Elizabeth Boleman-Herring reveals how she garnered an interview with Leonard Cohen, not because she was a “native speaker [of Greek],” not because she had “two degrees in American Lit [and] all Cohen’s books and records, had been a student of poet Coleman Barks, the great translator of Rumi, and was a published poet” nor because she “could quote Leonard’s lyrics back to him . . . and make sense of them.” Nope, she got the interview because she was packing a needle and thread – and wasn’t afraid to use them.
Alone among the hacks there that day, I was a native speaker. Alone among them, I had two degrees in American Lit, all Cohen’s books and records, had been a student of poet Coleman Barks, the great translator of Rumi, and was a published poet, myself. Alone among them, I could quote Leonard’s lyrics back to him . . . and make sense of them. I could parse him.
But that’s not what got me my exclusive, three-day-long interview with Leonard Cohen.
Instead, it was the fact that, alone among those talking-all-over-one-another scribes, I had a needle and thread in my purse . . . and Leonard’s brand-new suit pants were split (they’d never been sewn, in fact) right up the seat. After he spoke to the crowd, I made my way through the throng, needle and black thread proffered.
“You’re going to want to talk to me.”
“Mr. Cohen, your pants are split right up the back seam.”
“Can you come up to my room? Now?”
“Of course. With my tape recorder? And, I know you: no hanky-panky?”
A weary smile.
And so, it began. The interview that went on for three days, and certain innocent intervals of three nights. Plus one mega-concert at Athens’s Lycabettus Theater.
From My Long-Overdue Love Letter to Leonard Cohen by Elizabeth Boleman-Herring (Huffington Post, July 2, 2012)