[ by Charles Cameron -- mildly NSFW if your office can't handle Leonardo, which IMNSHO we should be able to manage now in this 21st century CE -- and besides, it's the weekend ]
Well, we here at Zenpundit have a particular interest in creative thinking, and this last evening I unexpectedly found myself in excellent creative company…
…in a months-old blog-post by an old friend, an astrophysicist by profession who goes by the name Cygnus on the web — presumably after the constellation that harbors Deneb, and also Kepler-22b, the “first known transiting planet to orbit within the habitable zone of a Sun-like star” (WikiP, since I know no better). Cygnus means “swan” in Greek, and Zeus became a swan for his own imperious purposes when he saw Leda — Helen of Troy being one of their offspring (see eggs in Da Vinci‘s image below), with the Trojan War ensuing.
Here’s then, is the A-Z of creative folk, as Cygnus pulled it together last April as part of an “A-Z- Challenge” — I’m honored and awed to be named in the company of such as Andre Breton, Donald Knuth, George Carlin, Octavia Butler, Samuel R Delany, Dame Frances Yates and the rest:
For April 2013, my theme for the Blogging from A to Z Challenge was “An A to Z of Masters of the Imagination that You Oughtta Know About.” In other words, on each day I profiled a person whose brains were just overflowing with weirdness and creativity. Here’s a list of the posts:
- Intro post: “Here come the weirdos!”
- A is for Andre Breton (father of surrealism)
- B is for the Bobs (Ross and Haney)
- C is for Charles Cameron (Glass Bead Game maestro)
- D is for Donald Knuth (philosophical comp-sci prof)
- E is for Emmanuel Radnitsky (Man Ray, to his friends)
- F is for Florence Farr (mystical playwright)
- G is for George Carlin (but without the 7 dirty words)
- H is for Harlan Ellison (grand master of sci-fi)
- I is for Ithell Colquhoun (surrealist artist & magician)
- J is for Jacob Kurtzberg (comic visionary Jack Kirby)
- K is for Kenneth Grant (eclectic & shadowy magician)
- L is for Lorq and Lobey (really their author, Samuel Delany)
- M is for M. A. R. Barker (game designer & worldbuilder)
- N is for Narpet (Rush drummer/lyricist Neil Peart)
- O is for Octavia Butler (sci-fi author & religion founder)
- P is for Phyllis Seckler (teacher of true will)
- Q is for “Quien Mas?” (whom did I leave out?)
- R is for Rimbaud (dreamily evocative French poet)
- S is for Somtow Sucharitkul (author & dozens of other things)
- T is for Tyagi and Catherine (match made in a magic circle)
- U is for Unknown (anonymous 17th century manifestos)
- V is for Vienna (Slow down, you crazy child)
- W is for Walt (Oh Whitman, my Whitman!)
- X is for Xenophanes? (not really; Xena’s got nothin today)
- Y is for Yates, Dame Frances (historian of lost mysteries)
- Z is for Zindell, David (author of my favorite sci-fi novel)
So that’s Cygnus’ list — quite a dinner party! You’ll recognise some members of your own constellation of creatives here, perhaps — feast on some of those you’re not yet familar with! Cygnus blogs about games and such at Servitor Ludi.
As for me, I’ll simply offer you William Bulter Yeats‘ great poem Leda and the Swan, to celebrate the company I just found myself in, and close out a memorable evening:
Leda and the Swan
A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.
How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?
A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?