New Year, New Muse


Sophomore Savannah Richard reads an original piece at the CiderHouse.

Alison Jackson, Senior Staff Writer

Kicking off the year with a brand new website among newly-instituted community events, The Muse, MacDuffie’s literary magazine, is reinventing itself this year in order to broaden its outreach in the MacDuffie community.

The Muse is currently headed by junior Sophie Sharp, Editor-in-Chief, junior Craig Judicki, Managing Editor,  junior Aurora Basnet, Marketing Editor, and English teacher Meaghan Quinn, Faculty Advisor, who have “decided to mold the magazine into a new form,” according to a statement on the publication’s website. With the departure of prior senior editors Sam Hackett and Alana Ford, the newest trio of editors for The Muse are interested in branching out from the magazine’s print roots.

In fact, these norms have already been redefined with the mere selection of a new editorial staff, a choice that Quinn deems historic for The Muse. “They are younger this year, than ever before… to be the Editor-in-Chief and… just general editors. So that’s something that was a risk, but it’s paid off,” Quinn says, adding, “it’s an incredible team of students, so, I’m really happy and impressed by them.”

In past years, The Muse had solely concentrated on producing a 40 to 60-page print edition in the spring, consisting of creative writing pieces and artwork curated by members of the MacDuffie community. However, this year’s editorial team is looking to expand upon this print edition in several different ways.

Perhaps the greatest difference between the literary magazine’s appearance this year versus that of the last is the recently-created website for the club, produced to “help community outreach and get people more involved with The Muse,” as Judicki explained.

As Marketing Editor, Basnet focuses specifically on the publicity aspect of The Muse, including the website and social media sites dedicated to the group. On describing The Muse’s motivations for creating their website, Basnet explained, “I thought that The Muse wasn’t recognized enough in our school; I think The Magnet and Muse are really confused really frequently.”

According to Basnet, the The Muse is actively working to boost their publicity, and she mentions, “we’re doing that through The Muse; through monthly themes, and an alumni section in order for us to really expand that and make ourselves a hallmark of MacDuffie.”

Quinn is most interested in the section of the website that is dedicated to creative writing pieces of MacDuffie alumni, referred to as The Unicorn-er. According to Quinn, the name is “a little bit of a pun on the old mascot, which was the unicorn, and it was the name of the literary magazine in previous years, The Unicorn.” Quinn describes this name as “kind of an homage to the old MacDuffie.”

The Muse has further expanded its outreach through the implementation of several new traditions, the most recent being a Cider House—a coffeehouse-style creative writing event for the MacDuffie community (with apple cider refreshments, of course). Judicki described the event as “just kind of a nice event for the community where people can come together and read their poetry and share what they’ve written.”

The Cider House was primarily organized in order to shed more light on The Muse’s presence, similar to the purpose of the new website, as Basnet says that the club decided to hold the event “to get people’s voices heard and excited about what The Muse has to come.”

In addition to spreading the word about the publication, the Cider House also served as a positive experience for many members of the community, allowing them to showcase their art in a judgement-free environment. Basnet stated, “I’ve never read a piece before, I’m not very good at public speaking; I thought this was a nice, small community in which I could do so, so that’s why I did.”

Junior and first-year Muse member Yun Hallowell had a very similar experience to Basnet at the Cider House, revealing, “I’d also never really read my work like to an audience other than my friends, so I thought that would be good for me.”

Junior Cindy Nguyen, another member of The Muse and reader at the Cider House, was inspired by other presenters to read her piece. “It’s just seeing people going up to read their pieces, and I feel like, ‘Oh, I should share something too;’ it was that kind of feeling,” Nguyen describes.

The Muse’s first Cider House appeared to be quite a success, as Basnet, Hallowell, and Nguyen all said that they would “definitely” participate in future open-mic creative writing events organized by the group. Hallowell even adds that for future events, she’d “help organize them, too.”

Muse members prepare for the Cider House on Friday, October 13th.