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Saturday, December 26, 2015

On This Day - December 27

Searching for things that happened on December 27, I found quite a bit, most of it violent, and not a lot about books or writing, so what is here is what most appeals to me as a creator of writing and a lover of "sensawunda" inspired by adventure and discovery.   

537 - Completion of Hagia Sophia. The building of this church in Istanbul was part of The Sarantine Mosaic, an AU series by fantasy writer Guy Gavriel Kay(who, incidentally, worked with Christopher Tolkien on editing and completing Tolkien's Silmarillion)

Hagia Sophia internal, done in 1852. Public domain.

1831 - Charles Darwin sets sail in the Beagle, on which voyage he starts to think of the theory of evolution.

Public domain image 

1968 - Splashdown of Apollo 8. The astronauts, Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders, while on board, read from the Book of Genesis as a Christmas thing.

Not many writers I have heard of were born on this day, and none I had read, though I have come across the fairy tale collection of Lady Wilde. So here are some birthdays I like.


1570 - Johannes Kepler - famous astronomer. He hung out with another famous astronomer, Tycho Brahe(who had a brass nose and kept a pet moose)

1821 -
Public domain image

Jane Wilde - poet. As well as being Oscar Wilde's Mum, she was big on politics(the newspaper for which she wrote under a pen name, Esperanza, was closed down for publishing her demand for a revolution in Ireland), women's rights and collected Irish fairy tales. The fairy tales are what she's best known for. 

1822 - Louis Pasteur - the bacteria man, known as "the father of microbiology". If not for him, a lot of us would be very sick and die a lot more easily.

Public domain image

1911 - Anna Russell - amazing stand-up comedian who specialised in talking about - and sending up - famous music. When she realised that her decent soprano voice wasn't going to get her a place in opera, she used it instead to help her in her routines. If you haven't come across her, you'll find her on YouTube, mostly her recordings, but her hilarious retelling of the entire Ring Cycle of Wagner in twenty minutes, with piano and bits of the songs, is a concert she did in her later years. That's definitely worth a look, because her facial expressions are as entertaining as what she says and sings. 

Today is the Feast Day of John The Evangelist - he is said to have written one of the Gospels, and I've mentioned him here because he is, among other things, the patron saint of writers and publishers. Go, John! 


Satima Flavell said...

Anna Russell was one of the funniest performers I ever heard. Thanks for pointing me at YouTube, Sue, so I can experience her Valkyrie act again. :-)

Sue Bursztynski said...

I just missed her final concert in Australia. I was starting a new job the next day and thought better not. I'm still kicking myself.