Creative Nonfiction Drama Inspirational

This story contains themes or mentions of sexual violence.

Dear Doc,

I’m writing this like fiction because I don’t want to deal with it, not the real-real. I’m afraid, like I’ll break into pieces that’ll never come back together again. I don’t want to touch it close; it’s like suffocating skin, and fiction kind of helps me hide, helps me lie, like wine, to be honest. I really didn’t see the hallucinations and delusions that I describe in my story! Yes, I’m off the meds that you recommended, but I’m also off the booze I never mentioned.

Today, Carrie, the cool lady who invited me to do the writing group every morning, wrote an email suggested that we all work on an online writing prompt for next week on our own. With no help, maybe. We can work on it and share with the group Friday of next week. It’s from a weekly online writing competition. I know that you suggested that I “get out there,” but…

Breathing shallowed,

Tiny breaths.

Maybe no one sees me

If I don’t reply.

Then another cool lady in the group, Eve, and I were texting back and forth, and then Mark Twain made her send me a piece that hit home in so many layers. I’m limiting myself through my own thoughts. Yes, I know I'm supposed to expand to "out there," but....



Curser blinking,

Maybe they

Won’t see me.

We all do that, not just me, I think. Right, Doc? I’m not sure, maybe it’s just me, limiting beliefs and irrational fears. I had a crying fit after reading the email from her and texting with Eve. I’m crying now, writing this, freaking out. I know it’s my thinking, I think. Maybe with enough therapy I can magically appear whole and intact, like a glued together collage-puzzle-project thing. Decoupage will hide it, yeah. A nice super glossy lit up glare upon the real image, hiding its fragmented fractaled fuckups.

Blinded tears.

Camouflage, please!

No, I’m not drinking,

I’m just sobbing.

The challenge is one of this week’s prompts, not an old one. I could have compared my ideas and thoughts with others, like we always do in our group. It’s safe like that, in my gang, we even have a cool name, and I’m getting off task, off subject, avoiding pain. A group project sounds great, and I suggested it, but Carrie said that I could do it on my own. I'm afraid. Maybe I could suggest it again, the group project, and she'll forget I asked before. We could all go up together in front of the class, in front of the judges, feet shuffling, looking down, hands crossed in front of us to hide from imminent death, like sheep huddled together avoiding solitude.

There’s safety in numbers, see? And, Doc, we should always be safe, right? Doc? It’s not so naked in a group project, not alone, not so humiliating, and I’m not getting perpetuated, groomed, and culled off, away from the herd, like so often before.


No Novocain.

Extra tissue,

Scalpeled scars.

It’s a Mind-fuckery ploy, Doc. I can feel it, not delusional or paranoia whatsoever! I swear! They’re out to get me, Doc, the real-real. To drag me out to my public hanging, rope swaying, roundabout and swinging in the breeze, and the gallows, walk on rough, splintered wooden beam- kerplank. Outside of the shadows of just crafting, I can hear them. They’re sardonically mocking and laughing at my terrors with cold metal pitchforks. They come in droves of inanimate breathing black letters, looking over their specs at me to yell, “SHHHH,” in the library.

Excising old scars,

Naked shame.

The writing prompts go with an online competition that people get judged on and displayed to the public. Yes, Public Publication. 2 P’s. Perpetuation makes 3. I'm not sure about this getting out there, Doc.

Heart racing.

Feet pacing,

Running, racing—

In my mind.

Chari is a cool lady in the group. She’s afraid of writing fiction, having been told not to lie her whole life, and helping people get to their truths for a living. Makes total rational sense. I’m not alone in feeling afraid, though, it’s nice to know. I’m thinking she probably doesn’t have CPTSD from her anxiety.

No confusion,

Distorted thinking,

No delusion.

