On Revient Toujours à ses Premières Amours

Waiter, I say, waiter, there is some French goobledeegook on the title of this post. I’ll never patronize this establishment again!

Ah, shuddup. Mad Genius Club is culture!

And the French goobledeegook Ahem, the beautiful and poetic phrase above is French for “We tend to return to our first obsessions.”

Look, it’s just way prettier than the English pithy phrases for the same thing, which range from the innocuous “like a bad penny” to the nauseating “Like a dog returns to his vomit.”

Oh, perhaps it is getting older. Though if it is this child of — coughs as the church hymnal said — the lunar age, is going to sound downright futuristic as she ages into senility.

Or perhaps it is….

Well, I’ve been doing a deep dive into a blog about the work being done on the human genome. And the bizarre thing is how much of us is dictated by genes. Oh, not…. not everything. And you can overcome a lot by sheer determination, not to mention modern medicine, because…. well, being human is not for wusses, I guess.

For instance, I was probably born ADD — weirdly, the concussions might have helped there, since it limited brainpower somewhat — but unlike my ancestors, I haven’t grown more vague and grumpy as I get older. You see we have a mouth conformation that means we get bad sleep apnea in our mid twenties, and then live the rest of our lives on short sleep and grumpy as three armadillos tied by the tail.

And all of a sudden, once I figured that out (Took me a while since the family treated “you sleep less and less and poorer and poorer as you get older” as something that happens to EVERYONE, so I obviously thought they knew. I mean, both sides agreed, which is rare enough.) I understood why from about 40 on married couples sleep in separate beds, and can be heard to snore by the entire neighborhood. Right?

Also, I recovered my power of concentration, to the extent it ever existed.

So, you know, these things are genetic AND environmental. And if something genetic is really really bad and against where you want to get to, you can overcome it. It will just be harder than for someone who was born with better genetics. Because nature is never fair.

For instance, I suck at languages. No, listen to me, I suck at languages. And hate learning them. I know this because my brother is one of those people who picks up new languages effortlessly, including ones that he shouldn’t be able to. Like, Spanish. Spanish is really hard for native Portuguese speakers, because it’s so similar to Portuguese, your brain keeps glitching and re-writing.

But he went on vacation to Spain. FOR TWO WEEKS. And came back speaking Castellano Cerrao, without an accent, the bastage.

Me? I have to brute force it. Might never have tried to learn languages, except they made me learn French starting in 5th grade, and I wanted to learn English because I wanted to read un-translated Heinlein. And then, as it happened, due to family plus the times I lived in, I found myself in humanities, and languages are the things that are the least “Matter of opinion” in the humanities. (Even more than geography.) So I went into that.

And every time I’m learning a language I have to brute force my brain into it.

It involves a crazy amount of studying and memorizing for basic vocabulary, and then spending a year reading in the language, with a dictionary to hand, and a pencil to write translations above EACH word.

It’s….. unpleasant. But it works. Even though my brain wasn’t designed for this, in any way, shape or form.

It is the same way I learned to write, oh, contemporary mysteries, which I never thought I would, for various reasons. Or shifter series, which was so against my mind-grain, that the d*mn series is …. well, hardly fantasy at all.

Which brings us to pennies and dogs and vomit…..

The series has been on ice for a while — I think it’s cursed, yo. BUT the next book TRULY is almost done, and has to be done by…. consults mental calendar, tomorrow night. Mostly because I need to catch up to my publication schedule, which was thrown upside down and sideways by being sick most of January and spending Friday recovering.

My current editor, the ADD raccoon shape shifter is getting annoying on the subject. (Yeah, yeah, I KNOW “write faster, toots.”)

The thing is, while the series was in hiatus, 14 year old Sarah who devoured the “Chariot of the gods” type tripe by the metric truckload got hold of it.

On Revient Toujours à ses Premières Amours.

Ancient aliens? Oh, you should be so lucky.

Sure, of course ancient aliens, and mysterious ruins, and mystical star people, and …. oh, dear.

I got some truly bizarre science fiction in my shifter fantasy.

As though the poor thing weren’t already eccentric enough.

Ah, well. To quote from the French again: Je suis qui je suis et je plais a qui je plais.

Or in English. I yam what I yam….

And sometimes the potato ain’t all sweet. 😉

*Featured image Nataliya Voitkevich at Pexels.

33 comments

  1. I guess that’s why my next book is going into World War 2. That was my favorite reading topic when I was a kid.

    1. I avoided WWI like the plague. I even shaped my dissertation and secondary field to avoid WWI and the inter-war years. So guess who ended up doing a deep dive into WWI eastern front and the interwar years in Central Europe, to write an alt-history trilogy?

      My muse is a [CENSORED in three languages.]

      1. IIRC that was the ‘Powers’ series? Set in Austria-Hungary? I remember reading the first one, I need to go back and grab the other two.

        1. It was so terrible. And the period ended so badly for so many, especially in Central Europe, that I really did not want to dig into that topic. My opinion has not changed, but I matured enough to realize that I have to make myself read into horrible things (Great Leap Forward, Holodomor, interwar Germany and Austria and Hungary).

          1. I hesitate to write WWI into my own books as well. The 19th century was so full of optimism, and advances … and then it all came crashing down, so horrifically. I skipped entirely over it, save for a few mentions here and there, and especially in the last book … which was set in WWII.

            1. Yeah. I somehow ended up reading ‘The Emerald City of Oz’ after reading ‘The Guns of August.’

              Completely freaked me out when Emerald City started with basically exactly the same royal party that Guns did…

          2. Ah, that makes sense. Though, what was weird to me how such a big war always seemed to get sort of bypassed in the text books when I was growing up. It was ‘here there be biplanes’ ‘trench warfare’ and ‘Germany surrendered for some reason’.

            About the only thing that gave any idea of the scale was how pretty much every innovator in Chemistry around that time got drafted and died in the war. It’s bad when my chem texts are covering history in more detail than the history books were.

            It hasn’t been until the last few years I’ve found out much of anything about it at all.

            1. The centenary really opened up materials, especially in English relating to the Eastern Front and what came after. The US tends to skim over the conflict, because we got in late, and it was a “good” war. We didn’t suffer the cultural dislocation that Europeans did. Also, our history is all Western Front, so things like the White War and North Africa get skipped (unless there’s a Lawrence of Arabia fan in the room).

              1. also they blame the whole thing on Nationalism, but of course it wasn’t. It was internationalism in the form of interlinked families trying to control the world.

            2. That skipping in school, and movies and TV, is what sent me to “find” WWI in 6th grade. It’s become my third favorite historical peroid and favorite after the failure of the Crusader States.

              1. I could see that. I should probably go digging into all the run-up to WWI as well. I sort of get the impression that there was a lot of high stakes political maneuvering before then that set the stage for the insanity too.

                And I mean aside from all the offensive treaties. I get the impression Bismark in particular set up a lot of things that turned out to be landmines.

                1. More the opposite. Bismark had an alliance with Russia and good relations with the UK. He opposed German naval expansion, which is a reason Wilheim II dismissed him. With him gone when the Russia treaty expired no one bothered to renew it givin France their opening.

                  Bismark was probably key in delaying general European war along with the Scramble for Africa.

  2. It’s actually nicer than the bad penny and dog…It’s more like you always return to your first love. (I’m currently studying French on DuoLingo, Maybe you should try that the next time you want to learn a language?) And yes, I mix and glitch my languages together, but I’ve never to truly fluent in any other. I grew up around Spanish in Phoenix, so knew quite a bit, studied Russian for 2 years in HS and College, went into the Army and did Vietnamese for 7 years (but not speaking it really) I lived in Okinawa for a year and picked up a little Japanese. Hubby did Chinese in the military so I got a little polyglot of that. We took Hidatsa together for 2 semesters while he was teaching in North Dakota on the reservation. And now I’m learning French…And so, the French Frenchified Vietnamese (so it doesn’t have characters like Chinese anymore, but the diacritical marks are similar…but things aren’t pronounced the same, and even the same spelling of the word does NOT mean the same thing, so, yeah, stuff gets Quisine-Arted all over the place. Which is why- Toi hoc tieng paruski dva god. And why I can’t speak anything other than English fluently. And that is iffy at times with dysphasia when the migraines are bad.

    But I agree that we do come back to our first loves, and that those might be a little obsessive at time. (ahem, horses). And I definitely read more Sci-fi than fantasy growing up, and tend to prefer writing more science based fantasy I think because of it.

  3. If we return to our first loves, then there’s going to be science fantasy in my future, between Andre Norton and Leigh Brackett and all the other awesome puply goodness and telepathic spaceship cats, and…

    And yes, the lovecraftian-tinged science fantasy WIP with psychics and aliens is well past 20K on the hard drive, and I was hoping to finish it this year. We’ll see.

    I still have running screaming into the night as an option.

    1. I’m strongly inclining to door number three myself. I think it has to do with the End of the Six Weeks Is Nigh.

    2. Yes, the world needs more Science Fantasy.

      I think that may be my first obsession too. I’m of the generation that grew up with the original Star Wars, and its blend of scifi, mysticism, and a bit of crazy Western have rubbed off a lot on the sort of ideas I enjoy.

      Of the six or so world ideas I can think of off of the top of my head, 2/3 of them have combinations of things that are understood and things that no-one is quite sure what’s really going on.

      I wonder if the key part is that part of the world’s systems are tamed, and part of them are simply not?

  4. The influence of genes vs environment is fascinating, which is probably why human cloning keeps appearing in my stuff, because it’s a way of trying to tease them apart, even if only as a thought experiment. I’ve got a dozen (if not more) Grissom timeline novels and shorter works all trying to get written at once — and there’s a second version of the timeline that branches because a certain character is in a different place at a key moment, so he ends up on a different side. Part of me wants to write it as well, but I can’t figure out how to do it that wouldn’t be monumentally confusing.

      1. And bioengineering is a huge thing in the Grissom timeline — the moral panic that becomes the Sharp Wars is as much about bioengineering as cloning. Almost all the stuff that’s crowding into my headspace right now is heavy on both — and it’s hard to get anything finished when my brain is wanting to work on everything at once.

  5. Please provide me with contact info for this editor of whom you speak.
    They and I need to join forces to conspire on how best to light a small bonfire under someone’s Portagee fundament.

  6. Brandon Sanderson’s Kickstarter is up to 27 million. Heh!

    And the salt continues to flow among the usual suspects, although it’s turning into whines and begging for Sanderson to give the money to them instead.

    And apparently Scalzi opined on the FIRST DAY that Sanderson was only successful because he’s a White Male and Privileged.

    Sanderson is a professional, but it’s abundantly clear who isn’t.

  7. “That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fools bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire…”

    Gah. That means I’m going to be writing high fantasy. Giants and gnonmes. Dragons and mountains. Sweeping vistas and deep, dark caves. A mighty Quest from sundered home, through darkened forest, o’er mountain pass and across raging rivers. A journey. A map. And a key.

    Then the Anabasis in space crossed with the Asiatic Fleet. Alien and human factions. Betrayals and subterfuge. Prophetic dreams and mysterious powers. A long journey home through enemies on every side. And a big battle at the end.

    Then, I dunno, The Wind in the Willows with aliens and robots crossed with Legos? My childhood was all over the place with interests. Just about anything could come up and I could point to it as something I’d gotten interested in.

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