Thank-you and many others for your responses to my question: what do you want to achieve in 2020?
I have to say I’ve enjoyed our interactions since I started this series and once again, I love your spirited response.
I don't think I want to achieve anything. Does that sound hopeless or without motivation? What I am trying to say is that achieving is like having a vision of what you want to happen...for me achieving something is pressure to perform, or accomplish.
I admire your resolution and your grounded character. I admire how comfortable you are with yourself.
How I wish I had more of that!
After reading your response I decided to probe my discomfort.
In the last few years, something has happened to make me realise that I have a use-by date. Some might say it has already passed! It’s that small voice in my head that drives me to question (and it is always about the questions)
What do I want to do with the rest of my life?
Some years ago I interviewed a British peer.
Jean Corston was raised on a council estate and left school at sixteen because her family needed the money. Her first daughter died at birth. Jean went back to her studies and became a barrister in her forties.
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair made her a peer in 2005 and she became the Right Honourable The Baroness Corston. After a commission to study and report on vulnerable women in the criminal justice system, she became a campaigner for women in prisons.
MaryAnne, the thing that stuck with me most about Jean Corston was something she said about the House of Lords on One Plus One. At first it seemed to her a stuffy organisation which frustrated legislation. But once she got among her new tribe she had a revelation.
I went down and found that it (the House of Lords) was for the people. They were remarkable. I began to realise that these were people who would not have stood for election but who had nothing to prove. They didn’t want anything from anybody. They were beyond ambition.
Well, I cannot say I have reached that stage yet, but I fully intend to. I intend to extend myself by creating work that’s important to me. I hope it's important for other people too. I intend to make the most of my available time to create and experience pleasure and to have purpose.
I love that you are not a people-pleaser MaryAnne:
I don't believe I have to achieve anything, prove anything, or create anything....I think I just have to show up, be willing to do whatever comes, walk through whatever door that opens, be kind and present to whoever is before me... Isn't that achieving something?
I chose an image to go with this post entitled Woman on a Tangerine Ribbon by the Chinese artist Su Xinping. I bought it nearly twenty years ago and I love it. Watching acrobats flinging ribbons across a stage, I visualise a ribbon as having two sides: shiny and matte. The slinky material throws up unexpected bumps, softens and stiffens at inconceivable moments. And yet it doesn't rest.
What I'm saying is that I don't think there is a wrong path.
MaryAnne, thank-you for your provocative and inspiring response.
I will try to post more thoughts before I go on tour with David Suchet in January. Then this series will take a break for a few months.
I want to wish you all a joyous Christmas and a healthy, vibrant 2020. Thank-you for answering my questions. You have helped me so much.
I've had so much love thrown my way since announcing my departure from the ABC that I think it's only right to acknowledge everyone who’s contributed to making One Plus One a success.
On the day of my final interview, I asked cameraman/photographer Adam Wyatt to take some images of my final production day.
It's with great pleasure that I introduce you to my colleagues, some of whom I've worked with since the beginning of the show in July 2010.
First up, I have to look good, right?
That is only possible with the transformative powers of the ABC News hair and make-up department.
For my final interview, make-up artist Elle Cox worked her magic.
Make-up artists don’t only make you LOOK good, they help you relax and focus before an interview. It’s like a therapy session/a laugh/switch off time before the guest arrives.
This is Clark Sheedy (pictured below) who supervises the make-up department. I've worked with him for around two decades and he’s a fabulous artist and an amazing organiser.
In early 2018 we finally moved into our own studio. Actually, it’s the same studio where Planet America and 7.30 go to air. We use four remote cameras, which means there are no operators on the studio floor. Just the guest and me… or on this special occasion, just presenter (Hamish Macdonald) and me.
The studio is worked by a director and technical director. On my last day it was Tim Kennedy and Michael Hartman...
Our regular director is Janet Argall with Michael Hartman (in glasses) as TD.
Between them, they adjust the cameras, lighting and sound and then Janet switches between the vision coming out of different cameras and make the program look like a smooth conversation.
My final interview with Hamish was extremely enjoyable, much to my surprise! I was expecting to be anxious but Hamish made me feel very comfortable. I had no idea where it was all going to go.
With the interview over, it was time for the fun part! I have always loved having the photos taken at the conclusion of each interview. It’s a moment of relief and joy.
And here below is the the secret to my great Professional Selfies. Thanks Adam!!
The final two images are a tribute to One Plus One’s production brilliant team: video editor Holly Dormor (left) and producer Barbie Dutter.
Each week without fail, Barbie and Holly fine tune my interview; editing it to 28 minutes and adding my reactions, different shots, photo images and video. We are a lean team, but we all share a deep commitment to our guests, who so generously give their time and their stories.
It’s been an honour to work with Barbie and Holly and I will miss them
After nine years and five hundred interviews, I will be leaving One Plus One - and the ABC - in mid September 2019.
I'd like to say that my mainstream journalism career as a reporter, foreign correspondent and presenter has been a complete privilege. One Plus One is my baby and you don't leave something you've created without a heavy heart. This was my decision alone.
I'm leaving because I need challenge. After years of learning from my interviewees, inspiring people who have created vibrant lives from the realities life deals, I too, want to be a little bit brave. I'll be working on my own projects, collaborations and will continue to leading tours with Renaissance Tours and the Art Gallery Society of NSW.
I'm happy to say that One Plus One will continue without me, initially with guest presenters. I will be curating a collection of my favourite interviews from over the years and for my final program (date TBC) - you asked for it - I will be the interviewee!
Much more to come ... xx
(Thanks to my colleague Marton Dobras for the photo)