Holly Bella Toschi's picture
Holly Bella Toschi from San Francisco is reading "Dance Dance Dance" June 28, 2015 - 8:06am

Fellow LitReactor members:

Below is the obituary of our dear friend and writer extraordinaire, Ryan Shawn Mooney (a.k.a. R.Moon.) 


Age 36, of North Fayette Twp., Imperial, PA, lost his battle to addiction when he was found on Sunday, June 14, 2015. Loving and adored son of Frank and Beverly (Beamer) Mooney; nephew of Mary Jane and Glenn Ramer; cousin of Scott Ramer and the late Matthew Ramer and his daughter, Jessenia Ramer; maternal grandson of the late Ronald and Ruby Beamer; paternal grandson of the late Francis and Nell Mooney. Ryan was a 1996 graduate of West Allegheny High School, a published author where his writing was published in the Pantheon Magazine in the April 2013 edition. He recently attended classes at C.C.A.C. A Memorial gathering will take place on Monday, June 29, 2015, between the hours of 2-8p.m. at the HERRICK COMPASSIONATE FUNERAL SERVICE, PC, Edward M. Herrick, Supervisor/Owner, 951 Cliff Mine Rd., N. Fayette Twp., Imperial, PA 15126, (724-695-7332), where a funeral service will take place Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at 11:15 a.m. It is respectfully requested memorial donations be sent to a charity of one's choice.

Send condolences [via] www.post-gazette.com/gb


Since Ryan possessed such an enormous writing talent, and his stories always reflected his unabashed personality and were written with unflinching honesty about his battle with addiction, below is an excerpt from his work-in-progress, "Malady of the Mind," that I believe succinctly embodies Ryan's gritty yet fragile prose, which unequivocally represented who he was:


"Listen," she says, and the word comes out hard and fast like a punch. She steps into the doorway. "I just do. Leave it at that."


She throws her hands up, defeated, then covers her face and leans forward. From behind her fingers she says, "Just leave it be. This isn't the best time."

"Please," I say, nearly pleading. All I want is for her to say she needs me. Just once more so I know it's real. There has to be something good that's real.

When Rachel removes her hands her eyes are red and glassy and whatever this secret is must be painful but I still need to know.

She says, "It's complicated. I can't explain it right now." She moves to the bed and sits. I sit on the floor in front of her.

"Try me."

Outside, sitting on a tree branch, is the robin and it's watching me and I believe from there it understands my pain and we stare at each other until it flies away and I hear Rachel saying, "I can't. Please don't push me. It's not the right time."

I decide to transfer the weight of this onto the robin--a mental trick I learned at a rehab--and when the bird returns I'll ask Rachel about it again..."

Ryan, if you're reading this from Heaven, I hope you found that Robin...


Anna Gutmann's picture
Anna Gutmann from Ohio is reading American Gods June 28, 2015 - 8:35am

This was so hard to read, and I know it must have been even harder to write. Thank you, Holly, for passing the obituary on and giving us an excerpt to honor Ryan's life. I will never forget him or his impact on my writing.

Strange Photon's picture
Strange Photon from Fort Wayne, IN is reading Laurie Anderson lyrics June 28, 2015 - 1:59pm

Holly, thanks for posting that here. I've been too unwilling to hassle Bev about the details to send her a text, so I'm glad you passed it all on this way.

Ryan and I were due to post our stories for a Thunderdome battle the day I heard he was missing. The week leading up to that day, we'd talked elsewhere about how jazzed we were with the prompt because it spoke to us on similar levels, and eerily fit stories or ideas both of us had long before ever seeing the image. He told me he had swiftly churned out over two and a half thousand words, and I was so excited to read his story as well as hear his input on mine. We always loved critiquing each others' stories. We shared SO MANY similarities in our lives, but where I had let my experience of our shared issues turn me cynical and mean, he seemed to have only grown more friendly and supportive of others from his. I don't typically give a damn about virtual people (as I like to call those online identities whose owners I have never and will never meet), but Ryan will forever be one of the RARE exceptions.

I won't write another short story as long as I live without thinking of him once or twice in the process. And I will always wonder about that story he was so eager to share.

