“You know what a wreck my life is?” Leonard Cohen Kvetches (1969)

You know what a wreck my life is? I don’t do anything day upon day, and I lie around in despair and kvetch a lot, and I can’t put anything together. So how am I going to talk about these heavy mysteries?quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Songs Sacred and Profane by Ira Mothner. Look: June 10, 1969. Photo by Tony Vaccaro used in original article. See “Leonard Cohen was a monument” Tony Vaccaro Talks About His Iconic Leonard Cohen Photos – Nashville 1968. Originally posted Dec 10, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On How His Career Would Have Been Different “If I had one of those good voices”

I think if I had one of those good voices, I would have done it completely differently. I probably would have sung the songs I really like rather than be a writer.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

“Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough” By Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. Photo of Leonard Cohen at 1993 Juno Awards by George Kraychyk. Originally posted April 9, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On His Violation Of The “Socratic Imperative To Know Thyself”

I’m not a great examiner. I suppose it’s violating some Socratic imperative to know thyself, if that’s who it was, but I’ve always found that examination extremely tedious.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen, speaking to Sylvie Simmons, quoted in Leonard Cohen 1934–2016 by Phil Alexander (Mojo: November 11, 2016). Photo by Dominique BOILE

DrHGuy Note: Who Said “Know Thyself?”

Well, lots of folks, including but not limited to Socrates. Of the sources I checked, Wikipedia offers the most straightforward exposition. Excerpts follow:

The Ancient Greek aphorism “know thyself” or “gnothi seauton” is one of the Delphic maxims and was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi according to the Greek writer Pausanias. The aphorism came from Luxor in Ancient Egypt.

… The aphorism may have come from Luxor in Ancient Egypt. Pre-Socratics like Thales of Miletus and Pythagoras of Samos are thought by some to have had ancient Egyptian influences, according to Greek folklore and later writers including Aristotle. In any case the saying assumes a distinctive meaning and importance in Greek religion and thought. The Greeks attributed much of their wisdom to Egyptian sources.

… Plato employs the maxim ‘Know Thyself’ extensively by having the character of Socrates use it to motivate his dialogues. Plato makes it clear that Socrates is referring to a long-established wisdom

Leonard Cohen On The Value Of Ritual As A “Peaceful Moment”


It’s nice to have any peaceful moment, a moment that there is a form where you can relax in, and you don’t have to improvise in, because usually when you live a life without a ritual form, you will have to continue to have to improvise, and I’m not so good at it. I find it very difficult to improvise continuously. So I’m very grateful when the kids and my friends come Friday night, and I know what the form is, what the form of the meal is going to be, and what the tone is going to be, so for that reason it’s very relaxing. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


Leonard Looks Back On The Past (unedited interview for Norwegian Radio) by Kari Hesthamar, Los Angeles, 2005. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. Credit Due Department: Photo by Anjani Thomas.

“They just have an appetite for experience and that’s what a writer is supposed to do, clarify experience.” Leonard Cohen On His Appeal To Young People

Interviewer: Why do you think you appeal to people in that age group [early 20s]?

I think I’m maybe the oldest living teenager, maybe that’s part of it. I think younger people are interested in information in a way that older people are not. Older people often don’t want to hear anything new or anything upsetting. Whereas, young people are very hungry for that kind of intelligence. [Interviewer: They don’t mind upsetting the equilibrium.] No, they prefer to. They just have an appetite for experience and that’s what a writer is supposed to do, clarify experience.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From the transcript of a radio program broadcast in Sydney, Australia by ABC in March 1980. Photo of Leonard Cohen performing in 1980 taken by Pete Purnell.

“That’s my AIDS test result. Negative. It’s good to carry that around. ‘Hi, I’m Leonard, here’s my card!’ It’s like being let out of prison, getting one of those.” Leonard Cohen

In this example of Leonard Cohen’s propensity to use the language of captivity (in this case, “prison”), he identifies the AIDS results card he carried in his travel bag for interviewer. Posts dealing with this theme are collected at .

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 Apr 13, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric