“I tried to stop, but my relationship with writing is like that of a bear running into a hive – he can’t resist the temptation to steal honey…” Leonard Cohen

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I tried to stop, but my relationship with writing is like that of a bear running into a hive — he can’t resist the temptation to steal honey. It happens continually. It’s delightful and it’s horrible, but, although I’m clumsy and aching, I’m up to my neck in it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Virtueless Monk by Elena Comelli (La Nazione, Florence, November 25, 1998. Translated by Andrea Della Rossa) Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. The image atop this post is the back cover of Flowers for Hitler by Leonard Cohen. Photo by Sophie Baker (Jonathan Cape: 1973)Originally posted October 5, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“There are very few things I am able to do. I can wash the dishes. I am also good at housekeeping and… prophecy. And it’s always catastrophe. It’s very easy for a prophet these days, it’s all catastrophe.” Leonard Cohen (1992)

From Le Cercle de Minuit – Michel Field, Interviewer. Broadcast by France 2: December 1992. Originally posted Apr 25, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I’m not a Buddhist but the [Mt Baldy Zen Center] gives me time to get away to get back to myself. I like to look for myself there.” Leonard Cohen


Leonard Cohen Interviewed by Helen Cunningham (Tharunka: March 17, 1980) [Tharunka is a student magazine published at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia]

The Miracle Of The Storks: Leonard Cohen Talks About His Breakdown & Recovery After Writing Beautiful Losers

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I had a pretty rough time with Beautiful Losers, but I didn’t know it. I broke down after it was over… When I finished Beautiful Losers I was living on Hydra. I went to another island and when I wanted to come back I hired a boatman to get me to another, bigger boat that was headed that way. It was about 110 degrees, very hot sun. The fisherman said to me, ‘You’d better come in under the tarp.’ I said no. He said, ‘Sea Wolf, huh?’ When I got back to Hydra I couldn’t get up the stairs to my house. They got a donkey and took me up. I went to bed and I couldn’t eat for 10 or 15 days. They finally called a doctor and I was hallucinating and going crazy and went down to 116 pounds and, you know, a breakdown of some kind. But that seemed right: I’d been working pretty hard and taking speed. I’d had a sunstroke, obviously. And I’d just finished this book. The day the storks came to the island was the day I recovered. They stop over and land on their way to Africa, or maybe coming back from Africa; they nest on the highest buildings, which are usually churches. So there’s a curious feeling; they come in and sit on the churches and leave the next morning. They just spend one night. And the morning they left I recovered, I stood up and I addressed the people of my family and it was a miracle. The miracle of the storks. [laughter] quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988. Photo by Iglesia_de_San_Isidoro._Cigüeñas_en_el_campanario.jpg: Mr. Ticklederivative work: Snowmanradio (talk) – Iglesia_de_San_Isidoro._Cigüeñas_en_el_campanario.jpg, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

“I remember being overwhelmed by the fertility and the abundance of her artistic enterprise” Leonard Cohen On Joni Mitchell’s Musical Mastery

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She [Joni Mitchell] doesn’t read music and it really is fully developed from the god’s head. She just came out that way. When I When I saw her detune a guitar, for me, just tuning the guitar is an ordeal, worrying if I can tune the damn thing. I was so relieved when I finally had guitar techs. It was always an issue for me. To see Joni just twist those little knobs, tuning the guitar in about thirty seconds, into all different strings that nobody had ever heard, and nobody’s ever played it. That indicated to me immediately that there was something very remarkable going on. Same with the piano. I was staying with her in Laurel Canyon when her piano arrived. She sat down and played the piano. Just to hold all those tunings in her mind indicates a superior intellect. I remember being overwhelmed by the fertility and the abundance of her artistic enterprise, because it was so much more vast and rich and varied and seemingly effortless than the way I looked at things. Naturally, I was very impressed and somewhat intimidated.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell by David Yaffe. Sarah Crichton Books (October 17, 2017). Photo by Whoknoze – Own work, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons.

“I couldn’t get a date… I think it’s always like that. It’s never delivered to you.” Leonard Cohen On His Reputation As A 1960s “Intellectual Sex Symbol”

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It’s so curious because I couldn’t get a date. I couldn’t find anybody to have dinner with. By the time that first record came out, which rescued me, I was already in such a shattered situation that I found myself living at the Henry Hudson Hotel on West 57th Street, going to the Morningstar Cafe on 8th Ave, trying to find some way to approach the waitress and ask her out. I would get letters of longing from around the world, and I would find myself walking the streets of New York at three in the morning, trying to strike up conversations with the women selling cigarettes in hotels. I think it’s always like that. It’s never delivered to you.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Loneliness of The Long-Suffering Folkie By Wayne Robins (Newsday – Long Island, November 22, 1992.).  Originally posted Sep 5, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen on Love as an “awakening from the dream of isolation, from the dream of loneliness, and it’s a terrible shock… It’s a delicious, terrible shock that none of us knows what to do with.”

Why do you think it is that when we fall in love, our mouths become dry and we shake and our hearts beat too loud and we’re fools?

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Because we are awakening from the dream of isolation, from the dream of loneliness, and it’s a terrible shock, you know? It’s a delicious, terrible shock that none of us knows what to do with. Part of the shabbiness of our culture, if indeed it is shabby, is that it doesn’t seem to prepare people. With all the songs about love and all the movies and all the books, there doesn’t seem to be any way that we can prepare the human heart for this experience. Maybe we, the cultural workers like you and I, could apply ourselves. We’re not going to resolve it in this moment or even in this generation, but perhaps as some kind of agenda we could invite our writers and our cultural workers to address this problem a little bit more responsibly, because people are suffering tremendously from a want of data. The psychologists are valiantly trying to provide us with answers, the religious people are trying to provide us with answers. I think it properly falls on the cultural workers to investigate this predicament with a little less concern for the market place and a little more concern for their higher calling.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Interviewed by Anjelica Huston. Interview magazine: November, 1995. Accessed at Remembering Leonard Cohen by Anjelica Huston (Interview: Nov 11, 2016). Photography Dana Lixenberg. Originally posted June 12, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric