31 May GROWING PAINS: MEET THE MINDS BEHIND MUSE XXIII & XXIV
I grew up spending my summers in my dad’s hometown of Westfield, New Brunswick. Every summer my three siblings, cousins and I ran through the fields and rocked on the hammock – pretending that we were on a spaceship off to faraway lands and devising absurd stories that we would later recount to our grandmother. After a long day of playing and splashing in the river, we would run into the house, grab a creamsicle from the freezer, and quickly move outside to dry off in the beating sun. This small town is the place where my creativity sparked; summers defined by knitting, collaging, painting, and endless artistic joy. This is where I grew to be an avid reader, passionate storyteller, and eager learner. Maya Angelou, Roxanne Gay, and (pre-transphobic comments) J.K. Rowling are only a few of the women who shaped my love for reading and engaging with perspectives outside of my own personal lived experience. To me, this small town – surrounded by seemingly boundless forests, rivers, and the occasional moose – was my home for creativity.
As I grew up, my days spent knitting, painting, and sewing were replaced with homework, going out, and aimlessly scrolling through social media for hours on end. This youthful joy and innocent love for creative projects faded. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing – I discovered other interests and maintained my bookworm status. I found a passion in student government, Model United Nations, politics – each of which served a purpose in shaping who I am today. But like most people, I outgrew these interests (well, except politics). And it wasn’t until I arrived at Queen’s and spent my entire first year going through the same comfortable motions, signing up for the same clubs and activities I always did that I realized: they weren’t fun anymore. These interests no longer served my purpose. To be blunt, I felt stagnant. I sat with these feelings for a while, shed a couple tears, fully embraced this fifth-life-crisis, if you will. Ok, that’s a bit dramatic but I didn’t know what I liked anymore and that can be a pretty scary feeling. If someone asked me what I like now I have a laundry list of things to say: writing, collaging, and propagating plants, to name a few. Yet, as an 18-year-old freshman, sitting in my tiny dorm room in Victoria Hall, I drew a blank.
Spring of first year came round and I started to think about what clubs and activities I wanted to join for the upcoming year. It was the first week of April, 2019, and I was passing by Stauffer Library to head back to my dorm. A very stylish and chic 20-something-year-old girl approached me and asked if I wanted a free magazine. Free? Yes, please. The girl handed me the magazine, I opened the first page, and read the first article titled, In a Drunk World: A Look Into My Not-So-Sober October. As I walked home, I read the whole article and fell in love with the sheer authenticity and realness of the piece that was written by my soon-to-be Online Editor, Taylor Ball. As I flipped through the pages, a chill went through my spine. I was in awe. The first thought that went through my head, how do people do this? This is insane. The second thought, how can I be part of this? I quickly learned about and fell in love with MUSE Magazine. For the first time in a long time I finally felt like I found something I really liked, like really liked. MUSE is a space where I was given the tools and capacity to feel, create, question, explore. As an Online Contributor and, most recently, Online Editor, I became reacquainted with my unapologetically creative inner child. MUSE became my new home for creativity.
As we move into our twelfth year of operations, I am so excited to serve a community of almost 100 creatives that’s given me so much. Matt, Katherine, Chanel and Thalia – there is nobody else that I would rather have by my side as we embark on this journey. From the Creative Assistants to the Makeup Artists, Online Contributors and more, I love this magazine and the people more than anything. MUSE is a tribute to the innovative, the fashion forward, and the stylistically creative. It is a nod of gratitude to those who break the mold and expose beauty in places we may overlook in our daily student adventure. Our mandate is to expose the creative talent found within Queen’s University. Now, I am so excited for MUSE to continue to push the boundaries even more. To be a leader in the fashion and art industries. To spark often difficult conversations. To create a brave space for all voices to be respected and heard.
To make sure everyone can see a bit of themselves in MUSE. Welcome readers to MUSE 2021-2022.
Megan Fanjoy (she/her), Editor in Chief
“My muse is the energy around me. From laughing with my family until my stomach hurts to scream-crying into my pillow, I am constantly taking note of the moments that make me feel that high vibrational energy. To me, immersing myself in nature, hyper-focusing on a creative project, and getting lost in Vogue, Paper, i-D, Hunger, and GayTimes are where I find my vibrations to be the most high. Each of these things serve as a source of light, and gateway to new ideas and authentic inspiration.” – 4th Year, Political Studies, Philosophy, and Economics Major, & Certificate in Business
Matt D’Alessandro (he/him), Business Director
“My muse is the wonderful family and friends that exist in my life and that I have the pleasure to interact with each and every day. Socially interacting with others and watching people smile and accomplish their goals has always been something that inspires me to be a member of teams and work collaboratively in group settings. Social settings fuel my work, allow me to show creativity, and allow me to soar to new heights!” – 4th Year, Applied Economics Major
Katherine Lidtke (she/her), Online Director
“I am inspired by many of my surroundings. I would say that my main muses are literature, my friends and family, and nature. These three things have shaped me into the person I am proud to be today. All of them have given me great strength and resilience while teaching me the importance of compassion and love.” – 4th Year, English Major & Certificate in Media Studies
Chanel Romeo (she/her), Creative Director
“My muse is a combination of the people that surround me. I draw inspiration from the cultures I’ve experienced through travel, the memories my friends and I have, and the lessons my family has taught me. These people have helped me grow as a person and flourish in my creativity.” – 4th Year, Bachelor of Commerce
Thalia Anobile (she/her), Head Editor
“On a personal level, I would say that my family and best friends are my muse. Their discipline, hard work and perseverance not only has allowed me to get to where I am today, but their success in life influences my actions and choices daily. As an aspiring journalist, magazines such as Poosh, Vogue, Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar are my creative and aspirational muse.” – 5th Year, Bachelor of Education
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: Photo taken by Ben Evans-Durand, MUSE Creative Director 2020-2021. Pictured from left to right: Katherine Lidtke, Megan Fanjoy, Matthew D’Alessandro & Chanel Romeo. Not pictured: Thalia Anobile.