Are great novels about love or heartbreak?


THE MUST CAME AROUND the other morning.

I hadn’t seen him for a while.

I hadn’t missed him.

It was cold.

The ground was covered with snow.

We don’t get much snow down in this part of the world.

When we do, cars go into ditches.

Eighteen-wheelers fall off bridges.

Preachers tell us it’s the beginning of the end, the beginning of Armageddon.

We have twenty-four hours to make our hearts right with God.

Thank God, God doesn’t wear a watch.

And when the snow sticks, the powers in administration close down schools for kids who have never seen it before.

The Muse didn’t have any inspiration.

He just wanted to come in from the cold.

“I was talking to a publisher the other day,” I said.

“He any good?”

“It’s a she.”

“She any good?”

“She sells a lot of books for Indie authors.”


“If she sells any books at all, he’s better than the rest of them.”

I nodded my agreement.

“ She believes that novels sell better if the book covers have a woman on them,” I tell the Muse.

“She have a reason?”

“Women buy more books than men.” I shrugged. “Women identify with other women whether they are frightened, stalked, troubled or in love.”

“Makes sense.” The Muse paused a moment, kicked his boots up on the coffee table, and asked, “Does the genre make any difference?”

“Works for all genres,” I said. “Mysteries, thrillers, romance, fantasy, science fiction, historical fiction, speculative fiction, paranormal fiction all have women running loose between the pages. Sometimes, women are the protagonists. Sometime they are the villains. Sometimes they are the love interest. But you can’t have a story without a woman.”

The Muse thought it over for a moment.

He watched the snow fall outside.

The daffodil blooms were frozen.

Only the birds were out at daybreak.

He shivered.

“Does your publisher think all books are about love?”

“If she doesn’t, I do.”

“You’re wrong,” the Muse said.

“What makes you say that?

“Good novels are about heartbreak,” he said.

“Love makes you feel good.”

“Love is a good story,” he said, “but heartbreak is more interesting. Heartbreak cuts to the quick. Heartbreak hurts. Love makes you want to climb the mountain. Heartbreak makes you want to jump off. Why do you remember Gone With the Wind? Rhett walked out on Scarlett. He broke her heart and the reader’s heart. Why do you remember To Kill A Mockingbird? Atticus lost. Why do you remember Shane? The gunslinger rode off and left the boy crying in the street. Love ends quickly, but heartbreak lasts for a long, long time”

The Muse sat back and grinned.

“I rest my case,” he said.

“You make some good points,” I said.

“I always do.”

“But you made one mistake.”

The grin left his face.

“What’s that?” he asked.

“You can’t have heartbreak,” I said, “if you don’t have love.”

The Muse stood.

“Love comes first,” I said.

He walked out the door and across the patio toward the bird feeders.

I’m not sure, but by the time he reached the gate, I thought I heard his heart break.

It always does when he’s wrong.

That’s what happens when a Muse is in love with his own opinions.

He was gone and had left no footprints in the snow.

Please click the book cover image to read more about Caleb Pirtle III and his novels. Most all of them possess a little love and heartbreak.


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