, author of Not a Place on Any Map
“Girlhood friendship is the strongest force in the universe in this stirring memoir of 1970s Berkeley. Adrift in an ocean of drugs, parties, and hands-off parenting, twelve-year-old Becky Fish is in need of a life raft. Enter Luna, a warmhearted girl who thinks everything is “super fine”—including the girl she rechristens Becky Star Fish. Together, the two “soul friends” wend their wild way through peyote-powered trips to the desert, discussions of metaphysics, and more than a few crushes. But the pleasures of their hedonistic adolescence do not come without a cost—one that neither of them is ready to pay. Though it is, as the title page states, primarily about “loving Luna,” Fish’s memoir is also an unflinching portrait of the decay of hippie ideals. Becky might feel enlightened, but the reality is that she lives off popcorn, alcohol, and marijuana and spends much of her time fending off the sexual predations of older men. Luna truly shines against this seamy backdrop, as brightly as the moon she names herself for. The tenderness she prompts in Fish infuses every densely-inked illustration of this story. This is a paean to love—the love Becky and Luna have for each other, the love Luna has for the world, and ultimately, the love that leads one lost, lonely teenage girl to her future.” Publishers Weekly
From Hippocampus: “Rebecca Fish Ewan’s illustrated coming-of-age memoir By the Forces of Gravity is told through drawings and free verse. Set in early-1970s Berkeley, California, Rebecca’s story reflects on a childhood friendship cut short by tragedy. In an era of laissez-faire parenting, Rebecca drops out of elementary school and takes up residence in a kids commune—no parents allowed!—and we follow her, bestie Luna, and their hippie cohorts as they search for love, acceptance, and cosmic truths. Full of adventure and heartache, By the Forces of Gravity promises to pull you in.”
A Land Between (Johns Hopkins University Press) is a work of creative nonfiction that explores the natural and cultural history of the Owens Valley in California. It received a national ASLA award.
From the back jacket: “A Land Between explores the central idea of how people’s preconceptions and perceptions of a place—in this case, Owens Valley—influence their interventions on the land. Rebecca Fish Ewan draws on primary sources, oral histories, and conversations; her gentle and poetic essays, illustrated with historical images and her own photographs of the region, provide a complex, multifaceted perspective on the land, the history, and the people of the Owens Valley.”
I’ve also launched zines under my micro publishing imprint, Plankton Press.
My obsession is mixed-media/hybrid creative nonfiction, but I’ve also written a series of Young Adult novels based on the belief that love is definitely within reach if one can time travel to an alternate reality and steer clear of pie. So… hopeful. These stories are set in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sedona, Arizona, and Phoenix between 1961 and 2050. An excerpt from the third manuscript, working title Hold My Hand, was published in the 25th anniversary issue (Fall/Winter 2013) of IT Post.