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Non-Fiction 2023

Some written pieces deal with themes around horror and other topics that readers may find challenging.

Mrs by Hanfah Fiaz - Burnley College



And the 21st Century.

The term Mrs is used for a married woman and usually with the surname of a male partner. Mrs should be abolished from the dictionary and so should the tradition of taking a man’s surname after marriage. Now, as many would believe this is culture or tradition or even some sort of religious belief. It does not change the meaning that a man is referred to only as Mr. Regardless of childhood or marital status. They tend to keep their honorific and surname after divorce or adulthood. Which is totally unfair, why should married women change their honorific and not men? If men cannot change it, then women should not have to either.

After centuries of women being oppressed and considered a minority,, this honorific should be disregarded. There is debate that some women prefer to take a man’s name despite all of the context. Some would consider it traditional. And some would take it because they want to be a part of their husband's family. Maybe because some women had lost a father and his name meant void to them, so they turn to the next man in their lives. Despite the personal situation and beliefs they have, this just shows that women apparently need the idea they would depend on a man, the belief they need to fit into his family whilst he may not need to make any such attempt to fit into hers.

And when it comes to the idea of children taking their fathers name.

Not every woman would desire children. And frankly there should be no issue with a child taking their mothers name. This writer is aware that some faiths prefer a father's name to get into heaven.

Feminism or even disagreeing with this cultural notion does not condemn you to oblivion in your faith. To always go against the patriarchy–is the best thing you could do as a woman. For hundreds of years, it has been fathers name, husband's name. Son giving his name to his wife. Repeat.

Before honorifics or changing names after marital status was invented. There was just a name. No Mr or Miss. Not Ms or Mrs. Just a name. Then a conflicting patriarchy was introduced and for many women who have fought incredibly hard in the past, for a multitude of reasons; for equality or royal politics. Such as; Elizabeth I, Razia Sultan and many more, they all had one thing in common. Change. And they did much more within the ranks of a male dominated society.

Still in the modern world; such a society still exists in many parts of the world, if not all of it. All women should consider fighting just as hard as many women before them did. Dishonouring every woman before them is much more perverse. And even the slightest change, starts with a name.

Even the smallest change, the barest degree of resistance, could make the world a better place.


Busy by Anita Mackenzie - Perth College UHI

“How are you?”


That’s the way the conversation goes. Busy has replaced, “fine” as the standard answer. The layers of subtext, rife in the English language, cause us to do a little internal algebra. The thought bubble goes something like this:

“Fine is boring. If I say I’m doing well I’ll look smug. If I say that I’m struggling that will make things awkward. Busy makes me look normal and productive, and is true. I’ll go with that”.

In general the other person will say “me too”, you’ll both do a little sigh and go on your way. Often the whole thing has happened in passing, with neither party breaking step.

The result is that we normalise the state of busyness, even celebrate it. I joke that I don’t like to be bored. But recently I have started to realise this is not as harmless or even neutral as I thought.

I am a lecturer and also a postgraduate student. I write and perform music and poetry. I am a single Mum to two young children. I care for my Dad. I could be more organised, but needs must. It often feels like everything essential gets done, but often metaphorically (or literally) at a minute to midnight. I cut sleep rather than cut tasks. Time to kick back and, as my colleague puts it, sit in the garden and stare at the sprinkler is the thing that gets shelved. How am I? “Busy”.

I hate to admit it, but the work helps me maintain my sense of professional identity – I know who I am, what I do and what I am good at. And that sentence shows why I put pressure on myself to do well enough, to get it all done: because fear, with a side helping of guilt and imposter syndrome, is the other motivating factor.

I was recently introduced to “Rest is Resistance” by Tricia Hersey, ironically for a reading group I could not attend because I was already double booked. In it she maps the connections between a culture of overwork, its negative effects for all and its disproportionate effect on people of colour, linking it to chronic health conditions and premature mortality. She writes powerfully of her own father who fell victim to this culture of what she terms the “deadly grind cycle”, navigating the line between exhaustion and success in part to overcome the barriers caused by racism in his workplace. This following sentence hit home: “there is something that lurks beneath when we are living in a system founded on our labour to prove our worth as human beings”. Ooft. I recommend her writing to you because I am sure that you are affected – we all need to critique the hegemony of busyness. If the system does not value our rest, we must.

I am resolved to carve out rest time. My life depends on it. Yours too. And next time you ask how I am, perhaps I won’t say “busy”.