How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: 4. The Less Dramatic, More Remarkable Aftermath


Update (2017): Introduction

This is the fourth in a set of entries that I am posting (or reposting) in response to questions about how l first became involved with Leonard Cohen:



How Did You Get That Leonard Cohen Autograph?

Ongoing readers may recall that within the titular letter referenced in Anjani Writes Dear DrHGuy Letter included this offering:

the poet would like to send you his latest literary offering Book Of Longing, just to show there are no hard feelings over your reckless communiqué.

“The Poet,” it turns out, was Leonard Cohen (lucky guess, eh?).  And, sure enough, a few days later I received a copy of Book Of Longing with the above autographed title page. And, it made for a dandy anecdote:

Five or six years ago, I posted the above image in a LeonardCohenForum thread about Leonard Cohen autographs. I was then asked something along the lines of “How did you get that Leonard Cohen autograph?”1 My account of the process follows:

Ah, it’s the age-old story … Boy (that would be me) finds girl (Anjani) via composing a review of girl’s album (Blue Alert). Boy, coming across a comparison of girl to Holly Cole and Tanita Tikaram, makes the obvious move, interjecting into the review the suggestion for a four-way comprising him and the three female vocalists. Girl leaves a positive comment on the post, thanking boy for the positive review. Boy publishes next post interpreting girl’s comment as an indication that girl is torn between running to him and staying with her boyfriend – Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lenny Kravitz, Leonard Bernstein … Lennie somebody, Negotiations ensue re four-way Vs three-way and consequent permutations of participants. Eventually, however, girl sends a Dear John letter (technically, a Dear DrHGuy letter), and it’s splitsville (aka boy loses girl). Boy gets autographed Blue Alert album from girl and autographed poetry volume from boyfriend/poet/singer-songwriter/icon as consolation prize.

Happens every day.

Actually, the inscription on this page is the last time I recall receiving a message from Leonard that used my full name. In person and in his emails, I was most often “Dr Heck” and, less often, “Allan.” (He inevitably and invariably referred to Penny, who became my spouse three years later, as “The Duchess” in keeping with her blogonym.)

Real Life Intervenes

After that mid-August 2007 exchange of messages with Anjani, I heard from her with some frequency.  I also began hearing from Leonard occasionally. A few months later, however, my son was the victim of a car accident and went into coma. I immediately received an endearing, compassionate message from Anjani and Leonard, including Leonard’s recounting of the head trauma incurred by his own son Adam and Adam’s recovery thereafter.

For the next few months, I was focused on my son’s neurological problems and his subsequent treatment.

Then, early in 2008, the woman in my life had a recurrence of breast cancer (the same disease that ended the life of my wife, Julie). Over the next months, she slowly withered and, in June 2008, not long after Leonard Cohen began his 2008 tour in Newfoundland, died. My interest in blogging waned although it didn’t dissolve altogether. I stumbled along with posting about not only Leonard and Anjani but also such matters as my family, county seals, the local weather and wildlife, broomcorn, … (The site was a tad less focused in those days.)

Then came the 2009 Leonard Cohen Beacon Theatre concert.

But that’s for the next post.


  1. OK, the response was actually, “You really must tell us more about this. And we expect a detailed, witty recollection in your inimitable style,” but “How did you get that Leonard Cohen autograph?” makes for a pithier heading []

One Reply to “How DrHGuy First Connected With Leonard Cohen: 4. The Less Dramatic, More Remarkable Aftermath”

  1. Anjisan

    Less dramatic…sounds pretty dramatic to me though.. All the more impressive how you have lived through all this and have kept your sense of humour. I also think I now better understand the importance of the LC quote on ‘these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts’..
    Thanks for your blog, a great refuge.