Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Marian L. Thorpe, the author of Empire’s Legacy trilogy (out now as complete omnibus version in paperback and e-book – an absolute steal at $5.99) – one of my favourite reads of the year so far.
Bjørn asked a hard and insightful question: what is my series, Empire’s Legacy, really about? At first glance, they might appear to be a simple adventure-romance trilogy, set in an early-medieval world, with people a lot like Gaels and Vikings and Saxons vying for power and land, and the memory of the Roman Empire just barely alive.
At first glance. But about half-way through the first of the trilogy, Empire’s Daughter, the character Casyn says this to my protagonist, eighteen-year-old Lena: “…we cannot shape the circumstances to fit our lives, only our lives to fit the circumstances. What defines us, as men and women, is how we respond to those circumstances.”
Much of the Empire’s Legacy series looks, through its protagonist’s eyes, at the difficulty and the price of taking personal responsibility for the choices we make in life, good or bad; about shaping our responses to events – political and personal – that change our lives. This isn’t to say my characters are Panglossian, or Pollyannas. They know they don’t live in the best of all possible worlds, and that not all is sweetness and light. Life throws some horrible things at them: war, betrayal, violence, loss, rejection. It’s unfair. Some of it is imposed by forces beyond their control. Some of it is a direct result of personal choice, and some of it is a combination of those things.
Part I • Part II
…and after all this fun and games I sort of broke.
Living with an invisible chronic illness that limits your energy means that there are limits to your energy. (In)conveniently, I never remember that until the red lamp is not even blinking in a warning, but is the only part of my body and mind that remains functioning. I can’t rest in advance and I can’t just “push myself”, I know it never ends well when I try, that I must take a break. I even know the definition of insanity. I always do the same thing. I am yet to gain any benefits from that.
Surprisingly, this time was not an exception. I pushed and pushed until I reached the absolute, unbreakable limit, then broke it too. That was it for my participation in the move, as I became a near-literal deadweight. Husby took care of the rest whilst I was plopped on our new sofa, staring melancholically at the garden outside our window. But I did get an unexpected benefit. A magical one.
I kind of lost track of chronology due to sheer exhaustion, so this instalment won’t be neatly divided into days of the week.
My dear friend G arrived on Saturday and ensured that I will remain grateful forever by offering to paint ceilings. My spine makes various things impossible – painting ceilings is one of those things. So I spent the first few hours tearing off the remaining wallpaper in the living room. Finishing the task coincided with G and Husby beginning to sand various parts of the room, which created so much noise that I ran upstairs and made sure not to get any rest anytime soon. Some wallpaper there was coming off, so I grabbed a corner, thinking about nothing in particular, and pulled at it.
Old Vumman, as it soon transpired, had three hobbies. One was placing motivational texts along the lines of “If you dribble when you piddle, be a sweetie and wipe the seetie” (yes, SEETIE) everywhere. Those are gone by now. Another was putting nails in every wall, at random spots and random angles. Those are mostly gone. The third hobby, however, was wallpapering. The living room had one layer. The gym room and my future office had six. Using the steamer helped only partly, because the last layer was something between plastic and paper, just thick enough to refuse to come off, and just paper-y enough to tear off some of the wall, which is made of something that may or may not be cardboard. If I had known, I wouldn’t have pulled at that corner, just tried to glue it and told myself that I adore Old Vumman’s wallpaper choices… but… well. See the picture above to get an idea how far I got after two days of doing this. Layer four was actually quite pretty, looking as if some graffiti artists came over, sprayed paint in the air, then sneezed (many times), but all of the many wallpapers formed a semi-whole that would neither come off all at once nor one layer after the other.