From Love Me, Love My Gun Barrel by Graham Lock. New Musical Express: February 23, 1980. Photo By Pete Purnell. Originally posted June 24, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
The greatest help you can get from anything is to find out it doesn’t work
Update: The “French woman” to whom Leonard alludes in the final sentence is Simone Weil (thanks Thelma Blitz for this correction); the full quote is ““The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, “What are you going through?”
From Leonard Cohen interview With Stina Dabrowski (Mount Baldy Zen Center: 1997. Originally posted Dec 16, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Do you have any problems reconciling your poetry writing and your songwriting?
No, I think I always heard a huge, invisible guitar behind everything I do. There’s really no conflict in writing novels and writing songs. In fact, once you set up your desk and you find yourself in a kind of introspective mood, all kinds of things arise.
From transcript of a radio program broadcast in Sydney, Australia by ABC in March 1980. Photo by Armando Fusco. Originally posted June 24, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
For me, the process [writing] is really more like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I’m stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it’s delicious and it’s horrible and I’m in it and it’s not very graceful and it’s very awkward and it’s very painful and yet there’s something inevitable about it… [Most of the writers I admire] are just incredible messes as human beings. Wonderful and invigorating company, but I pity their wives and their husbands and their children.
From Listening to Leonard Cohen by Pico Iyer. Shambhala Sun: November/December 1998. Found at Utne Reader. Originally posted April 12, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
It’s one of the most compassionate ways of saying goodbye that the cosmos could devise. I think it’s perfect. It’s an impeccable way to get off centre stage, and everything that happens to you seems so appropriate.
From Life Of A Lady’s Man by Brian D. Johnson. Maclean’s: Dec 7, 1992. Originally posted Jul 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric
Q: Do you hold as strongly as you once did views about the importance of ceremony in everyday life?
LC: I think that whether we call them ceremonies or not people fall into patterns of greeting one another, of experiencing phenomena. My feeling is that there are certain patterns that have been developed and discerned to be extremely nourishing. It seems to be a waste to discard them. There are some of them from our traditions that I think are very worthwhile.
Q: Of the religious sort?
In a real religious life, such as I don’t lead but have led from time to time, there is a vision for everything that comes up. For instance, in the orthodox Jewish tradition, there’s a blessing for everything: when you see a rainbow, when you meet a wise man, when you meet a stupid man, when you hear bad news. They all start off, ‘Blessed are Thou, King of the Universe, the True Judge…’ In other words, we can’t determine where bad news fits in. When you see someone who’s very beautiful, or who’s deformed, it’s the same blessing. It’s ‘Blessed are Thou, King of the Universe, who varied the appearance of this creature…’ I’m not saying that everyone should learn the blessings, but that kind of approach to things, where there is a reference always beyond the activity, is a perspective I think is very valuable. Most of our ceremonies, the ones we develop ourselves, usually out of cowardice, ambition, or just mean-spiritedness, all have that.
From Leonard Cohen interview by Doug Fetherling in Books in Canada: Vol. 13, no 7, August/September 1984. Photo “Leonard Cohen, 1988 01” by Gorupdebesanez – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons. Originally posted April 25, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric