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‘You have breath for no more than 99 words. What would they be?’

I’ve been asked to contribute to the second volume – ahem! As the first volume of this terrific compilation is curated by the wonderful Liz Gray and features contributers like Tony Benn, Diane Athill, Nelson Mandela, Ben Okri and David Almond, (And you should get hold of a copy.) I’m a bit daunted. What could I write that could sit on the same pages as such luminaries? Help! It’s a bit tempting to wax lyrical. But alongside Rumi and Ursula Le Guinn my words might be flapping pigeons trying to pretend they were swans. On the other hand, I could be melodramatic and pretend it’s my deathbed speech. That runs the risk of me going on a bit too long. Anyway, deathbed speeches tend to be interrupted by death mid sentence and I wouldn’t like that. I could write a manifesto – well, minfesto. What to leave in and what to take out? Walls of paper balls are hitting my study wall. And anyway, Desmond Tutu is the master of short, sharp directives. In the first volume a an amazing healer called Elizabeth St John uses her 99 words to say she wouldn't waste her breath.

So, I think I’m going to write the sort of note I could leave on the kitchen table – to be read by anyone. A shopping list of ideas for the future. All suggestions are welcome.

ll suggestions are welcome.

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