“I have come to the conclusion, somewhat reluctantly, that I am going to die one of these days… I don’t really understand the process of reincarnation. But if there is such a thing I would like to come back as my daughter’s dog.” Leonard Cohen 2012

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 Well, for me to be a ladies’ man at this point involves a great deal of humor. I have come to the conclusion, somewhat reluctantly, that I am going to die one of these days. It gives you pause. I hope to do it without being too morbid. I like to talk about death, but in tempo. I don’t really understand that process of reincarnation. But if there is such a thing I would like to come back as my daughter’s dog.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From the Jan 16, 2012 Paris press preview for Old Ideas. Photo by Andi Gombasi

Q: Would you like to come back as something else…a scorpion or a bullfrog or any of those things? Leonard Cohen: “As long as it isn’t Leonard Cohen, I’ll settle for anything.”

From Having Lunch With Leonard Cohen by Jon Wilde, Sabotage Times. Dec 3, 2015 (the quote itself is taken from a 1988 interview).

For the record, when asked at a 2012 press conference promoting the Old Ideas album what he would be in his next life, Cohen replied,

I don’t really understand that process called reincarnation but if there is such a thing I’d like to come back as my daughter’s dog.1

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  1. Leonard Cohen: ‘All I’ve got to put in a song is my own experience’ by Dorian Lynskey. The Guardian. Jan 19, 2012 []

Leonard Cohen Invokes Bob Hope Story To Describe How He Wants People To Remember Him

 

After you’re gone, what would you want people to remember about you?

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I never give that much thought. Some people care about their work lasting forever – I have little interest in it. You probably know that great story about Bob Hope. His wife came to him and said, ‘There’s two plots available at Forest Lawn. One looks at some beautiful cypress trees, one looks over the valley. Which do you think you’d prefer?’ He said, ‘Surprise me.’ That’s the way I feel about posterity and how I’m remembered. Surprise me.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen on Longevity, Money, Poetry and Sandwiches by Gavin Edwards (Rolling Stone: Sept 19, 2014).

 

I always think of Bob Hope standing at a mic during his routine, lazily puffing on a cigar. It’s amazing to see these moves. Leonard told me a story about Hope being asked by his wife what his burial requests were, and he answered, “Surprise me.”

Posted by Anjani on her Facebook Page Jan 27, 2013

“And that’s what I’m doing. Preparing to die.” Leonard Cohen (2008)

 

He was discussing a book he’d read on Auschwitz. Some scholars, he explained, wondered why the Jews didn’t rush forward and try to overpower the handful of machine gunners about to shoot them when they were being led to mass graves. According to the book he was reading, the answer was:

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It’s because that’s not what they wanted to do. They wanted to reflect on their life and prepare to die. And that’s what I’m doing. Preparing to die.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

On The Loss Of A Great Artist & Inspiration… by Neil Strauss (NeilStrauss.com: November 11, 2016). The quotation is from a 2008 interview. Photo by Maarten Massa.

“My natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun” Leonard Cohen on his perspective in “proximity to death”

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The big change is the proximity to death. I am a tidy kind of guy. I like to tie up the strings if I can. If I can’t, also, that’s O.K. But my natural thrust is to finish things that I’ve begun.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker by David Remnick (New Yorker: October 17, 2016)

“This old car isn’t leaving the garage again” Leonard Cohen Says Goodbye To Philip Glass


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Leonard Cohen. I knew him for many years. The last time I spoke to him I asked him when he was next coming to New York. I hadn’t seen him in a while. He said: ‘This old car isn’t leaving the garage again.’ At the time I didn’t really understand him. I think he was really saying goodbye. I never saw him again. He died about a week laterquotedown2

Philip Glass

 

Philip Glass: “I knew many great people. So many of them are gone now” by Jane Graham The Big Issue: Feb 6, 2018

Also see Video: Philip Glass on Working with Leonard Cohen

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?

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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?

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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