Posts Tagged ‘thomas mcdermott’

See actual photos from Paris during World War One of the magnificent chateau that inspired the book Immortal Beauty. Voltaire wrote one of his books in this house. Rousseau also wrote part of a famous novel in the same stately home. Ernest Hemmingway and Somerset Maugham were just a few more of the writers who knew this lovely place that no longer exists. Benjamin Franklin lived in this very park and took the magical waters himself as a cure for his ailments while he served as American Ambassador to France. This house has haunted me from the very beginning. Pulitzer Prize winner, Louis Bromfield wrote about this house vividly in several of his novels, as he was one of the dashing young American Ambulance drivers during the Great War. Stay beautiful My Lovely Immortals!


    At the very heart of Immortal Beaty is humanity’s obssession with beauty. The very concept of beauty is so abstract and personal it is hard to fathom a universal law of beauty. What was considered beautiful in the 18th century is not necessarily viewed the same way here in the 21st. Are there cerain attributes that have been seen as beautiful from the very beginning of mankind? I cannot say. I only know that what I find beautiful, the person standing next to me does not. I certainly do not see The desperate housewives with all of their botox and filler as beautiful. In fact, I find them a little alien and that plays a big part in my book. The rich are distinguishing themselves from the middle class and the poor in a new way. In the past it was large homes and lots of land and expensive clothings and possessions. This has not changed much at all, only now with the available technology in the anti-aging and beauty business, the rich are starting to make themselves look physically different than the rest of us mere mortals. The eyebrows are too high and the lips are too big and the cheeks are too pronounced. They believe these things make them look younger. It does not. It makes them look different. When I see someone on television or in real life who has such visible procedures performed I know immediately that they are older. All the work they’ve had done is shining a bright spotlight on the very thing they are trying to hide. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against any of these things and have had my share of botox. I am not judging these people. I am just noticing them and realizing they no longer look quite…human.

The antagonist in Immortal Beauty, Celine D’Aumont, wants to create a race of beautiful people who live forever with all of us mortals at their beck and call. It may sound like a fantastic and crazy idea, but I see it happening now. Scientists are racing to stop the clock that ticks away in our DNA and who do you think will have access to this technology? It will be the rich, like always. Once again they are taking a step away from the rest of us and proclaiming that they are not the same. Money makes them different, or so they believe. They don’t have to age, they don’t have to suffer like the rest of us. They are secure, or so they belive. At the end of the day, we all grow old and die and this is what we have been trying to avoid since civilization began and probably before. Why are we afraid of this most natural process? When I say ‘we’, I definitely mean me for sure. If I was given the chance to stay youthful and live forever I know I would go for it. What if soon science can offer us these very things? Technology is a double edged sword and things could go horribly wrong in this quest and it also makes great fodder for all sorts of amazing stories, but we are on the brink of a new era. We are becoming a new species through our science. We are manipulating genes and inserting technology into our bodies at a rapid pace. Everyone has their computer strapped to their hand and it is common to see people all day long staring into their little screens instead of seeing what is right before their eyes. We are no longer just human. We are humans interfacing with machines and the machines are making their way into our biology. Are we the last of the natural children? Will we eventually be seen as neanderthals to these modern people or will we reach a point where our humanity rejects the technology and we return to the earth? I wish I was immortal so I could see how this all plays out. Will the rich turn themselves into a different looking race entirely so you can tell immediately who is not a mere mortal? Ultimately the question is, would I jump on this bandwagon and try to stay young and beautiful forever, or choose to grow old and wise like my lovely grandparents. Ah the immortal implications make mind reel. Remember, you ARE beautiful my lovely Immortals!


Posted: 21st June 2012 by Thomas Mcdermott in Fiction Action Adventure Thriller

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     In the book Immortal Beauty, one of the main themes is the recurrence of the past, or pasts. Years ago I had a friend who was older than myself and he would say things like: “When you’ve lived as long as I have you will begin to realize that things come back to you again and again.” This piqued my curiosity and I asked him to elaborate. He believed that in this life we all have issues and problems and things that make life unpleasant, difficult, or even impossible. He said that we must deal with these things or they will return to us, perhaps in a different form, or through a different person, but the past will return again and again until we find resolution. Perhaps we had a violent relationship in the past and somehow we find ourselves in a situation very similar to this relationship a year later. My friend said that each time the past returned it was our chance to welcome it back in, or deal with it once and for all and be done with it. I like the Eastern approach to this concept. As our issue continues to line up and knock at our front door once a year we are invited to welcome it, embrace it and thank whatever the issue or problem was, and acknowledge that we no longer have any use for these things. Perhaps they served us well in the past, but in the present there is no place for such things. As we grow and evolve on a personal level, we may see that being manipulative in the past served us well and even saved us from any unpleasant moments in our lives. Anyone from a dysfunctional family, and I believe every family has their dysfunction, we may have had to use weapons instead of tools to get by. These things become a part of us and we find ourselves yelling at our friends like we used to yell at our siblings. It makes no sense to them, but to us it seems justifiable until the guilt sets in. I have learned that when these things return to me I can acknowledge them willingly and deal with them as they occur, but if I am not able to or if I just don’t want to, I know that they will return once again to knock on my door and ask for a little time and a lot of understanding.

Sasha White, the heroine in Immortal Beauty has to deal with her own past lives and accept who she used to be in order to be who she is today. She is my unwilling heroine, strong and feisty and used to getting her own way. She has no time or place for the past in her busy life and when it begins to intrude upon her lovely Parisian life, she becomes angry. I believe this is a common response to facing things unwanted but necessary. Sometimes anger can give us enough momentum to suit up and face the things that are pissing us off. There is the saying that those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it and when I was younger my grandmother warned me of going in circles. At the time I did not know what she meant. Now it is crystal clear. I have spent most of my life spinning in circles and repeating the same mistakes over and over again not realizing that it was me who was in my own way. We cling to things familiar. For humans the unknown is the most frightening yet compelling thing out there in life. I realize that many people reach a plateau in their lives and are happy to set up camp there and remain forever. As they grow older they act more and more like the parents they said they would never be like: the pattern is repeated and passed down again and again. There are others, however who reach the plateau and wonder what is over the next mountain. These people keep their eyes on the horizon and continue to move and change and evolve and grow into something completely different fromt he person they started out as. These people inspire me. They give me hope that I can finally embrace my past and set it free with a wink and a smile and set a course for a new world, a world that I help create and discover with renewed hope and wonder. I have learned not to regret my oh so sordid past and see it as a part of the whole. If we learn from our mistakes then they really are just lessons and nothing to be ashamed of. Breathe in, breathe out, release your pasts….all of them! Stay beautiful my lovely Immortals!