(I sit at a table in a coffee shop. A glass with a straw and melting ice sits on the table. Condensation pools around it. My laptop is open in front of me. I stare at the blank word processor document that fills the screen of my laptop. A teenage girl approaches me timidly. I ignore her.)
Girl (whispering): Um, excuse me?
Girl: Hi, I'm. . .um. . .
Me: Sure, I'd love another iced tea.
Girl: No, I'm not the server.
Me (looking up): Oh. What can I do for you?
Girl: Well, I'm the one you've been waiting for.
Me: I'm sorry, can you speak up? I can barely hear you.
Girl: That's because you've been ignoring me.
Me: I don't even know you.
Girl: You know me better than you think. Look closer.
(I close my laptop and study the girl.)
Me: You're not. . .
Girl: Yes, I am.
Me: But you've changed so much. You were just a little mouse of a thing when I found you. I told you to go sit in the corner until I had time for you.
Girl: Yes, I know. But you didn't leave me alone like you intended.
Girl: No, of course not. You know very well that you've been adding to me secretly -- when you ride the train to work, when you are drifting off to sleep at night, whenever you remind yourself you need to be writing, you slip off and visit me.
Me: I know, but I don't mean to. I really don't have time for you right now.
Girl: Why not?
Me: Well, I am still editing my first novel.
Girl: As you have been for over two years now.
Me: And then there is my second novel. You know, the one I am two chapters away from finishing a first draft on.
Girl: These excuses would hold more credibility if you had actually worked on either project at anytime in the last month.
Me: You don't understand. . . the experts say. . .
Girl: The experts? There are experts on you?
Me: No, the experts on writing.
Girl: And they know the perfect process for every writer on the planet?
Me: Well no, but see, I'm a beginner. I've never had a novel published.
Girl: And you never will at this rate.
Me: Gee, thanks. Can you go back to your corner now?
Girl (sighing): Fine. I'll go back to my stupid corner now. But first I need to give you a message.
Me: When did you get so bossy?
Girl: Just now.
Me: And I did that?
Girl: Of course. I wouldn't exist at all without you.
Me: Okay, what is your message?
Girl: I'm the one you've been waiting for.
Me: Who now?
Girl: You know. . . the One. That Character you've dreamed of creating since you first dreamed of writing.
Me: I still don't get it.
Girl: Sheesh, of all the aspiring artists I could have been saddled with. . . look, I am the reason you haven't typed a single word since you sat down.
Me: Well, thanks a lot. Please fix it.
Girl: Oh, I can fix it alright.
Girl: Do you really need to ask how?
Me: You want me to write you, don't you?
Girl: Thank the powers that be. There may be hope yet.
Me: I'd love to. I really would, but there are my other projects. Fiona and Regan need to see their novels completed.
Girl: And they will be. Trust me. But there is something else the experts say that is even more important than the advice about not trying to write multiple novels at the same time.
Me: Trust my instincts?
Me: So now what?
Girl: Give yourself permission. And start writing.
Me: I think I can do that.
Girl: Good. Still want me to go back to my corner?
Me: Not a chance.
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