I'm in the middle of a top secret urgent collaborative project about which I can say very little, except that it's a YA novel. This morning I found myself writing a scene where two girls alter their appearance, and in doing so, take on aspects of each other's personality.

It struck me that variations of this scene have appeared in several of the books that my collaborative partner and I have written lately. The girls swap clothes, change each other's hair, put on makeup or take it off, and become different people. It's all about trying on different identities, becoming someone else for a night or a day. It's almost too obvious to note that this experimentation with identity, trying to work out who am I? is a central project for most young people. It's the time in your life when you have the most freedom to play with different looks, different ways of being, when all your options are open.

Little kids do it too. This week Evie has been to kinder once as Snow White, once as a fairy and once as a "schoolgirl."

I wish I'd had more confidence, when I was sixteen, to try different styles of being, but I was crippled by acute self-consciousness and my main desire at the time was to be invisible. I didn't realise then that strong visibility can be a disguise, too, and perhaps a more effective one, than trying to melt into the shadows.

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