I was asked a flattering question at an inspiration and aspiration event I did for school students last week -
Standing in front of a hundred people, for a demanding four hour session, how can you be so confident?
I might have banked some glory, and said, "it just comes naturally...", or "it's down to experience...", or "it's all in the planning..."
Instead, I was honest and told my young questioner -
It's the confidence suit.
I was reminded of the question this week, when at a magnificent art exhibition in Cambridge (the city does lots of this cultural stuff, and despite looking like a beer swilling buffoon I do love it) -
I may have discovered the secret of eternal youth.
(Quite a claim I know, but I'm in that kind of mood.)
I've had an amazing week. Firstly, talking to some 15/16 year olds at Pembroke College, Cambridge University, about raising aspirations.
These are some of the students, and what a wonderful group, you can see it in the picture. So polite, smart, creative and full of energy, a real pleasure to work with.
Next came a session on the secrets of success with eight schools from across Devon, Dorset and Somerset, which was an incredibly uplifting day.
I tried a new exercise, giving groups of five a minute to address the United Nations about an issue of great importance to them.Read more
I got to meet my hero this week.
I happened to be at BBC HQ in London, with the radio comedy unit (it's an ambition of mine to write for them, if I can work out how to be funny) and there he was outside, keeping an eye on the visitors.
Ok, I know he was beyond a proper meeting, but even some time with your late hero can make you reflect on why they mean so much to you.
The quotation was well chosen, I think, for the entrance to an organisation which lives by free speech.
And as I stood there, thinking, it occured to me that it was Remembrance Weekend.
When we honour those countless millions of men and women who died for our freedom today.Read more
Writers sometimes get asked what I often think of as the hardest question -
Why do you write?
It's tough because writing means so much to us we can struggle to explain.
However! A few thoughts -
Writing has taught me more about myself, and the world, than anything else I've ever done in life.
It forces you to think deeply about characters - people - what makes them tick, why they are what they are, and why they do the things they do.
Writing is also an invitation to explore the world.Read more