I thought readers might like a peek at the real patched pants that I based my outfit on in By the Forces of Gravity (pre-sales start March 7!). I didn’t have any money for clothes, but my step-great-grandmother had taught me to sew when I was about five-years-old (during her sermons on sin, I would stitch lavender satchels for her undergarment drawers), so I kept my one pair of pants alive by blanketing them with patches. I would trade patches for sewing favors, swipe patches off of jackets at stores and people gave them to me because they liked my pants.
I wore these pants for years (tweens and teens). They became my voice and my armor. And so when I was picking out clothes for cartoon-me, I only considered the patched pants. And then had to choose a shirt to go with them, the peace-sign shirt I found in the free-box of my imagination. My old button-up cowboy shirt was just too hard to draw over and over again and didn’t hit the spirit of the times as well as my imaginary peace-sign shirt. The cartoon patched pants change with every panel, which I thought was an okay way to indicate the evolving nature of these pants.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this picture of my patched pants.
my patched pants, front view
from my sketches in By the Forces of Gravity
Today I’m thinking about love
Luna would be turning 57 today
I’m thinking about how true all the things
She taught me have been
How love can’t be contained
That any attempt to hold it in place
Is met by loss
I’m a slow learner when it comes to love
It may be an infinite set of times I’ve tried
To hang onto love
Only to feel it evaporate in my hands
The great thing about infinite sets
Is there are an infinite number of them
So I’m also working on expanding
My set of all the times I got love
By not trying to get it and keep it
So excited to share the beautiful book cover for By the Forces of Gravity, my memoir that will release through Books by Hippocampus on June 19 2018! The memoir is a hybrid form of cartoons and free verse. It includes 200 of my pencil drawings (like the figures on the cover). I’ll keep everyone posted when preorders start up.
By the Forces of Gravity Book Cover
My book, By the Forces of Gravity, is being published through Books by Hippocampus! The signed contract finally made it through snail mail to the press in Lancaster, Pennsylvania (where I’ll be in September to talk about drawing out words at HippoCamp 2017, a creative nonfiction writers conference).
From the Books by Hippocampus press release:
“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.”
Link to the full press release on the Hippocampus website
I drew cartoon-me right after I signed the contract. Still not sure why I fixated on my imaginary outfit when all I was thinking was: “I just signed a book contract!” On the right is serious-author-me at the Desert Botanical Gardens, taken by my friend Charissa.
book contract day
photograph by Charissa Lucille
It’s been such a long journey to get to this point and I’m grateful to everyone who encouraged me and gave me input as the book evolved. I’ll post pre-order and release info as soon as it’s set.
My essay, The Geography of Motherhood, just posted on Hip Mama. It’s my response to hearing Mother of All Bombs bandied about in the news, as though bombs and motherhood had anything in common.
So, happiness no longer interests me as a goal
It’s a distraction from life itself
Instead I’m committed to navigating through all the mucky muck
And focusing on moments of joy
Some things really piss me off
Such as: Lolita being selected by other authors as the best book of the 20th century. A book that turned adult male sexual predation of teenaged girls into literature. As a woman who as a young girl was sexually preyed on by men, this makes my skin crawl.
This same group seemed only able to recognize Virginia Woolf and Jane Austen as great female authors in the entire history of literature. Ridiculous.
Here are some links to venues that acknowledge women exist as more than muses and objects of desire and that millions of women write:
Wasted Ink Zine Distro
There are hoards more, but just listing these gave me a moment of joy 🙂
Here are two ways I’ve responded to the recent presidential election. The first one was also posted on Hip Mama, November 15, 2016. I just tweeted the other one today.
I Stand Against the Wall, Hip Mama, November 15, 2016.
So, as I anxiously await submissions for the next issue of GRAPH(feeties) [extended deadline July 17, 2016], here’s a one-page take-away I made in April for a writing workshop. I did a session on using drawing to help yank words onto the page, for those times when they aren’t spilling out on their own accord. It features my first attempt at creating a superhero, The Penciller, not to be confused with The Inker, because one has an eraser on her ass (yes, my pencils are gendered female) while I imagine The Inker to be opaque and permanent in her actions (which seems almost villainous).
Have no Fear! The Penciller is Here!
It’s getting close to June 15, the deadline for issue 2 of GRAPH(feeties) [hint, hint SUBMIT!]
Since launching issue 1, I’ve tabled at an underground publishers convention, designed a logo/stamp/stickers and bookmark, met lots of awesome zinesters, had GRAPH(feeties) distributed through Wasted Ink Zine Distro (wonderful shop/zine community in Tempe), and become the enthusiastic owner/refurbisher of a hundred-year-old Multigraph printing press that I hope to soon use for letterpress zine covers. Making a zine is a fantastically freeing experience. I recommend zine-making to anyone with access to paper and a pencil/pen/typewriter. Here are a few pictures from my zine-making adventures.
The Sticker/Stamp/Logo I designed. I gave away stickers and bookmarks at the underground publishers convention. The stamp is being made. I plan to stamp envelopes and letterhead (until I get my multigraph up and running)
Issue 1, stickers and bookmarks
GRAPH(feeties) goes on tour with Wasted Ink Zine Distro to the LA and Gilman Zine Fests
A visual summary of the zine-making life 🙂
Reading Zines at Wasted Ink Zine Distro
My Multigraph’s first word (made by me. It’s about 100 years old, so it’s made a lot of words in its lifetime)
A page I did for a community zine. All the pages were made in one night at Wasted Ink Zine Distro.
My Multigraph and its typeface. Totally cool machine! If anyone knows where I can procure an inking roller, let me know 🙂
These past few years I’ve been working on a project that is now a completed manuscript of cartoon/verse memoir about my friendship with Luna. It’s her birthday today. She would’ve turned 55 had someone not taken her life when she was fifteen. That her life was taken is not an entirely true statement, since she was a unique and amazing individual who transcended ordinary life—that contained line segment of time with endpoints at birth and death. She existed within a continuum of the collective cosmos, at once ancient and newborn. She was impossible not to love. My heart goes out today to all those who were fortunate to know her. I’ve tried in drawings and words to capture what a wonder it was to know her. Here’s just a glimpse from how it was for me.
This is one spread from the manuscript, which in total is 200 dyads of cartoons and verse, to follow our friendship from the day we met to beyond her death. We were 12 years old in this moment. I’m narrating and she’s still going by Lina.