Matter and energy cannot be created, nor destroyed. While his body is in PA, Ryan's energy is back in the universal pool from which all energy ebbs and flows. Since the internet itself is an ebbing and flowing of electrons (energy) over the word's hardware (matter), there is some aspect of who he was/is/will be interacting with some aspect of our participation online. THAT is how I plan to keep in contact with Ryan. The internet is the ultimate medium that way. It linked all of us in the first place, and its Output-to-Input cycle of electrons pretty much links everyone indefinitely. I think I'm as cool with that as I can be with any of this life/death madness.

Goodbye, my friend.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated June 29, 2015 - 7:44pm


Joe P's picture
Joe P from Brainerd, MN is reading Wheel of Time June 30, 2015 - 5:05am

RIP Ryan. Thanks for the reads and critiques and for the input here that helped make this website a community. You're missed here and I'm sure even more so at home!

SWolf's picture
SWolf June 30, 2015 - 5:08am

Several of us from his local writing group went to Ryan's wake yesterday, and his father told us he has access to Ryan's laptop. So hopefully we'll get to see some of his unfinished work.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer June 30, 2015 - 2:19pm

I don't know if his family would be interested or not, but is there any chance of the local writers being able to put together some of his finished stuff and self-pubbing it on the family's behalf? Some sort of memorial collection, or something.

It might not sell a ton, but if it was me, I think I would want to know that my writing lived on after me. It could be set up so that his family receives the royalties. 

RIP, Ryan.

Anna Gutmann's picture
Anna Gutmann from Ohio is reading American Gods June 30, 2015 - 4:28pm

@Jack - we (mostly Holly, bless her heart) are actually already working in collaboration with his mother on this possibility. We will update if anything ever does get released!

Robert Yalden's picture
Robert Yalden from Long Island July 1, 2015 - 8:08am

RIP Ryan - thanks for all you did on Litreactor. It helped many of us and your critiques brought people up to the next level.

Amloki's picture
Amloki from Singapore is reading Human Traces by Sebastian Faulks July 22, 2015 - 1:16am

RIP Ryan.

I haven't been on LR for a while, but he had critiqued a few of my stories, and we exchanged emails, years ago now. This is so sudden, and so hard to take in.

.'s picture
. August 11, 2015 - 5:51pm

Ugh, I just seen this. One of my first close friends I had the pleasure of meeting in the workshop and continued beyond. Rest In Peace good sir. :( 

Phil Zona's picture
Phil Zona from New Jersey is reading Thuggin in Miami August 12, 2015 - 1:28pm

I'm just seeing this now - been away from the site for a few months. My condolences go out to everyone who was close with Ryan. I didn't know him well but had a few short conversations with him when I was first starting out here - the first workshop story I read on the site was his. Truly brilliant stuff, and growing up around Pittsburgh I thought it was really cool to see someone pull of a gritty noir in that setting. Ryan made an impact on a lot of my earlier work and was super helpful in critiquing stories I did when I was first starting out. Like I said, I didn't know him well, but he gave me some much-needed words of encouragement back when I was very new to writing and it's incredibly tough to hear that we've lost such a talented colleague. Rest in peace Ryan.

Liam Meilleur's picture
Liam Meilleur from New Orleans is reading The Fall of Kings by Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman August 21, 2015 - 11:12am

I've been away a while. Ryan and I shared a love of noir, and my LBL directory is home to more than a few by/for him.

This just sucks. 

Hannes Hummus Holmquist's picture
Hannes Hummus H... from Sweden is reading your stuff August 27, 2015 - 1:27pm

I'm quite certain the last review Ryan did here on LT was on my two-part submission 'Debauchery for Bliss' 
I haven't mentioned it earlier because except for it being extremely helpful there was nothing in it that implied where he might be or about his troubles, if I didn't say anything before it was because I felt like it would be self-promotion on behalf of this tragedy.

However it has guilted me not to mention it, I didn't know him, maybe those of you who do might read his words to me differently.
I just wanted to come forward and mention this and not keep the man's words to myself if there are those of you out there who is still trying to make sense out of this any way you can

Rest in peace Ryan