Q: Is it true that you wrote Beautiful Losers largely under the influence or with the help of drugs? Leonard Cohen: “That is true. I took a lot of amphetamines…”

Is it true that you wrote Beautiful Losers largely under the influence or with the help of drugs?

quoteup2
That is true. I took a lot of amphetamines. I felt that it increased the powers of my mind tenfold. I could work very hard for hours. I was never addicted, and I was not aware of the consequences. At a certain point, I could not take anything anymore, I could hardly live. It just stopped, I collapsed, the system collapsed. This is not a very good drug for the depressed because the descent is very unpleasant. I took ten years to fully recover, I had absences, I was grilled from the inside. I could not get up, I was in bed like a vegetable, long unable to do anything, without eating. I weighed less than 40 kg. It is said that amphetamines do not invent anything, that they draw on the resources to come. At home, they had taken over ten years. I have taken it once in a while, but never again regularly. I have not touched the hallucinogens, never the hard drugs, while many people around me have died, some very close.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Comme Un Guerrier by Christian Fevret (Les Inrocks: Aug 21, 1991). Via Google Translate.

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

“In [Beautiful Losers] I tried to wrestle with all the deities that are extant now – the idea of saintliness, purity, pop, McLuhanism, evil, the irrational – all the gods we set up for ourselves.” Leonard Cohen

quoteup2
When there’s a complete wipe-out, there’s a renewal. In that book [Beautiful Losers] I tried to wrestle with all the deities that are extant now – the idea of saintliness, purity, pop, McLuhanism, evil, the irrational – all the gods we set up for ourselves.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen quoted in “After the Wipe-Out, A Renewal” by Sandra Diwa, published in The Ubyssey (the student newspaper of the University of British Columbia), February 3, 1967.

Originally posted July 7, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Reading List For Beautiful Losers: Kateri of the Mohawks, Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha, Blue Beetle, Jesuits in North America, Farmer’s Almanac, & More

Cohen … based his novel [“Beautiful Losers”] on several core readings: P. Edouard Lecompte’s Une vierge iroquoise: Catherine Tekakwitha, le lis de bords de la Mohawk et du St. Laurent (1656-1680) (1927); Kateri of the Mohawks by Marie Cecilia Buehrle;1 a volume entitled Jesuits in North America; an American comic book from 1943, Blue Beetle; a farmer’s almanac; a passage from Nietzsche’s Twilight of the Idols; and Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha.

Excerpted from Various Positions by Ira Nadel

The Leonard Cohen Reading List

This is the latest entry to the Leonard Cohen Reading List, a compilation of books commended by the Canadian singer-songwriter.

Originally posted October 23, 2012 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Kateri of the Mohawks by Marie Cecilia Buehrle was published by Bruce Pub. Co  (1954) []

“I find that my work, on a personal level, for me, is prophetic… So I read my own work as personal prophecy. Like my dreams. I think all my dreams have come through.” Leonard Cohen

Can you yourself learn from what you write, I mean, teach yourself?

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I find that my work, on a personal level, for me, is prophetic. So that I read it with a very special kind of interest after I’ve written it. After I’ve finished a book I sometimes read it and realise that what I’ve written has not yet come about, the sensibility is about to unfold. For instance when I wrote Beautiful Losers I thought I was completely broken, and on the edge of redemption. I thought I just can’t feel any worse. But the actual fact was, the state of mind laid out in Beautiful Losers, actually came to pass. A year or two later I felt myself in exactly that kind of situation. So I read my own work as personal prophecy. Like my dreams. I think all my dreams have come through. I had a very curious and beautiful dream a month and half ago. It followed one of those times that I was talking about when I had an experience of total freedom. I was sitting at a cafe near The Bitter End in New York. I was sitting with some singers and some people in the music field and suddenly I became, although the feeling had grown by imperceptible degrees, suddenly I became aware that I felt magnificent, triumphant, free, open, warm, affectionate to everyone and everyone around me. Nothing changed, but I could see clearly what everyone was doing without any sort of judgement and loving what everyone was doing. And I almost hugged myself with pleasure, just of breathing and being with friends. And one of the really important things is that I saw what everybody was doing, you know, I saw them; I didn’t think of it as their game, I just saw each person’s style as a revelation of themselves. And I loved it. I loved what I saw. And I excused myself and I walked back to the place where I was staying. I walked back through the Village and it just seemed so beautiful. You know, I could see the Village as just a village on the surface of the earth and the kids walking there and the fruit sellers and the little stores. It all seemed so harmonious, like pieces of a clock and very perfect, it seemed that the world was perfect. And then I went back to a girl’s apartment, and then it was really beautiful, she was a beautiful girl. Probably to make love, but it was like playing games. The vision slowly melted into a dream. I was walking through a village with a group of young children, probably Jewish refugees. There was a row of houses, each one seemed to represent some alternative in my life. But each place turned us down, they didn’t want to take the children. The very last house was a Swedish Red Cross Mission, where there were three beautiful women, and I fell in love with them. To me they represented Woman. And I asked, would they take the children? but they wouldn’t. Even though they refused I wasn’t upset. We left and walked down to the beach which was really bright, beautiful with the huge blue sky and miles of sand. I was standing with the children, and then Stuka bombers appeared on the horizon. And I said to the children: kneel, we are going to say a prayer. And the bombs started to fall, but no one cared.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969.

The Favorite Game & Beautiful Losers By Leonard Cohen Released On Audio CD

Beautiful Losers By Leonard Cohen

Amazon (French Site)

MP3 CD
Publisher: Blackstone Pub; Edition: Unabridged (May 29, 2018)
English language
ISBN-10: 1538548712
ISBN-13: 978-1538548714

The Favorite Game By Leonard Cohen

Amazon (French Site)

Publisher: Blackstone Pub; Edition: Unabridged (June 26, 2018)
English language
ISBN-10: 1538548631
ISBN-13: 978-1538548639

Thanks to Dominique BOILE, who alerted me to these publications