“You sense the destruction of your body & your mind, and you feel here is…the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.” Leonard Cohen


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The clear sense that you know you’re in the homeward stretch is a very compelling component in writing. A lot of other things fall away that you hope would satisfy you like human life, and your work becomes a kind of haven, and you want to go there, and you’re grateful when the time opens in such a way that you can actually sit down and work at your own work, because everything else somehow has failed. I’m speaking not just for myself. Somehow, just in the nature of things, you know, the disappointments accumulate, and the obstacles multiply and you sense the destruction of your body, and your mind, and you feel here is the last arena, ‘arena’ is too big, the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Coffee and candour with Cohen by Simon Houpt (Globe & Mail: Feb. 27, 2009). Originally posted July 25, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Being Asked In 1988 To Speculate On “Which Form Of Exit [From Life] He Would Choose”

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I do believe it’s unwise to speculate on these matters especially as death looms larger and larger. I wouldn’t dare. Yes, Yeats did choose even the lines for his tombstone but while it’s okay to work it out as he did, within the sacred furnace of his poetry, I’m very wary of casual reactions to such questions. These are serious matters. That’s why I refuse to speculate. That really would be inviting disaster.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)

Leonard Cohen on being asked his “relationship to death” at age 82

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As my friend Irving Layton put it: ‘I am not afraid of death, it’s the preliminaries.’quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Le Dernier Empereur by J.D. Beauvallet and Pierre Siankowski (Les Inrocks: Oct 19, 2015) [from interview transcript]

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Leonard Cohen On The Spiritual Aspect In Everybody’s Life: “You hear this other deep reality singing to you all the time”

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I know there’s a spiritual aspect to everybody’s life, whether they want to cop to it or not. It’s there, you can feel it in people—there’s some recognition that there is a reality that they cannot penetrate but which influences their mood and activity. So that’s operating. That activity at certain points of your day or night insists on a certain kind of response. Sometimes it’s just like: ‘You are losing too much weight, Leonard. You’re dying, but you don’t have to cooperate enthusiastically with the process.’ Force yourself to have a sandwich. What I mean to say is that you hear the Bat Kol. [The divine voice] You hear this other deep reality singing to you all the time, and much of the time you can’t decipher it. Even when I was healthy, I was sensitive to the process. At this stage of the game, I hear it saying, ‘Leonard, just get on with the things you have to do.’ It’s very compassionate at this stage. More than at any time of my life, I no longer have that voice that says, ‘You’re fucking up.’ That’s a tremendous blessing, really.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)

“Putting your house in order…is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable” Leonard Cohen

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At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliché, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)

Leonard Cohen Recants: “I said I was ready to die recently but that was an exaggeration. One is given to dramatization. I intend to live forever.”