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deb, into the Dead Sea

by Blaire Grady
edited by Kayla Sosa

In 2022 I opened my publication, Strangers & Karma, to social media and within a week or so, thanks to the algorithms-that-be, deb Ewing popped up on my “You may also like…” feed almost daily. I finally tapped on her profile, then her Amazon link, and it was clear that her wit is the hook. Here’s a taste:

Dinner mallet connoisseur, queen of the dirt-pile, 2 AM oracle, deb stands at a crossroads of her own making: the juxtaposition of beauty and morbidity… With a sense of inner survival, she crafts darkness into hope using words nobody knows without looking them up. deb is endorsed by debs everywhere for not knowing how to stay in her lane and speaking in her outside voice ALL THE TIME. Her favorite things are pie and over-educated dad jokes. debora Ewing embraces the Other – all of it.

Ewing, deb. “About the Author.” Amazon

Another detail that drew me to Ewing’s craft was purely geographical. I learned she’s from Texas, but currently lives in Virginia, and I’m from Virginia but eternally stuck in Texas. I felt compelled to make fast friends with her. I eventually, in fact, befriended her through a shameless shower of compliments, particularly regarding her poetry, and more specifically, Mycelium.

Mycelium is a published collection of poetry deb wrote while surviving the existential crisis of 2020. The book has garnered quite the following and social media acclaim. The poetry has a refined-but-not-defined rhythm. I was most engaged by her heightened sensorial awareness of the natural, ethereal, and biological worlds, layered with dark humor and deep contemplation on microbial romance and the beatnik philosophy.

I’ve read Mycelium many times. It is my favorite poetry collection by a living artist. I looked into deb’s other works (obviously), and to my delight, I discovered debNation – an artist’s playground, a vessel of life’s work. I quickly realized she was bursting at the seams with creativity, in all directions; felt like stumbling into a butterfly sanctuary.

Writer, poet, editor, painter, scratchboard scratcher, music rabble-rouser… all genuinely entertaining.

The OG polymath.

Let’s begin with her visual art.

Deconstructed Crow 1 Fibonacci
deb Ewing, sketch

All works are registered with the US Copyright Office.

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La Princesa en Sol y Dolor, on desktop, is enlarged here to magnify the background. Do you see it, all the little goodies? Click the image to view the entire piece. On mobile, tap the image to enlarge. It’s stunning either way!

It is at this point that I ask readers to focus their attention on deb’s testimonials page, titled Things People Say About Me. The gist is simple – over the years, deb has kept a running list of randomly amusing things people have said to and about her. Here are just a few…

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So, when it came time to travel with my Texas fam to spend time with my Virginia fam, I reached out to deb to meet in person and discuss her work.

We met at her local joint; a super chill pool hall called The Cue Club. We each played our shittiest billiards against each other (and at times, unintentionally for each other) while listening to 90’s grunge and hip-hop and discussing everything under the sun. Except her work. We talked about family, love, relationships, relocation, divorce, and favorite musicians. We shared something called Cue’sion fries, a plate of cut potatoes topped with beef bulgogi and kimchi seasoning.

Just as my share ride pulled up, she yanked my copy of Mycelium and pulled several colored pencils from her purse to draw something meaningful onto a random page of the book.

I learned a lot about deb from 2022 to 2023 including the fact that one of her bucket-list items is to visit the Dead Sea. Tragically, nowadays (in January 2024 and some time to come) tourism is not advised. Maybe someday, deb.

Deb shared this photo that was taken where songwriter and musician, Dan Navarro, was playing live. She cleverly managed to add her name to the chalkboard when no one was looking.

Speaking of music, Ewing loves to pester and collaborate with musicians. Here’s a song she co-wrote with Gates & Goodell, titled Take This Horse. She’s also on soundcloud.

deb Ewing shenanigans: she adds her name in chalk at a bar with headliner Dan Navarro... This is a picture of deb in front of the chalkboard showing that she's headlining with him. But deb and Dan know each other-ish

And don’t finish this article without checking out this masterpiece! deb reads Record by George Keenen, barefoot in a parking lot, and it absolutely slaps.

Short Q&A session deb and I had via text after our visit in the physical realm…

Note that she prefers to avoid rules in punctuation and capitalization and really anything that comes with a set of rules.

Blaire: What projects are dearest to you?

deb: projects dear to me are and

FolkWorks is where I have a blog called Looking for the Crossroads – I focus on cross-discipline artists; in Project RACE, we advocate for the category “multiracial” on official documents and with the US census; Keeping arts in public schools is very important to me as well.

B: In terms of creating, would you consider yourself prolific?

d: oh god. i’ve been told by people close to me that they worried I was manic. I can see some truth to that at times. I used to give myself grief when I wasn’t producing but I don’t anymore. I don’t fear lag time (very much.) my best college professor, poet Robert Haight, once wrote me a letter in which he said he tries to always live a life that leads him back to writing. I’ll never forget that. The other side of it comes from my daughter, who’s 38 now: “MOM. You’re the one who taught me if it isn’t worth doing for the story, it isn’t worth doing.” There’s always a story. You just have to see it.

B: Do you ever get down or lose your temper (most presumably because you’re an artist)?

d: Temper? i’m sure I do. Nothing rankles me more than injustice. I will take the underdog every time. I don’t take betrayal well, but really I tend to extract myself rather than fighting. I can’t think of a greater punishment than being denied my awesomeness 😎😎😎 totally not joking about that.

B: Is anything missing from our convos that you want to say?

d: do whatever you can to encourage children creatively.

deb update! While waiting for Strangers & Karma to launch Anthology I, deb contributed as writer and coeditor to Peter Kidd‘s anthology, titled Entangled, published by Igneus Press in 2023. Here’s an excerpt from its introduction:

We learned that our words have the power to affect another person’s entire life experience, even across cities, states, countries, and continents. No social distance is too wide for our words. No oceans can keep us apart. We are entangled.

(Igneus Press, 2023)

Ps. I bought three copies, and I’m giving two copies here. If you would like one, email me your shipping address (my treat!). First come, first serve 😉

Blaire Grady has hardcore Imposter Syndrome. She’s just happy to present unique content and work with literary and visual artists. A dream come true for her. For inquiries, please email.

Kayla Sosa, managing editor of Strangers & Karma, is also a professional writer & editor. View her biography here. For inquiries or collaboration, please email.