Zibaldone #2: Black Swallow of Death

Here’s a trio of things from one of my commonplace books that I’m reading about right now, for no particular reason.

Eugene Bullard. Black combat pilot in WWI. Boxer. Musician. Elevator operator. Had a pet monkey named Jimmy. Known as ‘the Black Swallow of Death’. Probably some kind of pulp hero.

The War of the Bucket. AKA the War of the Oaken Bucket. Literally a war fought over a bucket. Also part of that whole sorry-ass Guelph and Ghibelline scene. Began AND ended with the Battle of Zappolino. Had a mock-heroic epic written about it.

Picatrix. AKA the Goal of the Wise. Four hundred page book of magic. 11th century, or maybe 10th. There’s a copy in the British Library. The original Arabic version wasn’t discovered until 1920.

My subconscious has a bad habit of making random connections–crashing together unrelated concepts until something fits. I don’t know if that’s what’s happening here, but I wouldn’t bet against it. Bullard, in particular, has been taking up real estate in the back of my head for a few months now. If ever there was a historical personage deserving of fictional adventures, Bullard is it.

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6 comments

  1. I hear that. My head does the same thing, crashing together random bits of stuff until it forms into a whole new thing. Just in those three items, the things that stick out for me are the elevator, the monkey, and the mock-heroic epic.

  2. Great minds think alike. I’ve been reading a pair of Bullard biographies the past couple of weeks with the idea of writing a fictional pulp adventure novel about him.

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