Skip to content

Un Cahier du Herbork

February 8, 2012

Unlike their diaries, so often concocted with an eye to posterity, the notebooks of working authors tend to be pragmatic and unselfconscious. These jottings (cahiers as French intellectuals call them) are meant to keep track of stray thoughts, bits of dialogue, plot ideas, telling details, touches of human observation — whatever might prove valuable to some later literary project.

The Notebooks of, say, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Albert Camus or Somerset Maugham permit their readers to station themselves inside a genius at the precise point where Art’s sacred fountain first bubbles up from below. This sounds exciting, but, of course, the waters there are not always champagne-y with effervescent inspiration; often these notations have that allusive emptiness of night-thoughts scrawled half awake on a bedside pad.

In truth, the vast majority of the material authors squirrel away is never used, so a notebook becomes an inadvertent sort of fragmentary Modernist poetry, like Ezra Pound’s Cantos. The central locus lies within the mind, heart and sensibilities of an individual talent rather than the coherent development of any single publicly-stated theme. So these disconnected serials of short sentences are less a magic fountain and more like a wine-tasting of somebody else’s stream of consciousness.

Permit me to offer you a few sips of vintage Herbork…

Un Cahier du Herbork

Furthering Tradition is the future of our past.

There is a name for postmodern people who think only in images: prey.

First-timers always have idealistic excuses. It’s only the second time and the third when we begin to realize who we are.

Our old band — The Thudding Duds.

“We don’t know each other well enough for me to lie to you.”

Hemingway (Letters) asked Fitzgerald: “If nobody can tell when a book is good, why the hell write them?”

The Jamaican police officer scorned lax discipline and “all manner of fuckery…”

What the kids don’t understand is how we are bought and sold over and over, and whatever we think is true, is who bought you last.

Nighside cannot do daywatch business. Dark isn’t simply left-handed light. Evil doesn’t make good.

You do not need religions to define good and evil. Good brightens, lightens and sets you up. Evil hollows you out, under-cuts and lowers down on you.

Street fighters, remember this trick: throw pocket change in his face as you close in.

Dear Mrs. Nietzsche: No, your “superman” certainly doesn’t sound like a very good husband. I can only beg you to remember: What doesn’t make you cry, makes you drier.

I want to perfect my own understanding of matters, not fill my mind with a generality of the opinions of others. I am an individual, not the crossroads of a million private lives.

Even Hangmen Mean Well

…the guns of ego…

“Even kings and their armies cannot stand against the power of a natural man.” Old folk-saying

Forced Collaboration #1 (First stanza by Ralph Waldo Emerson; second by Herbork.)

“I am the owner of the sphere,

Of the seven stars and the solar year,

Of Cesar’s hand and Plato’s brain

Of Lord Christ’s hand and Shakespeare’s strain.”

When I pick my nose,

Nations tremble.

Look at me, you see God

Whom I resemble.

History’s made when I get laid —

A natural man displayed.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: