Peer Review by lina13 (Australia)

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Social Anxiety

By: halcyon


I know that I should speak.

The idea begins like a whisper. The mist that curls up around a sunny glade until nothing is left but shadow, and all that can be heard is the ringing of some far off bell. It is the temptation of risk: a moving object gaining speed and momentum as the idea grows. A wish that rushes towards fruition, until it sees the jump it must take to do so.

The words hang on the edges of my lips like a careening vehicle balanced on the edge of a cliff, tottering to-and-fro o’er the sea that roars beneath it. Indecision. Suspense. Moments that stretch into long, heart pounding hours, in which it seems the danger only grows.

There are two options here, and I know both of them. One is leaning forward over the abyss, and letting myself free fall into the insecure belief that something will catch me. It is the thrill of feeling death before safety, and the terrifying attempt to stop myself once I have committed. It is pounding worry and sweaty hands. Long, long minutes.

The other option is to remain quiet. To slowly pull back from the cliff, retreating into whatever lies behind. Feeling the rush of safety return, and the oxygen flood my lungs, is a beautiful letdown. But the “what if” continues, and the desire to jump off the same cliff as those I know. The human longing for someone to cheer as I fall, to catch me in safety and listening replies at the end. After I refuse to jump, I often wish that I did.

In class, I know that I should speak.

In which I am in a creative writing club during lunch, and too anxious to talk to those around me. So I write this piece of prose instead. 

Peer Review

Wow! What an unusual and delightful piece! Firstly, congratulations on tackling the challenging subject of social anxiety!!! I myself have a lengthy experience with social anxiety, and it's only recently that I've been able to recover from it, so I'd like to say that social anxiety is, in no way, something to be ashamed of, or something that can never be improved. You did a wonderful job of expressing the experience of social anxiety here through an unexpected yet effective extended metaphor.

(I'd like to make a disclaimer, and say that this is all my opinion as a reviewer only. As the writer, you have ultimate creative control over your piece, and you get to decide to what extent to listen to my feedback). To make this piece even better, perhaps consider exploring your emotions a little more - the current extended metaphor and description is a great projection onto the external, but some more explicit exploration of the internal could be effective, too.

Reviewer Comments

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece! It was well-written with a unique concept, and I'd encourage you to keep writing!