The Re-Enchant January Challenge – Week Three: Consume Magic

January 19, 2021

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
– Oscar Wilde

“Reading is just as creative an activity as writing and most intellectual development depends upon new readings of old texts. I am all for putting new wine in old bottles, especially if the pressure of the new wine makes the bottles explode.”
– Angela Carter

Welcome to week 55 of 2020!

Ok, fine, welcome to week 3 of 2021.

If you feel like a car that ran out of gas several weeks ago and that is running on ghostly fumes, you’re not alone. We’re in the middle of a couple of national collective traumas. It’s exhausting and draining. During our weekly Carterhaugh summit, we talked about how we’re both finding ourselves manically clicking back and forth between internet tabs or staring blankly into space. And we’ve been hearing from a lot of you that you’re in a similar place.

But our Re-Enchant January Challenge is continuing.

It’s important to stake out a little time to be extra kind to yourself and to kindle your magic – your energy, your happiness, your purpose, whatever you want to call it.

Your responses to the first two quests have been fantastic! We’ve absolutely loved seeing the ways that you’ve enchanted your living space and your own bodies. (Check out the threads in our Facebook group to see many of them!)

Are you ready for Week 3?

YES, YOU ARE! And we think you’re going to breathe a sigh of relief when you see it…

Your quest: Consume magic. Carve out some time this week to read, watch, listen to, or even eat something that, to you, is pure magic.   

And then tell us about it. What did you consume? Why does it make you feel that way? Does it relax you? Energize you? Inspire you? What do you love about it?

This might seem like an odd challenge. So much of what we’re about at Carterhaugh is about making, whether it’s how to write a poem or inspiring a new piece of art or forging a connection with a new friend.

But in order to do all of those things, you have to feed yourself. You have to know when to lie fallow, when to rest and recharge if you’re ever going to reignite. You need fuel (those ghost fumes aren’t going to tide you over forever – believe us, we’ve tried.) So consume magic, and make sure it’s something that truly nourishes you, whatever that means to you.

We thought we’d share a bunch of ways that we’ve each chosen to interpret the challenge. You only need to choose 1 way to fulfill the quest, but feel free to join us in a SPREE of magic, if you’d like!

Sara’s Response:

Reading: I’m making a major effort to retrain my brain to read fiction (instead of only the news.) I re-read Emily Tesh’s novella Silver in the Wood (which is our book club read this month on Thursday evening!) and, for the first time, read Kalynn Bayron’s Cinderella Is Dead. The former felt profoundly restorative, the latter felt cathartic.

Watching: Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle, an anime in which Sleeping Beauty is kidnapped by demons and sets about terrorizing her captures because she’s the most monstrous of them all. It’s pretty light, but with a delightful gothic edge, and it encapsulates Brittany’s and my feminist theories about Sleeping Beauty more literally than any other retelling I’ve encountered!

Listening: Several months ago, I made a playlist called “I Am Very Calm.” The title is aspirational (I was moving, and therefore not calm), but it’s full of Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Death Cab for Cute, Poe, Florence, and many more of my favorite artists. And it does make me feel…calmer, if not totally calm!

Eating: It was my husband’s birthday last Friday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JARED!), and my mom brought us cake. It is chocolatey, raspberry-y, fluffy, light, and absolute perfection. (It also happens to be vegan.) I will be selflessly helping Jared eat it until the entire thing has been annihilated. 

Brittany’s Response:

Reading: Like Sara said, fiction is hard right now, but I too am reading Silver in the Wood for book club (rereading, actually, I first read it when it first came out!) and loving its quiet enchantment. I also recently read the poorly named Myths and Fables book of Star Wars fairy tales in preparation for our lecture this past Sunday (you can still catch the recording of that here!) and was pretty thrilled with it (despite the title!) A book of fairy tales (and a few semi-legends?) set in the Star Wars galaxy is something I never knew I really wanted. Lastly, I’m absolutely s a v o r i n g Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House – I should have finished it forever ago, but I’m about 80% done and reading as slow as possible to make it last as long as I can. I love love love it and HIGHLY recommend it!!

Watching: Josh and I have been switching back and forth between The Mandalorian and rewatching House, MD. I’m still not quite swooped up as much as I want to be with Mando and the gang, but I have been assured that it’s only a matter of time! Until then, I *am* hugely enjoying just being in the Star Wars universe. House, MD is just one of those largely episodic, kinda horrifying mystery shows that endlessly fascinate me, like Bones. And yes, Sara will hate this, but I admit that I love and am amused by the jerky, Byronic hero-ness of the main character! 

Listening: I’ve been playing a fun game in the car where I shuffle my WHOLE library to see what comes up, which has been delightful and sometimes hilarious, but honestly I’ve still been listening a lot to the Gothic Fairy Tales playlist I made for that course! It’s just total shadow magic to me, I love it.

Eating: After Christmas, Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark Squares were on sale and I… I may have bought a few. Packages :P. I adore chocolate and mint ANYTHING, and these are just the perfect little bite-size squares of deliciousness. Sadly, Josh has also discovered how delicious they are, and now my stash is dwindling at an alarming rate!! *TEARS*

We can’t wait to see what you’re all ravenously consuming this week! Tell us all about it in the comments below and/or in our Facebook group.

(Not sure what’s going on here? You can go back and read our first challenge post here!)

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