CONTENT WARNING: This piece contains descriptions of physical violence, emotional distress, mental illness, and fictionalized death. Themes of unreality.

It Gets Me

Prose Writing, Image


This is a (barely) twelve page work of prose. It blends nonfiction narrative with fiction horror, following a winding path of violence in the community, anxiety, and creation as an act of therapy. It was written sort of as my own reminder to those that had been present that night that even if you didn’t get hurt, or weren’t in “the action”, you did experience something awful during those hours… but there are ways past the pain. And you aren’t alone.


Jesse Mae Rayer is a Public Relations student hailing from the glamorous town of South Lyon, Michigan. She is an obsessive writer of fictional horror and questionable comedy, straying towards themes of mental health, family, identity, and the body as a path to both dread and elation.

Jesse Mae is the president and a co-founder of one of MSU’s creative writing clubs, Write Away. She spent most of her high school years cleaning toilets, and is now very pleased to work with H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online as a communications specialist.


Receiving this grant was a wonder towards completing the project. The grant covered about thirty five hours of work for me, which was an incredible load off of my mental back. That was thirty five hours of time I could spend creatively, exercising my mind, instead of having to bend over my work desk and crank out customer support answers.

It, quite literally, gave me the time to complete it. Specifically, guilt-free time. No need to mentally sweat over how I could better spend these hours working towards rent: instead, I could create knowing I’d quite literally earned it.

Creating through COVID taught me the importance of space and time.

Space meaning my environment when writing. It’s hard to create something poetic when you’re two feet away from your bed, especially one you now associate with wheezing your poor, COVID-riddled lungs out. Instead, I learned the importance of finding a physical place to create: someplace Other that inspired, not poisoned.

Time is more literal. I truly won’t get anything done if I don’t purposefully implement a structure for it. I used to just use the half hours between classes to force myself to work– hard to scroll online when you’re working with the WiFi connection of Hell Itself in that strange hallway between Calculus and Physics– but suddenly that wasn’t an option. I had to learn to be intentional with my efforts.

It was also another effort in creation as therapy. God knows we all went through some stuff, and I have no idea what I would have come out of those first years as if I hadn’t had an outlet. Even if it wasn’t with the direct intent to work through it, writing helped. Having a Purpose outside of not getting horrifically ill while I bagged people’s groceries and cleaned toilets helped.

I absolutely believe other CAL students would benefit from financial support like this. Creatives are (to the point of cliche and stereotype) bleeding out of the wallet, and often the stress that comes from having to find a means of life support can overwhelm our ability to create as we want to.