“This is my adventure. My greatest need is to be interesting to myself.” Leonard Cohen

a170174-v8

quoteup2
Sometimes I feel that my life is a sell-out and that I’m the greatest comedian of my generation. But I have to keep going. I can’t remain fifteen and a virgin. So now I’m thirty-six and greedy. I’m willing to be this. I was once never able to stay in the same room with four people. Only a girl who adored me. I feel better now. The more vulgar I get, the more concerned with others I get. I’m trying to cure myself and the only way to cure myself is to take over the world. This is my adventure. My greatest need is to be interesting to myself. Suffering has led me to wherever I am. Suffering has made me rebel against my own weakness.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen Wants the Unconditional Leadership of the World by Susan Lumsden (Weekend Magazine: Sept 12, 1970). Photo Credit: Peter Brosseau/Library and Archives Canada/PA-170174

 

“Why have I become Scott Fitzgerald but without any loot or social connections?” Leonard Cohen (1962)

Leonard Cohen writing from Hydra in 1962 to his friend Daniel Kraslavsky in Montreal. From Various Positions: A Life of Leonard Cohen By Ira B. Nadel (Random House of Canada: 1996). Originally posted July 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[Mine was] the most uneventful kind of Norman Rockwell childhood. The absence of events is what distinguishes it.” Leonard Cohen

l-m-eFrom left: Esther (Leonard Cohen’s sister), Masha
(Leonard Cohen’s mother), Leonard Cohen

From Melancholy Baby by John Walsh. The Independent Magazine: May 8, 1993. Originally posted February 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen On His Motivation For Recording Songs of Leonard Cohen “I was trying to come up with a solution to being a writer and not having to go to a university to teach.”

From 7 Reasons Leonard Cohen Is the Next-Best Thing to God by David Browne. Entertainment Weekly, Jan 8, 1993.

Leonard Cohen Vows Retaliation Against Those Who Described Him As Gloomy


Laughing Len, the merchant of gloom, and all of those pithy (and sometimes ill-meant) descriptions of you (as if those using them could know you) or your work: I can’t imagine they bother you at all. But was there a time when they did? (Apart from anything else, they missed the humour in your work and, in a broader sense, trivialised what you were doing.)

quoteup2
All those bastards are going to pay for itquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From the Dan Cairns – Sunday Times Culture questionnaire Leonard Cohen sent me Oct 17, 2016. This quote, without the lead-in, was incorporated into Leonard Cohen: Hey, that’s some way to say goodbye by Dan Cairns (The Sunday Times: October 23 2016).

“I think perhaps you learn with age, the aging process is very important…” Leonard Cohen, On Being Asked If He Is A Teacher

Are you a teacher?

quoteup2
If I am a teacher I don’t think that my teachings should go into effect until I myself have reached a kind of plane where my experience would be nourishing. If people follow, if people somehow turn on to my work, and turn on to it in the way of education and think that that’s the end, then they’re wrong. I think perhaps you learn with age, the aging process is very important, I think sometimes I might be a teacher.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

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

“I know that unless I can get straight with myself no enterprise is going to be very meaningful. I think a lot of people are going to discover that too.” Leonard Cohen On Unemployment And Jobs In Art & Revolution


quoteup2
I went [to Columbia University] with the idea of doing something because I had this continual sense of unemployment. I was maybe twenty-one or twenty-two at the time. I thought I’d better start taking things seriously, you know, you’re twenty-two and you’re not doing anything, what are you going to do in this world? And so in some corner of my mind I thought, well, post graduate studies in English. But I couldn’t make that for more than two or three weeks. I mean, I always had this sense of unemployment; I think that’s what our disease is. That somehow some of the most imaginative people in our society are unemployed. That’s bad. Now, I mean, unemployed both in the strict sense and in some more symbolic sense. We just are not working at our full capacity. And some people feel, you know, we have to tear the whole thing down and begin it again, that, in a sense is a kind of employment. I think that idea is very inviting to unemployed people; it really is a job. Revolution will employ a lot of people. It won’t employ me, unfortunately. I would love to be employed by it. I think that as one of the alternatives open to young men and women today, revolution is an excellent job. And an excellent discipline, excellent training. But it’s not for me. I’ve gone into it in some ways. I even went down to fight in Cuba. I think I explored it to my own satisfaction. I know that unless I can get straight with myself no enterprise is going to be very meaningful. I think a lot of people are going to discover that too. A very good friend of mine who wanted to be a writer and who found that he had made a mistake and he didn’t really want to be a writer, is a gardener now and very happy. I think a lot of people who simply couldn’t make it in the society as we see it now, turned to art first. And it’s still happening in this present generation. A lot of people who look at the world as they see it and look at the jobs that are offered them, simply can’t imagine themselves doing any of those things and because there aren’t many alternatives, they turn to art. They see in art the freedom and the kind of life they would like to lead, that organized society doesn’t present. But there are very few people who really have the aptitude for art. A lot of people would be a lot happier as gardeners and carpenters and cabinet makers, and I think I might be one of them. It’s certainly on my list of the things that I’m going to try. I feel a lot closer to that now, than I ever did. I hardly pay attention to what we call art. I don’t read poetry and I don’t think of myself as an artist. I’m looking around for a job. I thought it might be as a singer.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

An Interview with Leonard Cohen by Michael Harris. Duel: Winter 1969. Photo from York University Libraries, Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections, Toronto Telegram fonds, F0433, Photographer: John Sharp, Identifier: ASC01709.