Thursday, November 29, 2007

Long sentences and family pride

I was just looking again at my brother's website, and noticed this, which made me laugh because it's so clever. He's right, The longest sentence is sometimes the least important. It reminds me of how often when I was starting out writing, I'd really really ram home the point in the last paragraph, just to make sure even the dumbest reader knew what I was on about. Of course, it spoilt the whole story. And, still flicking through Lorrie Moore's Self Help, I see she ends perfectly on very short sentences: Ask for a 7-up. Or: You always, always, say: 'Fine'. And even (and I love this one): One of those endings. It leaves the reader just where they should be - back in their imagination.

And my writing prompt for today is: a story that ends with a one-word one-syllable sentence. FINE will do nicely. Right.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


... have I not heard of Denis Johnson before. He's brilliant, and he's written lots. Yippee, I feel Christmas has come early.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Self Help Similes

I've just written a review of Lorrie Moore's wonderful collection of short stories, Self Help for the forthcoming issue of the Short Review, so I won't duplicate here what I've said.

But, oh, I wanted more space than my review to talk about Lorrie Moore's similes. Every one seems to be a gem, to be crafted so it shines - and yet, maybe because there are so many, they don't over balance the text in the way that makes you want to 'kill your darlings', as William Faulkner once said.

Here are some:

"He goes about the business of fondling you, like someone very tired at night having to put out the trash and bolt-lock the door."

Ouch. How about this childhood memory:

"This house is embedded in you deep, something still here you know, you think you know, a voice at the top of those stairs, perhaps, a figure on the porch, an odd apron caught high in the twigs, in the too-warm-for-a-fall-night breeze, something not right, that turret window you can still see from here, from outside, but which can't be reached from within."

And later in that paragraph, because Lorrie Moore matches long sentences with short ones just perfectly:

"The window sits like a dead eye in the turret."

More? Here's one that just hits the spot - I had to stop reading when I got to it just to admire for a few minutes:

"I look for tears in his eyes and think I spot the shiny edge of one, like a contact lens."

And this, just how I feel sometimes:

"Feel gray, like an abandoned locker room towel."

And last one, just the right hint of menace and foreshadowed pain:

"You are two spies glancing quickly at watches, necks disappearing in the hunch of your shoulders, collars upturned and slowly razoring the cab and store-lit fog like sharkfins."

Yep, this is FUN writing to read like when you meet someone who makes you talk in a way that makes you both sparkle. I want to tear it apart like a provincial dressmaker would rip into a ballgown to see how the real designers do it. Or to identify every spice in the chef's special like a zealous restaurant critic who wants to get the review right. I feel electric as if Lorrie Moore's switched on my reading lamp.

OK, OK, I'll stop now. But that's my writing prompt for today ... as many similes as I can list, and I'm excited by this exercise, like the geeky kid who actually takes end-of-term quizzes seriously.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Masks from Venice

Bringing endless fun to the Salway household...

Omigod it's a cat ... ohmigod it's a cat ... ohmigod it's a cat ... wait a minute, what's a cat?...

Ooo and look, it's a cog-dat...

And my writing prompt for today is ... the pet's revenge.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tracy Emin in Venice

The French and British exhibits at the Biennale were next to each other at the end of the row. I went to the Sophie Calle first, and then dashed into Tracy Emin's out of a sense of 'oh, I have to do this because people will ask.' It's not that I don't like Tracy Emin's work, but more that I've always felt there's something a bit intimidating about it, as if I'm 'not going to get it'. This fear wasn't helped by the people coming out as I was going in, who all seemed to be shaking their heads and laughing a little bit.

I still don't know if I 'got it', but I got something, and that was enough for me. I got that I'd like to force all teenage girls to come in and see the British exhibit - and to really LOOK. It made me want to protect and attack all at the same time, a confused, uncomfortable feeling. Birds were a motif, as shown by the beautiful fragile light sculpture on the outside.

The central hall was filled with branches and around it charcoal sketches of women's private parts (God, I'm embarrased about saying that, like a prim aunt, but I don't want to get hundreds of google hunters coming here and getting disappointed.) Anyway, to me - and you'll understand now I'm no art expert - it felt as if there was something equally fragile, bird-like and transient about the drawings. Almost as if you needed to cup them in your hands. It wasn't sexual though, or voyeuristic. More ... oh, what do I want to say ... fleeting. That's it. I was very moved.

And then in the next room, I read this.

And round the corner, I came across this, which made me gasp out loud. Not the words but the way and how they had been written which made them so painfully polite but almost invisible - surely part of the point.

And this sums up this post for me, really. I think I know what the exhibit was saying, but oh I'm not sure, but on the other hand I think I know what I liked about it. Oh heck...why am I such a girl at saying what I mean, and striving to get to the point when I can say this is what I know I want to say, which is what I think the exhibit was really about.

And my writing prompt for today is ... the subversive stitch.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Sophie Calle in Venice

I've written several times on this blog already about my passion for Sophie Calle, so you can imagine how excited I was that I managed to catch the last few days of her show at the Biennale in Venice.

She took as a focus for the exhibition a dumping letter she'd received by email from a lover, which ended in the words 'Take Care of Yourself'.

Well, Sophie Calle knows how best to take care of herself - by examining from every minute angle the experience so as to own it better. She asked 107 women (actually 106 women and one parrot) to give their versions of the letter. This varied from a text message.

To a mathematical diagram.

And also included a deaf signing, a musical interpretation, a clowning, a mother's viewpoint, linguistic variations, a young girl's comments and many many more. It was moving and funny and I can't believe anyone - man or woman - could have walked round without thinking of their own relationships and what they REALLY meant. We too often see things just through our obviously biaised eyes.

It's hard to say which were my favourites. I loved the marital guidance session where Sophie Calle was filmed being interviewed sitting on one chair, while the letter took the 'husband's' seat, saying nothing but looking remarkably smug. I also giggled, along with everyone else, as a cook was videoed chopping up vegetables harder and harder as she read through the letter. And I barked with laughter and shock as the parrot actually dived in and ate the letter. I know I'll be thinking about it for a long time to come, and that - in some way or another - the ideas in that room will come out in my writing.

It's this response which summed up the whole exhibition for me.

I went to the exhibition with a group of women, and couldn't help but wonder what the male visitors felt. Was it their worst nightmare of how women discuss them? Because, to be honest, being surrounded by so many - sympathetic - female responses and voices made me think of numerous lunches I've spent analysing relationships. So perhaps it's not surprising that, according to the Guardian Interview Sophie Calle's boyfriend has made this request from her:

She doesn't use her all boyfriends as work, she insists. Her current partner has asked her not to do anything based on him and she has agreed.

And my writing prompt for today is .... A farewell letter.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fish in Venice

No, not in the canals - or not that we saw, and we did look pretty closely. Here's the bottom of one canal, for instance. Takes some of the romance away, doesn't it?

But the true earthy (or sea-y) romance of Venice was still very much present at the Rialto market, where we had some of the best hot chocolate of my life. Just a cup of melted chocolate as far as we could tell, and thick enough to stand a spoon up in it.

And saw every kind of fish you could imagine.

Which made me sad all over again about how few fresh fish shops we have in Britain now. Anyone else remember being taken to Macfisheries when they were a kid? Although now, I have to admit, I wouldn't know what to do with half the varieties on sale at the market.

Apart from just gasp at how beautiful some were.

And my writing prompt today is ... Meeting your soulmate in a fish shop.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Books in Venice

I'm just back from a fantastic few days in Venice. Not sure my slow slow slow campaign worked, although a night time gondola ride was just the right pace for me. I could live like that. I'm still processing all the highlights but here's definitely one of them, which was finding a shop which made books into pieces of art.

Jeckyll and Hyde looks distinctively frightening:

Whereas The Lord of the Rings has a real hobbit-like feel to it, as if you would be reading private diaries:

But my favourite was definitely Treasure Island. How magical does this look? It feels like you, as reader, will be taking part in the adventure before you even open the first page:

Mind you, at those prices perhaps it was a good thing the shop was shut, although I did get a sneak look inside. It was like something out of Harry Potter in there...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Slowly now...

I won't be posting for a few days as I'm away for some writing time with a notebook, the CD a lovely friend made for me, and just one book.

It's the last item that makes my heart race. Just ONE book. How will I cope? I normally take suitcases full, most of which admittedly I never get around to reading. But then it's this one, IN PRAISE OF SLOW by Carl Honore, and I've had it recommended to me so often, I've finally listened. I don't want to rush it - not when the second quote in the book is this one from William Dean Howells: 'People are born and married, and live and die, in the midst of an uproar so frantic that you would think they would go mad of it', and, to be honest, I have been worried I've been going a bit, not mad, but frantic from the franticism recently. So much has happened that I've just put it to one side to think about later because there's even more happening that needs to be put to one side... you get the picture.

