I have just returned from Europe where I immersed myself in Sisi. No, that’s not a mud bath or a little-known but exciting author. Sisi was almost the last Empress of Austria, the beloved wife of Franz Josef until her death, and the subject of my work in progress. It was quite a thrill to visit her apartments in the Hofburg and Schonbrunn, to see the bed she slept in, the desk at which she wrote her letters and poems, the gym equipment she used to maintain her figure and health, to imagine her in the environment she found so oppressive. A pity there was a thick red rope in the way to prevent me from sitting where she sat, but I understand the necessity. Surrounded by such opulence, I asked myself, what drove her to flee it? Was it the always prying eyes? The iron-bound court protocol? Was it that Franz Josef wasn’t equipped emotionally to give her the kind of devotion she needed because he was devoted first to duty? What made her so unhappy she had to search the world for fulfillment. These are a few of the questions I must answer.
Sisi will be a challenge.