Now, where did that danged Muse go?

While we have accomplished much in the three weeks since we’ve moved here (“here” — for them who don’t be in the know — is Hawai’i), one thing I’ve yet to do is write. 

I mean, I’m writing now but I’m referring to writing writing, as in writing fiction. What’s happened to me? First, I used the excuse that we just moved here. Then, I said I could not write without my big rig. Then, after everything got here, I used the excuse of not having a desk or chair. 


Sure, that’s all true . . . and irrelevant. I done have a laptop and even have a smartphone with a keyboard I can link via Bluetooth. Heck, I have pens and pads; if I wanted to, I could write longhand.

No. As I was telling a friend earlier this evening, my Muse is done left me. Or, it’s still traveling from Colorado to here. Perhaps it done decided to swim and it’s doing a leisurely backstroke in the Pacific, slowly making its way to the Big Island. 


OK, OK . . . I’m deflecting again. There is no Muse. I just haven’t felt like writing. Or taking proper photos. Or doing anything creative. 

I did reread all three of my NaNoWriMo novels, and gorsh durn, I’m a good writer. Even after multiple readings, I really get into the stories and the action of my unpublished novels. I’m now rereading the short stories I’m shopping around. Pretty good stuff, if I say so myself.  

. . . and I have to say so myself since I just got another rejection for “Nancy”. There is one short story currently under submission. It’s going on seven months now and I wanted to wait until that is rejected before I start sending things out again. Yeah, yeah, I should be sending out the others one while I wait. 

Truth is, I ran out of the markets I was shooting for, and I’ve not done research on the other markets. 


My agent search is also stalled, with many agents now having declined representation for my Hybrid novel. Two have not yet responded and since they claim they will, I’m waiting for a decline notice from them. It’s been a number of months, so I’m not holding my breath. 

The manuscript is also out there at an open call for novels . . . also going on seven months. Again, I’m not holding my breath, but they did say they would respond to all submissions. Actually, I better check again; perhaps they changed it to “if you don’t hear from us please consider the possibility your submission sucks and that, by extension, you do as well.” 


The last two photos look as if they are the same, but no . . . the first has a slight sepia tone.

Anyway, I could try writing something now . . . 

Berto’s End?
Copyright 2017 – E. J. D’Alise

Berto spat out the latest gulp of seawater he had accidentally got into his mouth. He tried not to think about the million of creatures that used the ocean as their bathroom. He failed. He turned onto his back and let his arms rest as he dead-man floated atop the gentle rollers. He pondered his life, thinking back to his younger days. 

Since he could remember, he had wanted to be a Muse. For years, he had tried breaking into the field but had been stymied by the Skirt Line . . . women had a solid lock on the Muse profession. It did not matter that he scored on the top 3% of his graduating class or that he consistently outperformed even experienced Muses in inspiration simulations. When it came to field work, women were the recognized standard for Muse work.

It wasn’t until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the subsequent establishment of the EEOC that Berto was able to breach the Skirt Line. Still, it was no easy path to Musedom. His initial assignments were all for crap. Legitimate, yes, but not in his chosen field. He was a Writing Muse but suffered assignments that had him serve a sculptor, an abstract painter, and a poet. A poet! Technically, a writer, yes, but not the kind of writing Berto loved.

It wasn’t until 1984 that he was assigned someone who was both a writer and had a hint of talent. Just a hint, mind you, but it was there. Berto had considered his options and made the decision; he cast his Quill into the Final Choice Well and was forever bound to a young engineer with a stutter. 

Not a month later, disaster struck. The young engineer formed a consulting company and for the next twenty years all Berto could Muse was the writing of semi-clever letters. Berto did push for the engineer to start a novel, but it was a near-impossible task to achieve any consistency in word count.

The years passed as Berto patiently waited, and then it happened . . . the engineer, now old and disillusioned, closed the business and retired. Berto gave him a breather; the engineer needed to rest. But, while Berto was distracted by an idea about alien dwarf elves, the engineer went back to work . . . in aerospace, no less. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Berto had to wait another eight years before the engineer once more took the exit to the retirement road.  

This time, Berto did not lose focus. He pushed and pushed and pushed . . . and the word count rose. Within a few years, two novels, a number of short stories, countless flash fiction pieces — Berto liked those — and a real interest in getting published. 

And then . . . Hawai’i. “Damn it all”, Berto had exclaimed as he realized writing would be put on hiatus until after the move. He could fight it, but Berto knew this was important to the old man, and so he relented. Berto decided he too would take a well-deserved break. Rather than tag along, Berto decided to hike to Oregon and then swim across to the Big Island. The hiking was great, but the swimming had been a bad idea. The sea looks flat from afar, but up close and personal it’s nothing but big hills and valleys of water.

Thank goodness he was now in a calm patch of ocean. Four days of swimming in ten-foot foot squalls had tired him something fierce.  Mind you, he had gotten a lot of great ideas for his assigned writer-wannabe. Stories about old men and the sea, of man against the sea, of a man  sailing the seas . . . and when those were all written, he had stories about old women and the sea, of women against the sea, of a woman sailing the sea. And then, stories about an old transgender and the sea, of trans . . . wait, what was that?

Berto had caught a movement on his left. Something big. A splash, and then another big shape broke the surface. Berto saw something that gave him chills; the unmistakable shape of a sea unicorn’s horn. Unicorns hated Muses; they saw Muses as competitors. 

Bad luck this, as Berto had not packed any anti-imaginary powder. He turned and broke into a deliberate and powerful swimming stroke. The shapes followed . . . 

Miles away, the retired engineer looked up from the keyboard, then looked back down. All inspiration had suddenly left him. He literally could not add another word to the story.

The End

“What happened to Berto!?” 

Melisa’s question echoed in my mind as well, and perhaps in the mind of many. Like I said, I can’t add to the story.


I’ve been trying to get a decent B&W photo out of the many photos I shot with the phone and I’ve just not been happy with anything. Perhaps Berto didn’t make it after all. 


That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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16 Responses to Now, where did that danged Muse go?

  1. GP Cox says:

    I can understand you not writing during the move – the muse likes a surrounding compatible with their personality.


  2. Well I’m not surprised with such a big upheaval in your life. It’s very unsettling. Hang in there, I’m sure it will return soon :)


  3. mybrightlife says:

    Taking time to read and re-read sounds like a good option to me…


  4. sandra getgood says:

    Poor Berto…..


  5. AnnMarie says:

    From what I’ve read above, I think Berto has hit land (not literally, I hope) and is lurking in the shadows . . . sending you wisps of inspiration . . .


  6. Your muse is there…just been hiding out so he doesn’t have to help with any work related to moving and getting settled, etc.! ;-)
    I, too, want to know more about what happened to Berto!!! (Great story, Emilio!)
    Continued good wishes on writing, submitting, getting published!
    (((HUGS))) :-)


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