Likely she doesn’t think herself a complete failure because she didn’t succeed in magically shrinking herself into miniature size so she could hide from her perpetrators as a child. Alice in Wonderland did it, right? The dude from Gulliver’s Travels did it, kind of, by going to different places. It distorted his perception, maybe. Tom Thumb and Thumbelina succeeded. I failed. I stayed my same size. I didn’t pray long enough, hard enough, and never found the magic wand or bottle to rub, and I swear, I looked, and because of that they found me and…. I’m not going to write it, just CPTSD. It’s a lot easier that way, like fiction and wine. I’m just an acronym. I like that much better than this.

It’s hard.

No lidocaine

In my vulnerable


Chari mentioned this morning that I should get my stuff out there for publication. Thank goodness she’s a mental health person, I think. She got it after I explained. I said I’d spend all day shouting out “fuck” and “shit” at a quiet empty library, but the P word totally triggers me, even if a butterfly whispers it in my ear. And they do. No, Doc, I’m not talking about that P word, that one originated from pusillanimous, like the chicken shit that I’m pretending not to be, because it’s safe to hide in fiction but not in public or publication. I talked a little in the group about my working through my PTSD of being seen. I talked about what I’m working on with you, about my phobias of standing out, being public or seen about anything.

I’m just thinking,




Doc, I had a panic attack, for Real, a crying fit over an email. Black little letters on a white, inanimate screen. Well, but ummm… It could have eaten me, really…it could have malfunctioned and electrocuted me. Yeah, even battery-operated stuff like that is electrically potent. Really. Like that rickety, fateful chair with big, leather lurking octopus straps to prevent resistant escapees on death row. I was once guilty of being seen, well, more than once, so I know full well. My phone could do that. It told me, yup, with its little black letters pulsating and breathing its screams on its white inanimate screen. No padded room yet, though, Doc. Just some Kleenex, unless… I mean if lobotomies come back in fashion, let’s talk though. They cut out the bad stuff, right, like plastic surgery so we don’t have to deal with the ugly stuff, right? Right, Doc, and they’ll use Novocain, at least, to block the pain?

What? NO! Oh my God, no! Please help me!

Holy shit, Doc. I just wrote one of the prompts for that contest! Without realizing it, just writing to you, and avoiding my shit as usual, I just wrote the…

Body shaking,



Audible sobbing.

They’re going to kill me, Doc.



July 19, 2022 19:31

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John Hanna
02:32 Jul 28, 2022

Hi Phoenix, I got your story from the critique circle and am glad I did. The story is perfectly executed, with no grammatical errors that I could find. I like your group - it reminds me of mine. A new story every two weeks to belch out and have judged. I listen to feedback that will help me write better but I don't really care - we all right different stuff. Some people join and really sweat it! A lot of crying, eh? Good thing she (was it a she?) is receiving psychiatric help. I assume the killer is imagined and she isn't really in danger (f...


Phoenix Rizing
18:52 Jul 28, 2022

John, thank you so much for your response! I have read some of your pieces, and I value your opinion. I would love to join a critique group to help me grow my craft! Yes, the killer is imagined, well, kind of. It boarders between the dusk and dawn of real and imagined. The killer is that 12,000 year-old hardwired clan brain that keeps most people in the herd. It’s the social-emotional conditioning that triggers us humans into fearing being shunned from the clan if we stand out or displease. That imagined fear initiates the same real chemica...


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Violetta Salabay
19:04 Jul 26, 2022

Dear patient , that fictional piece is amazing , body shaking , heart racing , feat pacing , beautiful , raw, real, deserves to be seen , public , click . send -


Phoenix Rizing
00:26 Jul 28, 2022

Violetta, WOW! Thank you so much for responding with your super original response, which should be added to the story! Collaboration is a great thing!


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Rama Shaar
11:29 Jul 26, 2022

We're not going to kill you! We're going to love this (and you)! This is so good! Well done on taking another step towards facing your brain. Your brain is playing cruel games on you but you turned that pain into a raw and beautiful piece of writing ❤


Phoenix Rizing
00:22 Jul 28, 2022

Rama, thank you so much for your encouragement!


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