storyrainthejournal: (Default)

I will now share, and annotate, the lyrics of a (popular) song I have been liking lately. Yes, it is Gang of Youths, and popular. Avert your eyes is ye are offended.

"Let Me Down Easy"

You want someone to want you for who you are
I want someone to try, then let me down easy, easy tonight
Easy, easy tonight

Honey, it's no secret that with matters of the heart
Unreserved, I'm irrational and rarely ever start*
But since the world's dark and often inhumane
Relish our condition, come drinking in the rain**
'Cause you remember when, after Paris
We all decided the best way to fight it was
Drink wine, dance here and pray
And make love*** that lasts with a vengeance
So you can join the cowards all aboard the outrage train
You can stay afraid, or slit the throat of fear and be brave
And scratch the little itch 'til you're moving like a motherfucker
Up in this bitch

(*well, yeah, I do rarely ever start
** these two lines really speak to me
***in my own personal understanding of the world, there are many ways to make love, and only a couple of them involve sex)

You wanted to fight for a cause
Then go out and fall in love
Don't stop, don't stop believing
In truth and grace in the grievance****
You want someone to want you for who you are*****
I want someone to try, or let me down easy, easy tonight
Easy, easy tonight

(****yeah, don't
*****well, yeah, most of us do, guy)

So look at me and tell me what I already know
That I trialed and I failed and it's good to let it go+
Sometimes life sucks, everything is lame++
Not everything's as easy as making lemonade^
And so dismembering our state of balance
With lust requited, a gaze undivided
With a cool mind and warmth in your face
A good heart, a grace under pressure
You give me a good reason to be heartsick again
To be here, to be strong, to be oddly and boldly estranged
From the loss and bitter years
I found myself descending into tedium and fear

(+this, too speaks to me
++I do not support this ableist use of the word lame, I reject it
^ I like lemonade)

You wanted to fight for a cause
Then go out and fall in love
Don't stop, don't stop believing
In truth and grace in the grievance
You want someone to want you for who you are
I want someone to try, or let me down easy, easy tonight
Easy, easy tonight

If it's late, you're drunk and wanting
A reason, some reason to live
I always, I always say
Just put on some Whitesnake+++

(+++ )

Honey, it's no secret that I've been losing my way
In the weirdest of moments and the stupidest of ways
But hey, I'm still young++++ and it's gonna be okay
I got solipsism, baby, and I brought lemonade
I'll surrender then, all my balance
And be excited and drink to tonight
It's not a, a bad time, time spent with you+++++
There's cool lights and songs with good lyrics
We never have to talk again, whatever, up to you
But since you're putting up with me
Here's another toast just to you
Let's dance, off the beat
Then mosey out together and say goodbye on the street

(++++ I am not particularly young
+++++ true)

You wanted to fight for a cause
Then go out and love someone
Don't stop, don't stop believing
In truth and personal freedom
I want someone to want me for who I am
I want someone to try, or let me down easy, easy tonight
Easy, easy tonight

*+* Wikipedia says this song is baroque pop
+*+ Yhe band is Australian
Here's a lovely young human using the song in a project:

storyrainthejournal: (in dreams)

In the dreaming… wandering large, sprawling old university grounds, come across research display of work done with animals, melding them to robot AIs and other things. Horrific. But as I turn to flee, unable to stand it, catch the gaze of dog who’s been made half-robot thing and go to comfort him instead. As I stroke the space between his eyes, feeling his pain and fear, we start to breathe together; a cat and another dog come and lean against him with me, all of us breathing together, as, gradually, his pain and fear lessen into comfort, in and from the breath.

storyrainthejournal: (eek)

When I was a kid and a teenager, and periodically on into adulthood, I had debilitating anxiety. I described it as feeling like I was walking on an unreliable dock over deep, dark, oily liquid nothingness, catastrophic black waters, with the sense that things really weren’t all right or okay, under the surface—and the surface was not solid.

Learning to meditate at 11, and eventually, as an adult, taking anti-anxiety & depression medication, gave me a sense of solid footing, in myself, in my breath, in love and connection.

Now I find myself thinking that the description of the anxiety I experienced as a kid sounds a lot like a premonition of the future we humans were making, and that of the animals who are cursed with our presence on this planet.

