“The place where the evaluation happens is where I write the songs, when I get to that place where I can’t be dishonest about what I’ve been doing.” Leonard Cohen

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I always experience myself as falling apart, and I’m taking emergency measures.It’s coming apart at every moment. I try Prozac. I try love. I try drugs. I try Zen meditation. I try the monastery. I try forgetting about all those strategies and going straight. And the place where the evaluation happens is where I write the songs, when I get to that place where I can’t be dishonest about what I’ve been doing.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From No Mercy – Leonard Cohen’s Tales from the Dark Side by Anthony DeCurtis. Rolling Stone: January 21, 1993. Photo by SolMur. Originally posted June 15, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“Scripture is our common reservoir… It takes a courageous person to speak with a language that already exists when no one wants to listen. Or believe. It is important for me to tap into that common reservoir.” Leonard Cohen

I asked him [Leonard Cohen] whether, in what was becoming an increasingly secular and godless society, he thought any of his fans remotely understood his themes.

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Scripture is our common reservoir — books that were written during a great age of language and literature. It takes a courageous person to speak with a language that already exists when no one wants to listen. Or believe. It is important for me to tap into that common reservoir.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Mr. Cohen, it was a privilege knowing you by Alan Hustak (Catholic Register Special: November 16, 2016). Quote is from 1984 interview.

Leonard Cohen On Being A Songwriter: “That’s what you’re doing. You’re writing songs for the popular market. Maybe you have a dream that they last for a while.”

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You realize you’re not going to be doing anything else. You’re not going to be leading the social movement. You’re not going to be the light of your generation. You’re not going to be many of the things you thought you might be. You’re this guy sitting in front of the table in the good parts of the day, and crawling around on the carpet in the bad parts. That’s what you’re doing. You’re writing songs for the popular market. Maybe you have a dream that they last for a while.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Life Of A Lady’s Man by Brian D. Johnson. Maclean’s: Dec 7, 1992. Originally posted July 17, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Q: Are you really as sad as your songs? Leonard Cohen: “My work is always autobiographical, and, I hope, objective. Of course, I am like my songs; but I don’t consider myself sad, so I don’t think my songs are sad.”

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From a 1974 interview by Jordi Sierra I Fabra in Barccelona. Published in Leonard Cohen by Alberto Manzano (Antonio Dalmau/G. Gddo: 1978). Photo by Pete Purnell. Originally posted Oct 1, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Q: Is most of your writing, in fact, autobiographical? Leonard Cohen “Yes, but autobiographical includes the imagination. Your imagination also has a history. It is born, grows old, suffers decay and old age, and dies.”

Is most of your writing, in fact, autobiographical? Is that fair?

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Yes, that’s fair. That’s fair. But, you know, autobiographical takes in a lot. You know, it also includes the imagination. You know, your imagination also has a history. It also, you know, is born, grows old, suffers decay and old age, and dies. You know, so the imagination is part of the whole autobiography.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Songwriter Leonard Cohen Discusses Fame, Poetry and Getting Older by Jeffrey Brown. PBS: Broadcast June 28, 2006. Note: I’ve edited out the phrase “you know” used as a discourse marker in the headline quotation. Originally posted July 16, 2013 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“[Book Of Mercy] was above all for me a way of praying.” Leonard Cohen

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I was so intensely involved with Book Of Mercy that I did not do anything else during its writing. Originally, I did not think of publication. The psalms came this way. It was above all for me a way of praying.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Dans les loges avec Leonard Cohen à Strasbourg en 1985 (Le Républicain Lorrain: 18/11/2016). Originally published in Républicain on Feb 17, 1985). By Jean-Paul Germonville. Via Google Translate.

“It’s a ragpicker’s trade as I practice it; I don’t stand on the mountain and receive tablets.” Leonard Cohen On Songwriting

Does the music come first, or the words?

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Well, most of the time you’re just scraping the bottom of the barrel to find any kind of voice at all. It could be a few words, a tone of voice, two chords together–it’s a ragpicker’s trade as I practice it; I don’t stand on the mountain and receive tablets.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen: The Romantic In A Ragpicker’s Trade by Paul Williams (Crawdaddy, March 1975). Image is the cover of Cohen Revisited, a supplement released by Les Inrockuptibles in 2009.

“I thought I had a little bread, enough to get by. I found I didn’t [because $5 million was embezzled from his retirement account] – for which I’m very grateful because it spurred a lot of activity.” Leonard Cohen

Is financial necessity good or bad for art?

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I think it levels the ground. I never had huge amounts of money when I was young. I had huge amounts of fame, and I always had the sense of labor and recompense. I always said I don’t want to work for pay, but I want to get paid for my work. Financial necessity of course arose in a very acute manner a few years ago. [His then-manager stole over $5 million from his retirement account.] I thought I had a little bread, enough to get by. I found I didn’t – for which I’m very grateful because it spurred a lot of activity.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

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