Breaking News: My Muse Is A Pain In The Ass











From a deep peaceful sleep, I awoke surprised to find,

I had my muse on my mind.

I’m speaking of She who calls herself Shirley…. Alas.

Let’s be quite clear about this from the start: My Muse is a pain in the Ass.


Speaking candidly – with no punches pulled, without embellishment,

as any artist Might.

I want to understand her, to get her Right.

Why would my muse declare herself to be average? Not only average but Average-ish.

No one aspires to average; why waste a Wish?


If you don’t know it – then know it now – every artist, in accordance

with Greek Mythology, is entitled to one muse – and only one – per

lifetime to inspire the artist. Ergo, no artist would accept a muse who

is – or perceives herself as – run-of-the-mill-ish;

you know, Average-ish.

I hope I’m being clear about This.

My Muse is a pain in the Ass.

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One ought not underestimate the influence of a good muse. Someone

once said, “Only Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread.” Not

True. Not True.

Muses always Do.

When a critic opines negatively upon an artist’s work, concluding it to

be, at best, a Work-in-Progress-Disaster,

it’s the Muse to the rescue, filling air and artist’s ear with, “No, no, no.

You are a Master.”


My muse – Shirley – too often asks rhetorically about

herself, “What do I do Well;

I mean, at what, if anything, do I Excel?”

I don’t get it. Never will. My insisting, “It ain’t so,”

changes not the status quo.

Reluctantly, I give up. I Surrender,

But first, I dare you to deny that this is all about Gender.


Every man, any man, would never depreciate or diminish himself so.

This we Know.

Were my muse a Man,

He’d be all about himself, boasting, “I can do anything. Yes I can, yes I Can.”

But Women, some, not all, self-deprecate, seeing less, making less of

the sum of their Parts.

Is this not the product of centuries-old practiced or feigned

subservience, of hiding larger hearts, and greater Smarts?


The Oxford English Dictionary defines (or so it should) “Shirley-ish“, a noun, as, “1. that which never gives up on anyone;  that which is integral to the creative process; is a lover of art and artists and whatever they might Create.”

But  Wait.

The Dictionary includes a second meaning – a bit shocking, I admit,

and a bit Crass –

It says – I swear it does – 2. Shirley-ish denotes a muse who is a pain in the Ass.


QED. It must be so. Who’d challenge the Oxford English Dictionary?

Not Me. Its reputation too Legendary.

But still I’d add a third meaning; Shirley-ish as a verb: “3. to be Shirley-ished is be blessed with the kind of a friend, that most mere mortals only dream about.”


Lucky Me,

Lucky her friends and family,

Lucky Jim Lee, whoever he may be.


One closing uncontrovertible truth about my Muse:

If her vision and confidence that this world stripped from her were

restored, she’d be the artist, not the muse.

Until that day arrives, a better me will remember to Be

to her – what she is to Me.


  1. Brad Fitzgerald says:

    I like your mus-ings, like a little boat ride and no one knows exactly where the destination lies, but that doesn’t matter; “to travel hopefully is better than to arrive” anyway.

  2. Keith Elias says:

    Awesome, Robert!

    • Keith, thank you for not voicing objection to the pic of you and your sax that so nicely reflects a portrait of the artist. It seemed so appropriate to the piece as did the one of you and my Muse. Sadly, as reflected in her comment, my Muse was quite unamused.

  3. Shirley (Muse) Accardi says:

    You could have picked a better picture of me!!!!

    • Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Forgive me, Shirley.
      When I wrote my ode to thee,
      I carefully selected each word, more for truth than poetry.
      As my muse, you know I produced a first draft of this ode more than a year ago;
      and then edited, redacted, rewrote and polished until it was just so.
      But the picture of thee and Keith I chose in three seconds, maybe five, but, surely, no more.
      And for that I risk losing my muse, my light, my mentor.
      I hope my point is not lost in the rhyme,
      But the penalty seems not to fit the crime.
      I consulted Lipkin the lawyer, asking him,”How do I make this right?”
      As always happens, his answer started in the morning and lasted through the most of the night.
      Redacting what my left-brain said to my right-brain, I hereby promise to never again publish a picture of thee, or your likeness thereof, in a medium, or venue, even if threatened or coerced,
      without securing your approval first.

  4. An amusing account but just beware
    Your friend Shirley ‘aint always fair
    Don’t upset her if you please
    Writers block is a bad disease.

    • Pat,
      I know not whether my responsive pleading to my muse has put me back in her good graces.
      Even if not, I have learned a valuable lesson that one acts at his peril when publishing women’s faces.

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