And so I'm going to practice sloooow writing. I haven't even taken my laptop. I'll be writing just as fast or slowly as my pencil takes me.

For writing prompts, don't forget to visit Your Messages, or do yourself a favour and read the responses already up. They're absolutely amazing.

The photograph above is my writing prompt for today.

Friday, November 16, 2007

From the excellent New Writer Magazine


Prose and Poetry Prizes 2007
from The New Writer magazine
Now in its eleventh year, one of the major annual international competitions for short stories, novellas, single poems, poetry collections, essays and articles; offers cash prizes as well as publication for the prize-winning writers in The Collection, special edition of The New Writer magazine each July (back copies available from website).
Closing date 30 November 2007

Short Stories, Novellas/Serials - stories up to 4,000 words, serials/novellas up to 20,000 words on any subject or theme, in any genre (not children's). Previously published work is not eligible. Short Stories: 1st prize £300, 2nd £200, 3rd £100. Novella: 1st prize £300. Entry fees £4 per short story (TNW subscribers two entries at same fee) or £10 per serial/novella.

Single Poems and Collections - single poems up to 40 lines and collections of between 6 - 10 poems. Single poem entries must be previously unpublished; previously published poems can be included as part of a collection. Collection: 1st prize £300, 2nd £200, 3rd £100. Single: 1st prize £100, 2nd £75, 3rd £50. Entry fee £4 per single poem (TNW subscribers two entries at same fee, £10 per collection.

Essays, Articles, Interviews - covering any writing-related or literary theme in its widest sense up to 2,000 words. 1st prize £150, 2nd £100, 3rd £50. Single entry £4 (TNW subscribers two entries at same fee).

All work should be clearly typed, double-spaced (except poetry), on one side of white A4 paper and paperclipped. Entrants may make as many submissions as they wish but please include your name, address, title of entry, word count and category on a separate cover sheet with every entry. Preliminary judging will be carried out by The New Writer editorial board with guest judges making the final selection so there should be no identifying marks on the entries. Judges in recent years include Robyn Young, Robert Seatter, Mimi Thebo, Simon Scarrow, Jane Draycott, Ros Barber, Margaret Graham, Phil Whitaker.

Further information including guidelines at

Writers can enter at our secure credit card server at

We can supply this year’s printed Entry Forms on request, and in bulk to Writers' Groups.

Last year’s winners are listed at

My new writing partners

And hurrah for students who pass on good music to write to (or is to write behind/with/against?).

Welcome to my beautiful home....

Shall I tell you a little about my fabulous life? My mansions and penthouses and stays in luxury hotels? My mirrors made from ancient Egyptian glass found in sealed tombs. My bathrobes trimmed with ostrich feathers. Shoes made from the skin of exotic animals. My writing desk which once belonged to Shakespeare. My mega-buck book contracts, views of land I own, how Victoria won't stop ringing me up for fashion advice...

Actually, and I hope you're not too shocked, none of the above is true. Apart from the fact that I do have a life. Maybe not always fabulous, it has to be said, but hey, some of the 'interesting times' are good material to put in the compost heap for writing. And on Thursday 6th December, I'm running a day course on Creative Non Fiction - how to write about your life in a creative and interesting way. It'll be held in Tunbridge Wells, just one hour from central London, and there are two places left. If you want to find out more, email me.

One of my many beautiful and talented household servants may answer you....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Christmas has come!

My home town of Tunbridge Wells is definitely full of surprises. One of which is, I'm sure, the window of the slightly stuffy department store that greets people getting off the train. Last year, the mannequin wore a very skimpy g-string but there were so many complaints that the g-string was soon replaced by a pair of very very big knickers. I kid you not. But now the Christmas windows are up, we're all very pleased the tradition has continued. So for strangers coming here by train, this is the first thing you'll see...

At least all the windows are beautiful, I have to say - they're not always. (The rubbish theme springs to mind here.) But this year the theme is ballet and fairy tales. I have never ever fancied a shop window dummy before, but TW has something for everyone, and just between you and me, here is a very fine specimen...

