Three Photos: “For the first time in my life I am not depressed. I am happy,” Leonard Cohen 2001

unnamedThe Leonard Cohen quote is from Leonard Cohen, Happy At Last by Mireille Silcott, Saturday Night (September 15, 2001). The brilliant photos are by Gabriel Jones.  The first two illustrated the Leonard Cohen, Happy At Last article.

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“Some people write great songs in the back of taxicabs…Unfortunately, I am one who deals with tohu va’vohu.” Leonard Cohen

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The cabalists interpret tohu va’vohu [a Biblical Hebrew phrase in Genesis 1:2 that describes the condition of the earth before God said, ‘Let there be light’ – often translated as ‘chaos and desolation’] to mean the raw material of creation. If you’re really going to build the universe in the image of the Creator, the process is involved with an intimate association with chaos and desolation. Those are the building blocks, the DNA. Unfortunately you have to become very familiar with those elements, those out of which form and beauty emerge, and you want to keep them at arm’s length as much of the time as possible. But when you’re trying to make something that has an enduring form or a significance, you have to deal with some of these elements. Some people write great songs in the back of taxicabs. I’ve always wanted to be one of them. Unfortunately, I am one who deals with tohu va’vohu. I don’t think my situation is unique. I wouldn’t even call what I feel anguish; it’s more like discomfort. But I’m reluctant to talk about these matters because they are essentially, from my point of view, of a religious nature, intimately connected to my work. That discomfort is refined in the crucible of attention and intuition and surrender, and what there is to say of it is in the work itself.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen, Pain Free by Sheldon Teitelbaum. Los Angeles Times: April 05, 1992. Originally posted Jun 27, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Excellence Is The Only Standard …” Leonard Cohen

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I think that excellence is the only standard [for artists]. There’s all kinds of other matters like making a living & freedom from having to satisfy whatever regulations pertain to the artistic circle, which are often very tyrannical. I never felt my work needed any label or refuge.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: Working for the World to Come. The interview (probably from 1982) was published in the book In Their Own Words: Interviews with fourteen Canadian writers, by Bruce Mayer and Brian O’Riordan, 1984. Found at LeonardCohenfiles. Originally posted Dec 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“A personal indifference to my own condition, to my own opinions, to my own activities has liberated me to say what I want to say.” Leonard Cohen

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From Maverick Spirit: Leonard Cohen by Jim O’Brien. B-Side Magazine: August/September 1993. Photo of Leonard Cohen by Roland Godefroy (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Leonard Cohen – Frank Sinatra Connection: Leonard Cohen Asks “Do I want to be Frank Sinatra?”

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I don’t think anybody really knows why they’re doing anything. If you stop someone on the subway and say, ‘Where are you going–in the deepest sense of the word?’ you can’t really expect an answer. I really don’t know why I’m here. It’s a matter of ‘What else would I be doing?’ Do I want to be Frank Sinatra, who’s really great, and do I want to have great retrospectives of my work? I’m not really interested in being the oldest folksinger around.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From “Leonard Cohen: Several Lifetimes Already” by Pico Iyer (Shambhala Sun: September 1998)

The Leonard Cohen – Frank Sinatra Connection series explores the links between the crooner known as “The Voice” and the Canadian singer-songwriter “born with the gift of a golden voice.”

Note: Originally posted April 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The Leonard Cohen – Frank Sinatra Connection: Cohen Quotes Sinatra: “I’m for anything that gets you through the night.”

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Beryl Fox: What happens to your own personal anguish when you see it spread across the country and you know that you are making money on it.

Leonard Cohen: Well, I don’t know if I am gonna make any money on it. [Laughs] I don’t know if you can, if you can sell your anguish then you have probably done one of the best possible things you can do with anguish you know, anything you can do with anguish is good. Like Frank Sinatra said “I’m for anything that gets you through the night.” Print is a minor form of invisibility. I think that if you really get good then you do disappear

From This Hour Has Seven Days. CBC: May 1, 1966. [Formatting mine]

DrHGuy Note – The Sinatra quote follows:

Basically, I’m for anything that gets you through the night – be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.

The Leonard Cohen – Frank Sinatra Connection series explores the links between the crooner known as “The Voice” and the Canadian singer-songwriter “born with the gift of a golden voice.”

Note: Originally posted April 4, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric