Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Especially With a Muse

My muse arrived at 7:00 a.m. sharp.

The only problem, she was four months late.

I tried to contain my sarcasm.

“Glad to see you made it on time.”

She didn’t even look in my direction. “I just stopped by to pick up something,” she snapped.

“I could use your help with this essay.”

“You don’t get it, do you?”


“I am breaking up with you. We are done, through, finished, finito – no longer an item.”

“I know we were having issues,” I stammered, “but can’t we try to work things out?”

That really made her angry.

“Try? Oh, now there is a word. Trying is something you never tried.”


“A writing relationship takes trying. It takes effort and dedication. It means putting your butt in a chair every morning and working at it.”

She was on a roll.

“It takes…”

“Don’t say it,” I shouted.

“…discipline.” she shrieked and collapsed into a quivering ball of muse misery.

“Oh my dear,” I said, “you still carry a torch for him.”

“How could I not?” she sobbed.

For years, my muse had suffered through a tumultuous relationship with the muse of discipline. They were good for each other at first. He provided the structure and purpose that she lacked – but his goals always came first. It was always about him and what he wanted and when his desires were not met, he became cruel.

The truth is, my mused needed discipline but he never needed her and being in an one way relationship was destroying her.

They broke up two years ago when he stormed off to manage a fitness website.

You can read about that here.

This was about the same time I fell into the clutches of a diet and we both sought solace in the bottomless pail of chocolate chip ice cream that I keep hidden in the garage freezer.

The writing and the waistlines suffered accordingly.

Then by chance, a childhood friend, inspiration stopped by.

We had not seen each other since I embarked on a technical career fifty years ago and I hoped we could renew our acquaintance.

It was meant to be.

He took one look at my muse, and her gaze fell upon him and they came together like a thunderclap. She banished the ice cream to its lair in the garage, and our words flowed with the giddiness of new love.

Ah, the manic madness of infatuation!

Idea sprung up like dandelions in the spring.

Characters rushed into the writing room frantically waving their resumes.

Sunrises and sunsets chased each other across the pages on the heels of angst and heartbreak.



The fall off the inevitable cliff.

There was no structure, no unifying theme, no purpose to our writing. Just words…

My muse rushed back to discipline, but he would not have her.

She rebounded to inspiration.

Then tried to claw her way back into the affections of discipline.

After countless volleys of failed love, here she was again, poised on my couch, eyes flashing anger, face flushed with rage.

“Just a little help with this essay,” I pleaded.

NO!” The word banged like a slammed door. “I said I just came by to pick up something.”

“Like what?”

She softened.

“Remember that pail of chocolate chip ice cream you keep hidden in the garage freezer?”

Author: Almost Iowa

95 thoughts on “Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Especially With a Muse”

  1. Ah, a lovely visit from a first-class muse, even if only for a high five while raiding the freezer. Seems like I’ve only seen the trainees lately. Maybe for them, that chocolate ice cream fuel is as fabled as a first-class muse.

  2. Hi Greg,

    This is absolutely enjoyable, clever, and imaginative!

    “Characters rushed into the writing room frantically waving their resumes.” (I can just picture this!)

    Amazing writing,

  3. So good. I wish I could think of something clever to say but I can’t, you said it all. Bravo. Oh, and mine is powering through the cookies and cream. 😦

    1. Not these days, she doesn’t!! The best she will get from me is a social distance wave from across the room. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Visiting via Diana and what a delightful – and illuminating – read this has been. It explains so much about my own failures to write over the past several month.

    1. The past few months have been rough on the whole world. So many of us thought, “Goodness me, with this stay at home thing, I’ll get so much writing and so much reading done!!!” But then we find that our muses are social distancing.

      1. … and here I was, taking it personally that my muse was AWOL. I like your version better … that she’s just being socially responsible 😉

  5. A ‘pail’ of chocolate chip ice cream can cure ‘almost’ anything. Stay safe, and write whenever the urge strikes because we’ll all be out here looking forward it. I never read it when it first appears. I let it sit like fine wine and wait for the perfect moment to savor your humor and deep thinking.

  6. I swear, you are one of the most creative writers I know! (But I hope your muse doesn’t eat all your secret ice cream stash!)

  7. Sounds like a pretty typical morning in my office. Except Muse and Discipline are like army commanders who order me around, then when I don’t perform to their standards, I have to drop and give them twenty.

    1. “Twenty”?

      Heck, your muse and disciplines are softies. Mine make me hold up two full pails of chocolate chip ice cream on outstretched arms for hours. That is after I give them fifty. 🙂

      1. Lol don’t tell my muses how soft they are. Because that sounds dreadful! Have you tried eating all the iced cream to make them lighter at least? 🙂

  8. Ha! Kudos, Greg. I never met my muse. I think he must have taken one look and ran the other way. Or maybe I thought the whining in my ear was a mosquito and swatted him…
    Hugs on the wing!

  9. Thanks for the laughs Greg! I thoroughly enjoyed this post and the whole muse mayhem posts that were posted last time. Maybe my muse will find inspiration again to join in this pity party. 🙂 My muse and I had so much fun last time.

  10. I enjoyed this read. I made my muse read it, too, as a warning not to leave me again, otherwise that ice cream will go to the hips. 😉

  11. Reblogged this on Myths of the Mirror and commented:
    There was a short time, a couple of years ago, where several bloggers posted about encounters with their muses. They were not only entertaining posts, but our muses all knew each other and ended up in relationships. Well, Greg’s muse showed up again. If you enjoy a little muse-drama, you’ll get a laugh from his post. Have fun.

    1. Hey thanks for the reblog.

      One of these days, we might all be invited to sit in on a meeting of the muses. Rumor has it that they like to hang out at The Pit after closing time.

      1. Lol. The post cracked me up. That gathering of muses was back in 2017! Can you believe it. I hope she hasn’t been gone that long. Happy Writing. 🙂

  12. A very funny rendition of real life, Greg. Split a big ole helping of ice cream and get back to work. You two were meant for each other.

  13. Hey, you know Muses are supposed to be miffed, and make us writers toe the line. Never thought of a muse leaving for “other” kinds of relationships. I must have the best of both worlds, I’ve got two. One’s a strict, tight-bunned (hair) librarian, and the other a fun, curly-haired flower child. But, they do get into it pretty heated with their different opinions.🙄 Maybe that’s the time for a break, two spoons, and a tub of chocolate ship ice cream to cool them down. 🤣 Christine

    1. I fear the day she finds a writer as disciplined and inspired as she wants. In other words, one who has no need of a muse.

  14. I generally side with the gal in these sorts of stories… I mean, I can certainly identify with someone with a well-cultivated emotional repertoire. And of course, a fondness for ice cream. But I would like to here from Mr. D. before I pronounce him a cad.

    1. I usually side with the guys – because they are usually so clueless. It is like when Scooter rolls in the remains of a dead skunk and wonders why he can’t come into the house. It’s like….”What? Why not?”

  15. Muses are finicky. We all know that. Of course, if you manage to play nice-y nice with one you can write some really good things. Case in point.

  16. My goodness – the Muse most certainly has not left! Your style is the same – but the Muse may have changed her frock and be expecting you to take her out to somewhere different. As always, you manage to hide an awful lot beneath the facade!

  17. Relax your muse is in Stan’s garage. After the ice cream ran out she headed over there. He keeps an emergency case of beer in the fridge in his garage. Hopefully she will not drink it all at once. It is not a pretty thing to see or hear a muse sing in that sorry state. Unless one decides to join the muse in the state of intoxication. Then again it is definitely safer than lysol.

    1. If she is in Stan’s garage, she is in real trouble. I’ll call DISCIPLINE and have him rush right over. Stan and him never got along.

  18. If an endless bucket of chocolate chip ice cream isn’t enough to inspire you…. I think your writing may be doomed.

  19. Sometimes the muse just needs to finish something. Anything. And then she can carry on doing other things like waiting for inspiration and courting discipline. Finishing a blog post counts. In my opinion this post was both inspired and a-Musing.

    1. Years ago, my boss at the time pulled me off what had been my dream project. I was heartbroken.

      “but why?” I asked.

      “Because you are better at starting projects than ending them.”

      I thought it was a slam – but after awhile I realized that he knew me better than I knew myself.

  20. I literally have a basement freezer ccx wiyh a gallon pail, full of chocolate chip ice cream. At least, it WAS full…

    1. So that’s where she went. Be nice to her, she is going through a rough patch. Any chance you could send your muse my way. Yours is FANTASTIC!

      1. Ha! Thanks for the compliment, but I need her tasty and present, to tempt the Colin Firth-like Discipline my way…

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