Me: *momentarily blinded by the empty page*
Gonzo (my creative brain): Hey. Watchadoing, watchadoing?
Me: I’m writing a blog. Super cheerful. Upbeat. Erm. Yep. Bloggity blog blog.
Gonzo: Stop right there, my backspace tapping friend. Allow me to present *kazoo fanfare*... the manatee.
Me: The what?
Gonzo: The manatee who’s now swimming around inside your head. Say howdy. She’s what you're gonna be writing.
Me: Whoa. Not now. She’s just a phrase in my notebook. I’ll come back to her when she’s grown some kind of conflict.
Gonzo: Ah, but I saw her gleam, right in your imagination's sweet spot. Since then, you’ve dreamed of her, right?
Me: You probably made that happen.
Gonzo: And you loved it. You need to write her. Taste the words in her story: mangrove, lagoon, water hyacinth, oh my seagrass, langour, sirenia, and yes there's flipper, blubber, whisker, peduncle!
Me: I’m just not sure I can write her.
Sniffy Neg (my inner critic): Shouldn’t bother. You’ll only scuff it up. Again. Afternoon, all.
Gonzo: You always pop by, don't you?
Sniffy Neg: Only when I’m invited, love. Dear me, what is that you’re wearing?
Gonzo: Q, X, Z and *rainbow claps* we’re in Florida, floating on turquoise, sun drunk. Fingers on keyboards now. Go and and write the first words, my overthinking friend, the rest are bobbing on the waves, trust me, they'll drift towards you with the breeze. Just follow the manatee.
Me: But, my blog.
Sniffy Neg: Shouldn’t worry yourself about that. Nobody reads it anyway. *pulls on water wings*
Me: And who wants to read a story about a manatee?
Sniffy Neg: Not me.
Gonzo: You do. That’s why it desperately wants to be written. And only you can prose it exactly the way it hopes to be prosed. This story, its going to be better than sherry trifle. You can feel that, can’t you?
Manatee: *blows bubbles*
Me: Heehee. Tickles.
Gonzo: Your manatee, she's sister to mermaids, she's great-great-niece to, take a deep breath, our old chum the elephant.
Me: Gosh. Maybe she's more than ordinarily magical. Maybe she's wise. Yowzer. I have so many questions for her.
Sniffy Neg: Oh, well.
Gonzo: Ssshh. Warm, coastal waters. Salt on your lips, scent of Confederate Jasmine on the breeze. Just swim. Swim and type, type and swim.
Sniffy Neg: I mean, what’s the point of writing this silly story? What's the point of writing anything?
Sniffy Neg: Why don't you look at Twitter instead?
Me: Wow. She really is an imaginary manatee.
Manatee: *barrel rolls*
Me: Is that truly a smile she wears? And if it is, at what, or for whom, does she smile?
Sniffy Neg: *sniffs*
Gonzo: Manatee, manatee, dugong, sea cow.
Me: *barrel rolling* Manatee, manatee, dugong, sea cow. The first line is, the first line is…
Manatee: The first line is this.