Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female prime minister in 2010. Reported in the Media as a cold, unemotional, and sometimes heartless woman, I found it difficult to like her. But after reading her book ‘My Story’ and seeing her in person today on her book tour at Newcastle City Hall, my view completely changed.
What I saw as Julia Gillard being cold was a dedicated public servant simply trying to do her job. What I saw as unemotional was a person simply avoiding being reported as a hysterical woman.
This morning my mum and I headed to City Hall, bright and early, to Julia’s second Newcastle session on her book tour (she added today’s session when last night’s sold out in a matter of minutes). On stage she was relaxed and candid, making jokes and speaking openly with the audience. In a way, she looked like she was enjoying herself, able to spend time with people who supported her without the critical spotlight the Media. The roar of applause at the end of the session was genuine. I can’t help but feel proud that I witnessed this historic moment in time where our country was first led by a woman.
Julia spoke of purpose. She said that without purpose you won’t get anywhere. With purpose, you can achieve anything. Purpose got her through all the obstacles to first get into politics, and purpose kept her going through those difficult days in office.
It made me ask: so what’s my purpose? And in particular, what’s my purpose when I write? I’ve been thinking about this all day.
I write to make people think differently about something, to question their prejudices. I spoke about this in my recent blog hop. I think this is more easily achieved in short stories – they are more focused – but harder to define in longer pieces.
I’ve just started re-writing my novel with a hope to get it published one day, so this is a good time for me to stop and think about the purpose. What am I trying to achieve?
If my answer to this is ‘I want to be published one day’ then I am destined to fail. That’s not enough to drive through obstacles and overcome criticism. If Julia’s purpose was simply ‘to lead the country’ her success would have ended the minute she became PM.
The answer for my novel needs to be much more than simply getting published. And I’ve been working on a response:
‘The purpose of my novel is to show readers that two people from different backgrounds and with different personalities can in fact be perfectly matched, even if they don’t realise it at the time.’
Like my novel, this statement is a work in progress. I’ll no doubt add to it and play around with the wording as I go.
But my novel now has purpose, in turn giving me purpose. And according to Julia Gillard that’s all I really need to help me succeed.Follow @jessieansons