I recently read The Killing Season Uncut, Sarah Ferguson’s behind the scenes book about the TV
show of the same name. It was a brilliant program that detailed the tumultuous
2007-2013 Labor government and all the associated leadership drama down here in
Australia. I was a bit disappointed in the book actually because I thought it
just went through the same timeline and facts and interviews of the show, and
didn’t really have that much behind the scenes information to warrant a whole
Anyway, something that really struck me was Julia Gillard’s
comments about securing minority government in 2010; that it wasn’t inevitable
that she would become Prime Minister, she actually had to work incredibly hard
to secure the support of the independents to form government. It wasn’t inevitable,
and I’m sure we all know that, but I don’t think we give it enough credit.
I’m also fascinated to discover how successful people get to
where they are in life – where and what they studied, where they worked, where
they lived, how they got the lucky break. I love these stories, mainly I think
because I’m still starting out in my life and career so it’s interesting and
helpful to see how other people have done it. And of course, since I’m attempting
to carve a creative career, it’s heartening to see how many different ways
different artists have ‘made it’. Success is not inevitable, you have to work
at it, and again we all know that but we don’t really think about it.
But that’s how things seem. Inevitable. We look at history in
a broad sense and people’s lives and careers and it’s easy to think that what
transpired was the only possible option, and then make so many observations
based off that.
This year Malcolm Turnbull took a gamble on clearing out the
senate with a double dissolution election, but he’s ended up with one even more
unmanageable. So it was easy to say afterwards what a mistake this was, but I
remember at the time many commentators saying what a brave and clever move it
was. And maybe it could have been. It was never inevitable that it happened
this way just like it was never inevitable that Gillard won in 2010.
And when the careers of successful people are written about,
there is always an air of inevitability. Like it was fine they worked dead end
jobs for twenty years because they ended up on TV eventually or they made all
the right career moves because ultimately they became CEO. And of course that’s
never the case. You have to extraordinarily hard and have many lucky breaks to
become successful. I’m sure a lot of people who didn’t ‘make it’ didn’t think
that was inevitable. Every decision you make affects the inevitably of your
I don’t really know what I’m trying to say here. Something
about how the future is what we make of it. I guess I’m just scared looking at
America and Donald Trump. It’s not inevitable that he becomes President but
it’ll certainly look that way if he does. And I guess I’m worried looking at my
own future. It’s certainly not inevitable that I get where I want to.
But not inevitable that I don’t.
I didn’t include this initially but thought it was worth adding. I bought The Killing Season Uncut at a book signing and talk that Sarah Ferguson gave. Because she had to leave straight after the talk, she was signing copies beforehand and my girlfriend and I got caught up in the thrill of everything and decided to get her to sign a copy. We’re not usually the sort of people to do that (hell, we’re not the sort of people to buy a new book full price) and we were very nervous meeting her and didn’t really say anything. Sarah picked up that we were feeling weird and didn’t say much back to us. She spelt my girlfriend’s name wrong but we were too polite to tell her and it was all very embarrassing. When it came to her actual talk, my girlfriend and I stood at the back of the busy bookstore but before she started, Sarah pointed out some seats near the front we hadn’t seen and she made us walk through the whole place to go sit at them. Look, it wasn’t our best night but she spoke well and I’m glad we went.