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👻 🎃 Happy Belated Halloween! 🎃 👻


I hope you got all your favorite Halloween movies in this year! Did you catch the new Hocus Pocus 2?? I don't think Bette Midler will ever not be able to rock our socks off. Though Halloween has technically passed, I still ride on the Halloween train til at least Thanksgiving; spooky season isn't over until I say it's over. So naturally, of course, we wanted to send a spooky-themed newsletter despite the November chill in the air, because we all could use a bit of leftover magic, couldn't we? 😊


Before we get to our normal Carolina Muse content, I wanted to give a lil update for you all about me: I am now a college English professor! I teach writing & literature classes now📚🤓 And as your resident nerdy Irish mythology & literature scholar, naturally, I can't help myself from giving a tiny lecture about my favorite holiday.


Our western concept of Halloween is actually derived from the ancient Celtic Irish pagan festival of Samhain (Pronounced SOW-en) (Sow like a female pig!). It marked the division of the year from the lighter half (summer) and the darker half (winter). On this eve, the division between this world and the otherworld (Tír na nÓg), was at its most thin, allowing spirits to pass through. Each family's ancestors were honored and invited home, while harmful spirits were warded off by, you guessed it, the original Jack-O-Lanterns. These guys are reaaaaaaally creepy, be warned. They were carved turnips instead of pumpkins! People wore costumes and masks to disguise themselves from the harmful spirits and put the Jack-O-Lanterns in front of their homes for protection. 

ANYWAY, thanks for letting me talk a little bit about my favorite holidays and its history! Back to the topic at hand. In honor of the spookiest, scariest holiday of the year, we wanted to discuss our fears related to creativity, as is only natural for us creative folks. 


There are many things related to creativity that make us shake in our boots. We ask ourselves some pretty brutal questions, things we would never dream of saying to a friend or loved one. One of my favorite lessons on this is from a book I know I've already suggested to you all, Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit! She lists her own fears around being creative, which, upon reading, you find are pretty universal. She says that any time she is working on something new, she can't help but have these questions enter her head:

  1. What if people laugh at me?

  2. What if someone has done it before?

  3. What if I have nothing to say?

  4. What if I upset someone I love?

  5. Once executed, what if the idea isn't as good as it was in my mind?

To answer these questions, she suggests some pretty badass answers she tells herself to fight off those fears like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her epic scythe.

In answer to #1, she says, "Not the people I respect; they haven't yet, and they're not going to start now." The people who matter are the people who are going to value you and your art, so who cares about the ones who don't matter?


To answer #2, she proclaims, "Honey, it's all been done before....Get over yourself." Her incredibly eye roll tone helps us to remember that nothing is really original, and that we might as well go for it! 


#3- Tharp comforts us by stating, "An irrelevant fear. We all have something to say. Plus, you're panicking too soon." It's nice to know she feels this way, too. 


Her response to #4 consoles us in a way that gives us permission: "The best you can do is remind yourself that you're a good person with good intentions." It is okay to express yourself in productive ways even if it is at the risk of hurting others. Remember that you are a good person with a good heart. 


And lastly, a major fear, #5, she says frankly, "Toughen up." This is bound to happen, but that is how we grow as artists. We can improve upon our work for the next time, but we can't let it stop us from trying now. 


One of my favorite quotes that my baseball-loving dad always told me (and also was featured in the iconic 2004 A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff & Chad Michael Murray), is:


"Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game"

                                                                                               —Babe Ruth. 


I know I talk too much about Twyla Tharp's book, but I really couldn't recommend it more for reassuring & inspiring artists of all kinds to practice the habit of being creative. 


So this spooky season, remember to face your fears, one hot vampire at a time. 


And once you face your fears and make some amazing stuff, here's some info on how to submit (or flip through all our issues🤗):

  • Visit our submission guidelines and submit your creative work (poetry, dance, music, visual art, short stories/scripts) for our next issue deadline on December 14th!

  • Check out our latest issue!

  • Take a look at our amazing Team Edition for a special look at some of the art we like to do here at Carolina Muse 😊

  • We have stickers and extra copies of our recent issue, II.IV, for sale:

    • Purchase one sticker for $3, and each additional sticker is just $1! 

    • Purchase a copy of our recent issue for $15 (we have a very limited supply, so get your order in quickly!). This just might be your last opportunity to see Carolina Muse in print...

NC Events

  • Bring your old Halloween pumpkins to the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden near Asheville for their annual PumpkinPOST event on Saturday, November 5th! Attendees can smash their own carved pumpkins to be used as compost in the garden or donate edible ones back to Bounty & Soul. Sip on some complimentary hot chocolate & hot cider while listening to a live acoustic jazz/soul duo from Asheville.

  • Run or support the Spooky Duke annual 5K/10K and Costume March on November 5th in Boone, NC! Proceeds go to the Parent to Parent Family Support Network High Country (FSN-HC), which provides support, education, and caring connections to families who: have children with diverse physical, emotional, intellectual or health needs; have a child born prematurely; or are grieving the death of a child. 

  • Head to Wilmington's Annual Fall Festival hosted by the Children's Museum of Wilmington on Saturday, November 12th for some fun fall activities! Get in on the fun with their "fall themed crafts, activities, photo station, pumpkin slime, and more!" 

SC Events

  • Check out the Everything Outdoor Fest November 4-6th in Simpsonville, SC for your outdoorsy needs! Ranging from "fishing and cycling, off-roading, camping and hiking, come discover and connect with a community sharing your passion."

  • Speaking of Celtic influences, celebrate the traditions of the Scots by attending the Charleston Scottish Games and Highlands Gathering Festival on November 5th! The Games showcases "Scottish traditions, culture, and history in a fun and interactive way for people all over the world."

  • To thine own self be true at Myrtle Beach's Mythical and Medieval Fest Renaissance Faire November 12-13th! This festival raises money for Caleb’s Dragonfly Dreams, a local non-profit in Myrtle Beach that provides positive activities to children that have been abused, abandoned, or neglected and reside in group homes or shelters.



from our team

Romanticism by Fawnly.jpeg
Untitled Collage #2 by Maeve Riley.jpg



Maeve Riley


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