I’ve always felt a strong connection with Miles Vorkosigan. As an undiagnosed autistic teen growing up in an abusive household, I quickly learned that the key to survival was simple: stubborn your way through.
I’m nowhere near on Miles’ level when it comes to being a sheer, unstoppable juggernaut. But Miles was one of the people who showed me that it could be done. That no matter what your obstacles, if you are stubborn enough (and creative enough, and maybe just crazy enough) you can still beat everything in your way.
A few years ago, I learned that Michael had nearly died several times over the past year and we hadn’t known. That he was likely to die in the next few years if we couldn’t get him medical treatment. Treatment that we had no way to get because we were broke and living off money my aunt sent from Israel to keep a roof over our heads.
It broke me. Utterly, completely broke me. I remember going out for a walk and not being able to see where I was going for the tears in my eyes.
There was a little park with a circular garden in the middle. I remember walking around it several times just trying to come to grips.
And a line from Memory floated into my head.
“I am the man who owns Vorkosigan Vashnoi.”
“A mountain man, dumb as his rocks, doesn’t know when to quit.”
I took a breath. Walked back to the hotel we were staying in. I opened up Memory and re-read Miles Vorkosigan’s revelation about himself.
I wrapped myself in my own elemental stubbornness and knew we would find a way.
A little later, I got on Goodreads and for the first time ever sent a message to an author that I like. I thanked Lois Bujold for Miles, explained that he was something of a role model for me and that her writing was helping me through one of the worst times in my life.
She was awesome enough to write back. I think I scared her a bit. The idea that someone could take her “hyperactive little git” as a role model was… well, not something she was prepared for, apparently. She said she was glad that her writing had helped, but expressed… concern at the idea of someone modeling themself off of Miles.
It’s nearly 5 years later. My partner, while not health, is nowhere near in danger of dying anytime soon. Miles Vorkosigan is still one of my favorite characters.
And somedays, I remember Bujold’s supportive, but appalled, reply, and I just have to laugh.
Don’t worry Simon, I have a rheostat installed. And thanks to Miles, I’ve learned how to dial it UP when I need to.
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