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  • Robert Farago

Valentine's Day Amusement

Portrait of the artist as a desert island

So I met this bartender (AI version above). A beautiful dark-haired woman who claims she’s read over a hundred books in the last year. Whoa! Could she be the woman I’ve looked for all my adult life? Let me be specific…

While I’m not averse to the idea, I’m not looking for a lover per se. Certainly not another wife. I’m looking for literary inspiration in human form. A muse.

Amusement Park Ride

In Greek mythology, there were nine Muses. Not quite enough for a brace of bowling teams, but a sufficient number for providing all the knowledge in Greek poetry, lyric songs and myths.

In modern times, it’s muse singular. A woman who inspires an artist. Pushes him/her/they to maximum creativity. Or, in Hollywood, madness, murder and mayhem. Both on-screen and off.


No ‘bout a doubt it: hooking-up with a muse is a risky business.

These days you can get canceled for smoking 500 feet from a child or beating-up a muppet, never mind writing something that challenges political correctness.

Truth be told, you’ll never know what “knowledge” your muse is implanting in your work. Or what crazy ass emotions she’ll trigger and manipulate in the name of artistic excellence.

If anyone doesn’t know how to handle a toxic relationship, it’s me. Wait. Let me try that again…

When it comes to “inspirational women,” it’s once bitten, twice bitten, pretty much perpetually if not eternally bitten.

Sigh. Hey, at least I don’t wear my purple heart on my sleeve, save in the privacy of my own Substack.

And should a muse appear, I’m ready, I’m willing and I’m able to rock and roll all night! As long as I can get to bed by 11.

Late in the game

While I predate dirt by a decade or so, I’m not prepared to say my best work is behind me. (Note to Joe Biden: a failing memory has its advantages.)

I’m proud of the 305 posts I’ve written for this website. Some posts more than others, obviously. But that’s OK. You’ve got to scramble a few eggs to make scrambled eggs. Or something like that.

My writing is improving. A couple of hundred readers seem to be enjoying it. And the daily ritual keeps the Black Dog at bay. But I want it be… more.

Hence the forthcoming Travels with Charley Ridiculously Random Motorcycle Tour. Grist for the mill! Yet another search for self-confidence, beaten out of me as a child? That too.

Which is one reason why I’m doing this on my own, with only a credit card, music and a reliable mount to keep me company. Yeah, about that…

Bagger? I Just Met Her!

When I bought my Gold Wing, I opted for the “bagger” model, bereft of the full-dress tourer’s luxurious back seat.

I didn’t want to see the gigantic unoccupied throne behind me. To my eyes, it’s a reproach, representing lack. Loneliness.

To fit Charley with a proper sound system, I’m sacrificing one of the bike’s tiny saddle bags. As my warm and cold weather gear take up the other bag, I’m installing the trunk – complete with the aforementioned back seat.

And come to terms with the fact that yes, I would like a companion. Not just any companion. A muse. At this juncture of my life, why settle for less?

At the same time, why get stressed about it? Either it happens or it won’t. And even if it does, it could well be a temporary state of affairs. Aren’t all affairs temporary? Asked the man with two ex-wives.

Island Life

After schmoozing the comely bartender, Michael gave me my AAR. “You go in too… hot,” he observed, hitting me with his unimpeachable Christopher Walken imitation.

He’s not wrong. I’ve never played “the game.” I’ve always gone in too hot with women (as well as everything else). Daring them to want me as is. Not letting them “find” me. Anyway…

I promised the bartender I’d bring her a copy of my novel. For the inscription, I told my pen to git ‘er Dunne: “No man is an island, entire within himself.”

On one hand, it was a transparent invitation to my island. On the other hand, it was a message to myself – that I’m still trying to figure out.

As always, I find perplexity amusing. So to speak.


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