But, oh look, that hussy from the first window seems to have got there first. This has to be one of the most enthusiastic public wake-up kisses I've seen. 'Get a room', I heard one passer-by say. I expect a 'Disgusted from TW' letter any day soon ...

And my writing prompt for today is - waking up in shop window.

A touch of starry-dust

I am in danger of going to see Stardust every night at this rate. I don't even need to defend my obsession - it makes me happy and fills up my imagination so I really want to write. And then last night, I came back from the cinema to an email from my publisher directing me to Caroline Smailes's wonderful review of Leading the Dance. So now as well as D M Thomas's quote, I now have "Sarah Salway injects fragility and grace into the art of storytelling."

To say I'm chuffed is an understatement - and I haven't even had to find a fallen start to cut her heart out to put this spring in my step!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A good blurb

D M Thomas's The White Hotel is defintely on my list of the top ten most influential books for my writing, so you can imagine how surprised, proud and grateful I am to hear that he enjoyed my short stories, Leading the Dance and has given me this quote to use for them:

"These short stories explore the often wavering borderland between love and boredom, sensuality and repression, fidelity and betrayal. They are written with a spare and subtle elegance." D M Thomas


I'm off on a jaunt today with one of my favourite companions, so here's the writing prompt I'm planning to work on in the train - a piece which includes EVERY word of the dictionary definition of gallivanting (well, maybe except Thesaurus, that might be hard to fit in, although ....) - To go out looking for entertainment or amusement. Thesaurus: traipse, ramble, meander, junket, travel, wander, roam, stray, rove, gad about, range.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

And the good news...

keeps rolling in... Although it has to be said, the scientists don't seem to be totally convinced. This quote in particular made me smile:
"And much as we logically like the idea that men are interested in the waist to hip ratio, it actually features relatively low down the list of features males look for in a potential partner."

So I'm wondering now what men DO want if "fatty acids found on the hips" doesn't - logically - do the trick. Honestly, talk about fussy. I mean, look at us women, happy with a red dress (or two).

ps I know, it's Nigella again. What can I do, she's stalking me.

And my writing prompt for today is going to be ... curves.

Happy talk

I'm very happy to be hosting the latest leg of the Steve Stack mighty world tour, to promote his book, It is Just You, Everything's Not Shit, copies of which should be in everyone's stocking this Christmas.

IIJYENS (actually it took me longer to work out those initials than if I wrote it out in full but never mind) is an alphabetically based response to the question posed in the book, Is it Just Me or is Everything Shit?, and is a collection of everything Steve Stack finds good in life. Now we like alphabet books on this blog so Steve was on to a winner immediately. Even more so, when I started my own dialogue with the entries. Chinese chips I can understand (yes, yes, yes, at last I find my soulmate) but several entries (model villages!!!!) leave me cold, but that's the fun here. I have ordered several copies with personal dedications for some family members and am looking forward to some enthusiastic disagreements.

Anyway in lieu of pinching Steve Stack to find out if he was always as cheerful as he seems, I asked him some questions (oh but hey, we have the same initials so I can't do that SS to SS thing):

Sarah: What does happiness taste like for you?
Steve: Cake

Sarah: And what does it feel like?
Steve: Bubble wrap

Sarah: Sound like?
Steve: Church bells

Sarah: Smell like?
Steve: Play-doh

Sarah: Look like?

Steve: The woman I love

Sarah: Do you think it would be boring to be happy the whole time? If so, what's your favourite sad thing?
Steve: Oh god yes. Life needs its comparisons. Happy isn't happy without sad alongside it. My favourite sad thing is probably the final scenes of Life Is Beautiful but remember, it is only sad because of all the happy scenes that came before it.

Sarah: What's the best way to cheer up winter?
Steve: A log fire and lots of hot buttery crumpets

Sarah: Can you describe the happiest day of your life?
Steve: For legal reasons I probably shouldn't go into too much detail but it involved chorizo, a European capital city and a bed with flashing lights.

Sarah: Don't you think - in your heart of hearts - that there's really something creepy about model villages?
Steve: Not at all. When I see a model village I think of Camberwick Green
(Hmmm, still not convinced, Steve. all those puppets appearing from and disappearing into that 'magic musical box' used to freak me out a little)

Sarah: What is the question - on your world tour - that you wish you'd been asked? And what would your answer be?
Steve: Would you like a cup of tea and a slice of cake? To which I would have answered 'yes please'.

And no sooner said, than done. (although don't tell Steve but the tea is actually whisky so I can find out more about those flashing lights...)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Don't forget Burma

Someone called Sophie left the following message as a comment on one of my blog posts, so I'm bringing it up to give it some attention:

I am writing to you to ask for a favor, I would like to request for you to post this new campaign Don't Forget Burma on your blog and have you also participate as well. I hope this is not too much trouble for you. We created this site because we wanted a space where normal people could show that although the media spotlight over Burma may have dimmed, we are still thinking of Burma.

The team that runs this site came together through the "Support the Monks' Protest in Burma " Facebook group (439,000 members) and has created the website

We're a team of activists from around the world that work around the clock on our sites, we were key to coordinating the Global Day of Action for Burma on October 6th 2007 and Aung Sang Suu Kyi day (October 24th 2007).

We'd like to thank our launch partners who have helped make this project work., they are: Burma Campaign UK, The US Campaign for Burma,, the European Burma Network and .

About Burma

Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world; a dictatorship charged by the United Nations with a "crime against humanity" for its systematic abuses of human rights, and condemned internationally for refusing to transfer power to the legally elected Government of the country รข€“ the party led by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

In September 2007 monks led thousands of peaceful protestors onto the streets of Burma. The Burmese military put this peaceful uprising down with ruthless brutality routinely using violence and torture against the protestors, even the monks. The people of Burma have lived under military dictatorship for 45 years. The last peaceful uprising that occurred in1988 was brutally put down by the army killing at least 3,000 people. However the West didn't act because very little news came out of Burma. This time is different, we know people have been tortured, we know hundreds and possibly thousands of people have been murdered by the regime in an attempt to put down the uprising.

To make sure the world doesn't forget get active, submit a photo of support to this site, join the Facebook group and find a local activist organisation via

Red dresses...

I wish you could see the new dress I'm wearing today. It's a dress for chasing squirrels in the park; for catching every train you think you might have left it too late to get; even for writing things that make the reader gasp. I'm struggling to keep up with it to be honest, so it definitely deserves its own poem.

Which is lucky, because that's exactly what we're about to do in my writing class later this morning. Not just write poems to my dress, of course, but about the clothes you put on that make you just know you can rule the world. Do men have those? Perhaps a red tie or a red t-shirt does the job as well, although somehow neither would make me feel I want to walk on tip-toes or do pirouettes in between sorting out international crises. Anyway, part of the inspiration comes from the poem: ‘WHAT DO WOMEN WANT?’by Kim Addonizio. You can hear her read it here but meanwhile here's a taster:

I want to walk like I’m the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me

And to move to the end of Kim's poem, here's my other writing prompt for today - what would you like to wear to be buried in?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hey cupcake, how are you doing?

(cartoon from the wonderful Harold's Planet)

What's not to like about cupcakes? I made my first batch for possibly years the other day and it was pure pleasure - not least because I'd forgotten how much fun icing is to plan, to scrape on, to decorate after, and to look at (and to just dip your little finger into when it's on the cake and try to get a taste without anyone noticing the mark). Admittedly Nigella Lawson is a problem. 'Oooo, you've been reading Nigella,' some nameless-never-to-be-offered-cupcakes-again-person said when I handed him the plate. I really really hate it when people claim ownership by stamping their names on things which should be universal, as Nigella Lawson seems to have done with cupcakes. In fact, this is probably one of the reasons why I'm developing an itch against academics. They say something completely obvious to the rest of us, write it again and again, albeit in slightly different ways in a book or a paper, and suddenly it is 'their theory' and you can't mention it again without quoting their name. Anyway, she (NL, not the particular academic I have in mind) has done the same with denim jackets - has anyone else noticed that no one with dark hair can ever wear a denim jacket again without people saying 'Ooo Nigella,' in silly voices. It's just not fair. But back to cupcakes, mine were delicious and made us all very happy and I'm still clearing up the hundreds and thousands that didn't make the final jump on to the top of the icing, albeit very slowly with a wetted fingertip so I can savour them more.

