Leonard Cohen Reveals When He Became Aware Of His Own Mortality

At what age did you become aware of your own mortality? Was it scary or almost reinsuring?

quoteup2
I’m still not aware of it.quotedown2

 

Leonard Cohen, Oct 2016

From the original questionnaire (in English) for Le Dernier Empereur by J.D. Beauvallet and Pierre Siankowski (Les Inrocks: Oct 19, 2016) forwarded to me on Oct 16, 2016 by Leonard Cohen.

“There’s so little that you can do about [death]… We’ve got to live our lives as if they’re not going to end immediately. So we have to live under those – some people might call them illusions.” Leonard Cohen (2009)


Are you fearful of death?

quoteup2
Everyone has to have a certain amount of anxiety about the conditions of one’s death. The actual circumstances, the pain involved, the affect on your heirs. But there’s so little that you can do about it. It’s best to relegate those concerns to the appropriate compartments of the mind and not let them inform all your activities. We’ve got to live our lives as if they’re not going to end immediately. So we have to live under those – some people might call them illusions.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From ‘I’m blessed with a certain amnesia‘ by Jian Ghomeshi. The Guardian: July 9, 2009. Originally posted Apr 23, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“The hook I came up with, the one I could get behind and sing in several hundred concerts, was, ‘I’ve seen the future baby, it is murder.’ That seems to be true.” Leonard Cohen

Huston: How do you think that’s going to affect the future, given the fact that we are panicked and that things seem to be closing in on us?

quoteup2
This just may be each individual human’s translation of the certainty of their own death. I mean, things are closing in on us in a real way. I found when I was writing about the future, in a song called ‘The Future,’ I found that the hook I came up with, the one I could get behind and sing in several hundred concerts, was, ‘I’ve seen the future baby, it is murder.’ That seems to be true.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 May 18, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“I could never locate that appetite for posterity within myself” Leonard Cohen

quoteup2
A poet, one of my closest friends, Irving Layton, probably the best Canadian poet and one of our best North American poets, he was very concerned with his legacy. He was very concerned with his immortality and what would become of his work. I loved the man, so I listened attentively and also with a sense of curiosity. I could never locate that appetite for posterity within myself or think what it means anyhow.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen reborn in the U.S.A. by Geoff Boucher at Pop & Hiss, the L.A. Times music blog: February 27, 2009. Photo taken at the July 31, 2009 Leonard Cohen concert in León by Indiana Caba. Originally posted November 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“You sense the destruction of your body & your mind, and you feel here is…the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.” Leonard Cohen


quoteup2
The clear sense that you know you’re in the homeward stretch is a very compelling component in writing. A lot of other things fall away that you hope would satisfy you like human life, and your work becomes a kind of haven, and you want to go there, and you’re grateful when the time opens in such a way that you can actually sit down and work at your own work, because everything else somehow has failed. I’m speaking not just for myself. Somehow, just in the nature of things, you know, the disappointments accumulate, and the obstacles multiply and you sense the destruction of your body, and your mind, and you feel here is the last arena, ‘arena’ is too big, the last boxing ring, or the last Ouija board, where you can examine some of the ideas that have intrigued you. That have seized you, really.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Coffee and candour with Cohen by Simon Houpt (Globe & Mail: Feb. 27, 2009). Originally posted July 25, 2010 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On Being Asked In 1988 To Speculate On “Which Form Of Exit [From Life] He Would Choose”

zmr

quoteup2
I do believe it’s unwise to speculate on these matters especially as death looms larger and larger. I wouldn’t dare. Yes, Yeats did choose even the lines for his tombstone but while it’s okay to work it out as he did, within the sacred furnace of his poetry, I’m very wary of casual reactions to such questions. These are serious matters. That’s why I refuse to speculate. That really would be inviting disaster.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Read Leonard Cohen’s exclusive interview with Hot Press from 1988 by Joe Jackson (Hot Press: 11 Nov 2016)