Leonard Cohen Differentiates Songwriting And Torture

Question: In song-writing, the idea of longing, of being in search of an answer, of questing for some unquestionable truth, is often, I think, seen as signifying a state of frustration and unhappiness, and even delusion – which maddens me. The potter and the sculptor shape, hone, rework – and these habits and routines are rarely likened to serving a sentence, or being forced endlessly to stare into the same abyss. Rather, the pursuit seems noble, stoical, and capable of producing a state of serenity. Do you accept that the song-writer is, of all artists, the most likely to be labelled ‘Tortured’?

As I write this, there are human beings being tortured. Let us not trivialize the unspeakable horror by adding songwriting to the category.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen


From the Dan Cairns – Sunday Times Culture questionnaire Leonard Cohen sent me Oct 17, 2016. While portions of that questionnaire were incorporated into Leonard Cohen: Hey, that’s some way to say goodbye by Dan Cairns (The Sunday Times: October 23 2016); this specific response was not used in the final article.