Leonard Cohen Describes The Impact Of His Depression On His Work

quoteup2
I think people, perhaps legitimately sometimes, feel that anguish or suffering is the engine of creativity. It’s a very popular notion . . . I think most people live their lives in an emergency, and I’m certainly not unique in this respect. I have certainly battled depression over the years, and my time on Mount Baldy was one of the remedies. And I found that my depression might have been the background of my work, but not the spur, not the trigger.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

State of Grace by Doug Saunders. Globe and Mail: Sept 1, 2001. Accessed 09 June 2014 at Ten New Songs

“At times you have to disappear for your lover” Leonard Cohen On Being True To One Another


quoteup2
But you’ve got to be able to say that [‘If you want to work the street alone / I’ll disappear for you’ from I’m Your Man] to someone you love. A man has to let another man bring gifts to his wife. That goes for us all. And the notion that a thing is fixed and doesn’t admit of any need for change or modification, that’s the sure formula for suffering. People have to decide between themselves whether they’re going to be true to one another, and what ‘being true’ means, they have to define for themselves. You may decide to share that thing exclusively with each other. But there’s a whole range of friendships that are available to people, and perhaps you suffer a great deal if you refuse them. Maybe I have a more radical view of the thing, which is private and even inarticulate to myself. But I know in myself there are times when that line is true. At times you have to disappear for your lover, and you have to let them cook by themselves and in whatever way they want. Otherwise you can’t hold it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From As a New Generation Discovers Leonard Cohen’s Dark Humour Kris Kirk Ruffles the Great Man’s Back Pages by Kris Kirk in Poetry Commotion, June 18, 1988. More Leonard Cohen quotations about relationships can be found at  Leonard Cohen on Relationships. Originally posted April 26, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Suffering & Grief #20: Why “Most of the songs that we love are sad songs”

quoteup2
Most of the songs that we love are sad songs, because we experience profound disappointment in our lives, all of us. And to hear it sung. – Well, that’s what this whole racket is about, isn’t it?quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Angst & Aquavit by Brendan Bernhard. LA Weekly: September 26, 2001. Accessed 19 May 2014 at Ten New Songs.

Leonard Cohen On Suffering & Grief #19: The danger of “see[ing] yourself as the hero of your own drama”

quoteup2
Sometimes, when you no longer see yourself as the hero of your own drama, expecting victory after victory, and you understand deeply that this is not paradise… somehow we’re, especially the privileged ones that we are, we somehow embrace the notion that this veil of tears, that it’s perfectible, that you’re going to get it all straight. I’ve found that things became a lot easier when I no longer expected to win.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, the 2005 documentary written and directed by Lian Lunson.

Leonard Cohen on the light in Anthem: “The capacity to reconcile your experience, your sorrow, with every day that dawns”


quoteup2
The light [in the lines ‘There is a crack in everything,/That’s how the light gets in’ from Anthem] is the capacity to reconcile your experience, your sorrow, with every day that dawns. It is that understanding, which is beyond significance or meaning, that allows you to live a life and embrace the disasters and sorrows and joys that are our common lot. But it’s only with the recognition that there is a crack in everything. I think all other visions are doomed to irretrievable gloom. And whenever anyone asks us to accept a perfect solution, that should immediately alert us to the flaws in that presentationquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen by Barbara Gowdy (November 19, 1992 interview published in One on One: The Imprint Interviews, ed. Leanna Crouch, Somerville House Publishing 1994).

“Our duty is to transcend sorrow …” Leonard Cohen

quoteup2
I don’t think you can regard whatever condition you are in as an experiment. When you’re in it, you are in it and our duty is to transcend sorrow. Nobody wants to stick around in these places. If you’ve got ways of getting out of them, I think it’s your responsibility to do so. As far as joy is concerned, the more the better. At the moment? I have a few laughs.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Hallelujah For Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde (Posted at Sabatoge Times 22 March 2011 although the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview). Originally posted Jan 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

More of Leonard Cohen’s thoughts on can be found at the link.