The good stuff is still real, but we really do have dangerous abyss at our feet, and the surface we tread day by day is not as solid as we think; and that abyss is formed, in part, of oil and greed and the darkness of a refusal to see.

storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
I will be at Can*Con in Ottawa this coming weekend! I am excite. These are my scheduled activities:

Saturday October 13
Reading, Salon B, 3-3:25 – I'll read from the in-progress sequel to Substrate Phantoms, and a bonus as yet unpublished weird fable about an ice bear in a haunted forest. Followed by the incomparable Kelly Robson's reading!

Sunday October 14
Panel, Penthouse A, 1-1:50 - Beyond Romantic Entanglements– Every great story needs at least a romantic subplot, right? Novels, films, TV shows and even video games or plays often include character romance somewhere. Why does this seem to be so essential in our stories (spoiler: it doesn’t)? How can alternatives to a romantic relationship accomplish the same outcomes, and what works have done this? KT Bryski, James Alan Gardner, Jessica Reisman, Kelly Robson (Moderator)

I will otherwise be around and about and probably smiling my goofy big smile, because I will be happy to be there seeing my Alyx & Kelly & others.

storyrainthejournal: (Default)

Where and when I'll be at this years ArmadilloCon:

Friday, August 3, I teach in the
Writers' Workshop.

Saturday, August 4
Post-Apocalypse & Post-Post-Apocalypse
Ballroom E
Our panelists discuss their own stories about life after a (fictional) meltdown, and also their favorite versions from other writers. What were real-life inspirations? Where did fiction turn out to be close to reality? Which stories tackle post-post-apocalypse (rebuilding, etc.)?

Multiculturalism in SFF
Conference Center

Race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic class have been central concerns of SF since the beginning. Our panelists will discuss places where we see, or want to see, science fiction and fantasy studying these intersections to explore and expand the worlds of stories we write and read.

Sunday, August 5
Writing Nonhuman Characters
Ballroom E

Our panel will discuss writing nonhuman characters -- what works well, and where the pitfalls lie.

Reading - Jessica Reisman
Southpark B, 1:30pm - 2pm


Jul. 24th, 2018 04:44 pm
storyrainthejournal: (windy)

Daily anxiety attack

Endless pleas for money

To fix what’s been broken

The busted egg of our reality, opened to darkness

Fascism, not just a word

But a series of ever more horrible policies

Allowing for the abuse and murder of so


We will go on

Each of us

Until we don’t

That’s a fact

But for the many

The time alive made harrowing by

The few

It’s unforgivable, horrifying, wrong, wrong, all wrong

So much pain

I flee to the sweet respite of story, escape, as I know distant relatives did

In Germany, Russia, the Ukraine, those Jewish relations who did not escape

In reality

Broken, broken reality

It hurts, I cry, I go on

The darkness was always there for some, I know

But there are times when the floodgates open

And we are deluged
storyrainthejournal: (Default)

"A Salt Moon" explores the very beginnings of the Thorough Order of Physic Arts, which appears in my novels Substrate Phantoms and The Z Radiant.

The Terra Nullius anthology is available as the actual book, pictured with cat for scale, or as an ebook:


storyrainthejournal: (Default)


Houston Comicpalooza has a lot going on (I get mesmerized in the artists’ alley). Among its many splendors there is a Literary Track that taps a whole bunch of authors and screenwriters. I will be contributing my own particular feelings and opinions (oh yes, I have opinions) on horror in the Horror for the 21st Century: Film and Literature panel (Saturday May 26, 2018, 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm), with other panelists including the stellar Joe Landsdale, K.J. Russell, Lisa Vasquez, and Channing Whitaker, with Gerald Hanks serving as moderator. 


As the panel description puts it: 

Once upon a time, all you needed was an isolated setting, a serial killer and a handful of teenagers with questionable survival instincts. Fortunately, the realm of horror is expanding in tandem with our increasingly modern world and benefiting from bold new voices in the genre. Let’s talk about some of the freshest and most frightening stories out there and what’s coming up next. Bring your favorites!


There are some amazing things going on in horror these days (Get Out instantly comes to mind), so it should be a pretty lively discussion.


I will also be available in Saturday’s Read and Critique session as a feedback springboard for aspiring authors:

Are you an aspiring author? Do you want professional and peer critique of your work? Bring your pages and join us for these daily interactive small-group critique sessions. You’ll have a set time limit to read aloud and receive feedback. NOTE: Workshops have a limited-seating capacity. Sign-up to participate. 

Literary Read & Critique Session | Saturday, May 26 | 3:15 pm - 4:15 pm

I’m pretty good at the feedback, having almost 30 years of workshopping under my belt. (I will also once again be one of the instructors at the ArmadilloCon Writers’ Workshop in early August.) 


storyrainthejournal: (what?)
Recently I've begun having episodes of lucid dreaming, which I haven't had since I was a kid, when my dreamlife was active, deep, full color recurring adventure dreams and I always knew I was dreaming, and had control over what I did and how I reacted. 
The recent lucid dreaming came with the appearance of my much-beloved cat Aristotle in my dreams. He died last May and it wasn't until late November that he began to appear in my dreams. Now, when he does, I know I'm dreaming--possibly because I'm so conscious of the fact that he's no longer with me physically in the waking world? I don't know. But I immediately know I'm dreaming and I'm so glad to see him, and I know and can feel how glad he is to see me, and there is mutual love and snuggle and I'm thankful, while knowing it's a dream. Really my sweet kitty's spirit? Just my brain being awesome? Doesn't matter. It's lovely and swell.
storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)

If you think of literature and film as an ecosystem, a forest (as I do), you need biodiversity. You need a wide, deep range of life in the biome. This is why I so dislike best-of lists, I think. Especially those that claim, ‘This is it, these are THE best books of the year.’ Maybe it’s understood that this only really means ‘These are my/our favorites of what I/we actually read during the year’—but I don’t think it is.

What happens if you only support the biggest, best-fertilized (read: invested in by the publishing industry and taken up by reviewers) ‘star’ trees? You make the forest sick. I get that ‘my favorite’ or ‘the books that were best in my mind’ doesn’t have the attention-grabbing power of ‘This is it, look no further, these are the best, the crème de la crème.’ But, ugh. I find that sort of headline actively aversive. I’ve never liked it. I’m glad those lists are getting more diverse—ecstatic, really—but I wish we weren’t a culture that promulgated them at all.

Such lists are useful for tools, appliances, items with measurable objective performance and functions. That rubric shouldn’t be applied to art. So, dear media outlets and reviewers, say our or my favorites, please? It’s a small thing, on the surface, but I think it goes deep into the roots and ultimate health of our ecosystem.

storyrainthejournal: (bookship)
I have two works eligible for awards this year. Go read and enjoy.

Substrate Phantoms, a novel, from Resurrection House on its Arche imprint.
     "A deep dive into prose-poetry sci-fi and a mind-stretching mystery." - Kirkus Reviews

Available at the SFWA site for members nominating for the Nebula.


"Bourbon, Sugar, Grace," a novelette at "Four and a half FASCINATING Stars. In the SciFi short story 'Bourbon, Sugar, Grace' by talented author Jessica Reisman, she introduces the reader to Fox, a salvager in a mining colony on the mostly-abandoned planet, Sloe."

storyrainthejournal: (snowy)

We should be spending all our time being amazed at the wonders of this planet, loving each other, celebrating, being kind, helping each other out. Instead we have this mess of unkind, selfish, destructoid, mealy mouthed horrorshow monster-clowns stealing all our time, killing us, killing the wonder and beauty of the planet, of nature, raping humans and the wild and leaving us all to reap the (literal climate change) whirlwind.

Everyday we have this amazing life within us, breath and perception and sweetness. That’s where our focus should be. Can it be there while we also resist and work for social justice, work to protect the vulnerable, the threatened, the beauty that is life loved and appreciated, not life raped and murdered?

It has to be, because that’s part of resistance, to continue to love, cherish, celebrate each other and the intricately amazing planet we live on together. To hold light in our hearts and hands and pass it one to another as necessary. To honor the wild, each other, and ourselves.

This has been a solstice manifesto…

picture by me

storyrainthejournal: (Default)
a poem

It seems to me I often start


Reaching for words, for meaning

To embody seed, shoot, branch, bud

Of something stronger than words

Deeper than I can shape

But reaching still

Stretching into shape, curve, rhythm


A helluva a way to write

Translating the thing inside

So whole in itself

Into what makes story

On the page

Alive in others

Clean outlines, by the numbers, have never

Worked for me

I guess inchoate, reaching

Is where I have to be

storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
It's probably not obvious, but when I don't post much of my own content in the ethersphere on the social media, it's often because I'm in a bout of anxiety/depression. (Though sometimes it's more happily because I'm traveling, visiting, or just really engaged in the breathing world.)

There are plenty of situational reasons for anxiety/depression these days, and, indeed, I do feel overwhelmed right now, and tired. But I've also struggled with severe anxiety/depression from childhood. Add the daily drags and challenges of a chronic illness to that, and yeah, I have hard periods. Things that help, meditating, writing every day (challenging with a full-time dayjob and a chronic illness), feeling like my writing is being read and engaged and doing some small good in the world, cats, loved ones, books & movies. But the first two most of all, in terms of even keel. And medication. What a good, good thing it's been for me and my quality of life.

When I can't get on social media without a dozen important, desperate issues hitting me and the anxiety square in the injustice-rage and feels buttons, I'm already off-kilter and then the posts about all the best novels and stories lists I'm not on tweak the 'oh, cod, I'm such a failure,' pedal, and the whole ridiculous vehicle careens into anxiety/depression gulch. I know better than to compare my career to any other writer's. I know better than to rely at all on external validation (though it's always super incredibly appreciated when it comes). But knowing better doesn't always keep you from fucking up.

(I've done lots and lots of therapy, at various points, for many years, so please don't offer advice or counsel here--I'm not looking for it. Just processing a bit, and putting it out there, because maybe other people are having some of the same issues.)

So, reminders for self: You always come through it. It's okay to stick your nose in a book or a tv show for a while and give reality a break--you don't have to feel guilty about it. Hang on, keep doing what you know helps (even if you have to keep retrying for that bloody one regular hour of writing fiction on dayjob days over and over). Love on the animals in your life, don't just mourn and desperately miss the one who's gone. Be kind to yourself. Come back to the fight when you're ready. It doesn't appear to be going anywhere.
storyrainthejournal: (bookgirl)
          November 2-5, World Fantasy 2017, San Antonio, TX:


storyrainthejournal: (Default)

Reality crumbling in our hands

Like some Dickian nightmare

Evidence of infection in the veins of every day

Monsters who are monsters because they

Care only about themselves and

Will only support those who either

Resemble them, fawn to them,

Or provide gratification to them,

Passively, like surfaces mapped with

Scars, the impress of

The monsters' warped psyches

Naming the monsters—white, cis, male, heterosexual—is not

Helpful, because like any monsters, they are distinct from others

Who wear the same labels and are not


Naming doesn’t help, as it does in fairy tales

They go on raining destruction

Undermining bridges

Burning all that nurtures, protects, is beautiful or


I, who as a child daydreamed of being one of

Arthur’s knights, I want to slay them

I guess I’ve always been a little blood thirsty

But only for the blood of the evil

Like a cursed sword, lost

In a very deep lake


storyrainthejournal: (Default)

Blade Runner 2049 has lots of great technology riffs and visuals of a beautifully (unnuanced) dystopian nearish noir future. I love that stuff—gadgets, technology, future landscapes, urbanscapes, interiors. I am a science fiction loving girl.

But the movie has zero other science fictional world building—that is, social world building that admits of any desires or worldviews of any individuals other than heterosexual, normative, white men. Even the replicant protagonist is a het, white, normative guy—who projects his perfect dream woman onto a sex worker to have sex with her. And, ooh, ahh, what a cool scene. /sarcasm. It made me sad, annoyed, and bored as shit, that scene. Because it’s just an externalized realization of the Same. Old. Story.

High heels, naked women objectified all over the place—where are the beautiful, objectified young men, large women, androgynous individuals? Where are the desires of literally everyone else? Where are the women and people of color who aren’t props and furnishing for the world of straight white men? Every single female character in this movie is a prop or foil for white straight males, either the protagonist, or Deckard, or the Jared Leto character. And do I even need to mention the few PoC minor characters? Yeesh.

If that’s how humanity develops, admitting nothing of the diversity of aims and needs, worldviews, strengths, and desires of anyone but the ones western culture has always served—to say nothing of the visions of all the very intelligent people working on green answers to the issues that become Blade Runner’s environmentally bereft future—humanity may as well be killed off right now. When science fiction does little beyond spinning the worst technologies forward while reifying the oldest, most retro, and tired of male, western, heterosexual angst, desires, and projections onto others—literally mapping them onto others in that one scene, and projecting them hugely into the landscape in others—science fiction is lazy and not doing what it needs to do.

You could say that all this objectification of women was in keeping with the noir aspect of Blade Runner, but I’d say there was cherry picking there, too. And I’d also say I want more, I want better. Given everything going on in our world right now, I think we need better from big budget Hollywood movies, which command so much attention and money. Maybe that’s hopeless, but I think we have to ask, and keep asking, for it.

At the very least, for Blade Runner 2049 to have been truly remarkable and worth doing, for my money anyway, the protagonist should have been a gay man, or a woman, or a PoC—or all of those.


storyrainthejournal: (Default)
sometimes it's the only way I can say what's in me...

Standing here

Wondering where exactly

Here is

Thinking of my ancestors

Thinking, should I leave now—leave

This here, where now the nightmare drifts

A deadly gas

Promise of horror

Do I fight on?

And writing—how

In this midst, this here, this now

Write my far flung, deep-set

Stories of others and self, self as others

Adventuring, fighting the dark forces

How do you fight a deadly gas?

Go always masked

Wear clown noses

Bury your face in the cat’s soft fur and breathe

Only the scent of love and warmth?

Hide in the woods

Deep in the water, breathing through reeds

Listen for far off music

Listen, for hope, for love, for strength, hands to hold

An embrace of comfort in the dark—


Weren’t those
Only stories?

storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Here 'tis, my ArmadilloCon 2017 schedule.
Friday I'm teaching in the writers' workshop, an all day affair.

Saturday, 5:30 PM-6:00 PM Reading, Room 102
I'm reading with the most fab E.J. Fischer, two brief readings of outstanding wonderfulness

Saturday, 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Fiction for Empathy, Ballroom F
How do reading and writing fiction help us to understand one another?

*Sunday Noon-1:00 PM, Signing, Dealers' Room

Sunday 1:00 PM-2:00 PM, Dystopias (and utopias) in a dystopian age, Ballroom E
Reading and writing dystopias (and utopias) in a dystopian age

*If you bring me a copy of SUBSTRATE PHANTOMS to sign, I'll give you a full set of my limited edition postcards from space, which I made, me my ownself, good for sending postcards, framing, making notes on, fanning oneself, admiring.

storyrainthejournal: (Default)
So, as I watch my lovely book sink into obscurity, here are some reader reviews of Substrate Phantoms to make myself feel better, since apparently it doesn't merit reviews in the critical key venues, or enough notice or attention to get on any best of lists or summer reads lists in major publications, which, frankly, breaks my heart. *Shakes fist at people ignoring my beautiful book.*

But I am very thankful to those individuals who have read it and said very best-of kinds of things. A sampling:
Oh, yes. Jessica Reisman definitely writes my kind of science fiction. The kind which includes wonder. 

I also particularly enjoy novels about life in a particular place, whether a space station or a starliner. What it is like to live in such a culture....
I also enjoy good worldbuilding. This book is full of not only a richly detailed world but complex well-developed characters who I was sorry to let go. (Sequel, please?) I particularly enjoyed her use of language. This culture has its own slang but there was enough context and enough that reasonably could be extrapolated from today's world that I was able to keep up smoothly.
Substrate Phantoms has it all. A well-told tale and a very satisfying read indeed. I highly recommend Substrate Phantoms to all who enjoy speculative fiction and have not lost their sense of wonder!
- Margaret A. Davis on Amazon

I started out liking this book. By the two-thirds mark, I loved it. At the end, I was sorry it was over.

In this far-future space opera, Reisman spins a tale both intimate and cosmic. Its two settings are vividly realized. One is Termagenti Station, a manufactured world with a deep structure and culture, appropriately exotic yet accessible to the reader--a combination not always easy to pull off in far-future fiction. The other is Ash, the planet below, a world slowly being adapted for human use. Jhinsei is a young man of unknown parentage who, after losing the only family he has known, becomes aware that the station--or is it Jhinsei himself?--is haunted, and by no conventional ghost. Meanwhile, another young man, Mheth, discovers uncomfortable truths about his own powerful, privileged, damaged family. Their fates are intertwined with that of another being--one that is sought after for its power to transform, or to destroy. What might first contact with another intelligent species really be like? What might we do to it--or it to us?

Reisman shines in her use of language. She captures the perceptions and emotions of her characters, and limns the worlds around them, in words both evocative and precise. In this way she sometimes reminded me of my favorite speculative-fiction writer, Jack Vance, especially in her rich but deft descriptions of Ash's beauty and strangeness. (I smiled to see the particularly Vancian word "nugatory" at one apt point.) The events and ideas of this novel are large, but there is power in the author's evoking of their interior repercussions. Highly recommended as an example of character-driven space opera.
- Rebecca Stetoff Amazon & Goodreads


storyrainthejournal: (Default)

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