I have a friend who back-engineered the Great Pyramid and wrote a book about his findings. He wrote a second book about advanced engineering in ancient Egypt. Scientists did a double take when he reported space-age tolerances in the monuments. That means some stone is polished so that the surface is all the same smoothness to within 2/10,000th of an inch. That’s way smaller than one human hair. This is Christopher Dunn (http://www.gizapower.com/). He told me recently that the biggest gift his books have given him is not the trips to Egypt he’s led, not the many radio and TV interviews, but his new job consulting at a cutting-edge company envisioning the future.
My latest novel, The Star Family, is bringing me a great gift this Saturday. I’m returning home and signing in Old Salem during Candle Tea. Old Salem is now a living museum, but was one of the three original settlements of my ancestors in North Carolina in the 1700s. Candle Tea draws many of visitors to watch people in period costumes made beeswax candles and trim them with red crepe paper to catch the drops of wax when they’re lit during the Candlelight Love Feasts on Christmas Eve.
All during my childhood and adolescence, I would walk the cobbled streets of Old Salem to enjoy the peace and symmetry of the buildings, to look through the antique glass windows at the slight distortions, to visit my grandparents and older ancestors in God’s Acre where now my parents rest. I felt rooted there, truly at home. In my twenties, I taught meditation in a white house at the bottom of Old Salem, weaving spiritual teachings of my past and present together.
Christmas Eve found my mother and me in the choir singing for the love feasts, enjoying the smell of beeswax, Moravian coffee and buns. Then we went home. As a child, me clutching my candle, still in my velvet dress and black patent leather shoes, I ate Moravian ginger cookies and my parents’ pleaded for me to go to bed now, so Santa could come.
On Saturday, I bring my Christmas mystery back to its origins. It’s an offering of love and appreciation.
What’s the greatest gift your writing has brought you?