_ I watched an interesting program on BBC last night (yes, another one and I know it’s becoming boring). This time it was on the history of Jerusalem. I am not interested in religion, but am interested in geography and history. The program was narrated by author Simon Sebag Montefiore, who has written a biography of the city. The convoluted history (and myths) guarantees that there will never be peace and quiet. And, there is a difference between history and what is sold as history to the gullible.
I learned much, but one fact was surprising (it should not have been). It seems that successive groups, who controlled the city, stole elements from their predecessors. Jews adopted and adapted pagan rituals; Christians pilfered from the Jews (get someone to admit that!); etc.
This was particularly interesting for me. In my first novel, Sister Sisteron, I wrote the following line: A hymn stolen from another faith ended the service. I made this up, because it enhanced the scene, sounded good, and seemed plausible. Little did I know that I was not writing fiction. I was merely writing about common practice in the field of religion. It’s tough to be a novelist, because it’s tough to make up stuff that some fool is not already doing.
Since we’re fast approaching Christmas, it’s helpful to remember that this day was a Pagan festival. Some kid might have been born in Bethlehem on that day. Just like the United States moving president’s birthday to make for better holidays, someone moved the birthday of a Jewish kid to December 25, because people had been using the day for centuries. Labor unions might have demanded more holidays, but slave owners were willing only to allow existing festivals.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.