To the author of the fiction craft book who wrote this prompt for beginners: “Write a short story from the point of view of a young girl being pursued through a dark park by a crazed man with a knife,” fuck off.

To the same author who followed up with “Now rewrite it from the point of view of the man with a knife,” please continue to fuck off.

You dropped “crazed” from the second description. Aaah, he’s just a guy, you know, who could be having a bad day, you know, he needs our understanding, you know, why don’t we look at this from his point of view?

Comparisons are amphibious, odiferous, odalisque.

Right now I have all the words. But you don’t have to accept that. You can revise at your leisure, as soon as I leave the room. I’ll send in a woman with a knife.

Not fair? Oh, here she is.

Photo by Justine MacDonald showing graffiti art of a woman's eye on an orange and yellow concrete wall.

Orange and Yellow by Justine MacDonald


Listen to Tanis MacDonald read “Crazed.”


About Tanis MacDonald

Tanis MacDonald is the author of six books of poetry and essays, including Out of Line: Daring to Be an Artist Outside the Big City (Wolsak and Wynn 2018). Her fourth book of poetry, Mobile, was longlisted for the Toronto Book Award in 2020. In 2021, Tanis won the Open Season Award (CNF) in The Malahat Review for her personal essay "Mondegreen Girls." Her work has appeared recently in The Goose, The Fiddlehead and Hamilton Arts & Letters, and in the anthologies Far Villages and Best Canadian Poetry 2020. Tanis lives in Waterloo, Ontario.

About Justine MacDonald

Justine MacDonald is a published photographer and writer (her book Remembrance Road: A Canadian Photographer’s Journey Through European Battlefields was published in 2018) and has participated in several group and solo photography exhibits. Find her online at

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