And I'm going to do a writing prompt today - and that is SCRAPING THE LAST ICING FROM THE BOWL.

ps don't forget Your Messages for daily November pleasure. The responses are absolutely amazing. I don't fancy the chances of Lynne and I choosing thirty without coming to blows as to which we'll be forced to leave out.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Stephen Benatar Rocks

I'm not sure I could do this - however much I manage to control it, I'm still stupidly shy and so have enough trouble getting up the nerve to sign a book someone has bought without having been accosted in the first place, but here is a man with real style. I'm impressed, and jealous. I think I might even buy the book.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pop Ups!

The last thing I need is another obsession, but recently - and this is normally how I know I've been hit - I've been finding myself in the pop-up section of the bookshop. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to resist the immediate gratification of a Wild West pop up book which includes pop-ups of "an entire old west town, teepee, holster and pistol with a working trigger, cattle on the trail, and cowboys on horseback" (there's even a free-standing cowboy in full regalia as an extra. My!), or can I put it on my ever-growing Christmas list and wait mooonnnnttthhhssss for Santa to decide whether or not I am worthy:

And then, joys, browsing further on the internet, I find this, a pop-up book of altars:

So, for the moment, I'm going to make do with a writing prompt - to come up with the most unlikeliest pop-up book and write a scene when this is presented as a gift.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Oven House

Good golly, miss molly, have you seen the responses to Your Messages? Lynne and I are overawed. Which is why it's probably a good time to mention that Lynne's novel, The Oven House, is about to be re-issued and it's sexy, funny, sad and just slightly obsessive. It's a strange thing to read a book by someone you know well - if you don't like the book, will you still like the person? When we started Messages together, we didn't know each other very much at all, but as the project progressed and we started to see each other more outside 'work' it was as if we were having two different conversations - our dialogue through Messages and our writing, and our one about mundane daily things. Sometimes we'd meet and not talk about Messages at all, but I'd come back and find one waiting for me from her in the inbox. So I'd reply without mentioning it either, although I might be emailing her a follow-up of our social conversation at the same time. It was as if we'd created a third person - lynneandsarah who writes in 300 word pieces. But The Oven House (which is slightly more than 300 words) is purely Lynne - it's brilliant.

Monday, November 05, 2007

So where do you drink?

Here's the round table at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. You see, I'm getting ready for my writing trip to America (I know, I know, it's MONTHS away). Best possible research - where do writers' drink?.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Short Review

A great site for picking up short story recommendations has just launched here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Just a little - well mannered - rant!

I must have been about eight when my convent school had it's first 'wear what you want' day. We talked about nothing else for weeks, and I just knew my dress would be the best. It was yellow with mock leather trims (I know, I know, I want one NOW too!). Anyway, I hardly slept all night but imagine my horror when my mum dropped me off at school to find another girl was wearing exactly the same dress. I did what any self-respecting fashionista would do - I stomped out and walked the six miles home, bother the consequences.

Anyway, that dress was from Marks and Spencer and it was a family joke after how I'd never buy anything from there again in case someone else wore the same.

So maybe that's why the adverts featuring Twiggy in a gondola are worrying me so much. Because after all, all she's doing is sitting in a boat looking, apart from the slightly scary eyes, perfectly ordinary.

And then I get it. That's what annoys me. Presumably M&S picked Twiggy because she's an icon still. She represented a whole decade if those photographic collages of the 60's are anything to go by. And she did this by daring to be a bit different. Absolutely not wearing the same dress as anyone else, and people of that age wanted to look llike Twiggy exactly because of that.

I don't believe the M&S ads. I don't believe the same Twiggy who stood gazing at the camera in the 60s - her eyes anything but scary - would choose beige clothes that make her look like anyone else, if a little bit cleaner.

And - to me - she's not a role model for how I want to look when I'm over-50 either, so I can't believe those of that age now want to either. She doesn't look like someone who wants to celebrate her age, but to hide it by becoming too safe. Unthreatening. Beige. Neat.

And that's exactly what Twiggy in the 60s wasn't. She changed the whole way we think about our bodies, right or wrong. But she made things happen.

God when I'm over fifty, I don't want to care what anyone thinks of me anymore. And I certainly don't want to be an M&S Twiggy trying to become invisible, and hoping I might pass for thirty-five.

It's like putting a beautiful fifty year old woman on dull tranquilisers. Break out Twiggy. Rock that boat and make us think again about our bodies - albeit slightly older ones!

And we're off!!!!

Your Messages goes live today and we've had TWO amazing responses already. Yay! This is going to be fun...