“I’m in the prophecy business; but, I work so slowly that the business is almost bankrupt.” Leonard Cohen

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Well, I know I’m in the prophecy business; but, I work so slowly that the business is almost bankrupt. For instance, I began this song about democracy in ’88 and I didn’t get it out till ’92. Well, by the time I got it out, the song was co-opted as a tool for the Democratic Party. It was played on the radio stations in the week of the election and it seemed to fit in with the President Elect’s programme.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen’s The Future Interview by Bob Mackowitz. Transcript from a radio special produced by Interviews Unlimited for Sony Music, 1992. Originally posted May 7, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“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)

Asked About The Process Of Artistic Creativity One Month Before His Death, Leonard Cohen Cuts To The Chase

Do you think that introspection is the wrong word to describe the sifting of experience and emotion in creating? I’ve often wondered if the process is the result of the opposite of introspection – that, instead, the artist is forcing the experience/material out from the inner? If it were just inner, after all, it might not get out. Maybe mystification is more accurate than introspection? (Though I’m not sure contemporary society much likes mystification, as they are too preoccupied with answers, with the specific.)

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Highfalutin inquiry into the nature of scavengingquotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From the Dan Cairns – Sunday Times Culture questionnaire Leonard Cohen sent me Oct 17, 2016. Some of that questionnaire was incorporated into Leonard Cohen: Hey, that’s some way to say goodbye by Dan Cairns (The Sunday Times: October 23 2016); this specific question and answer set was not used.

Leonard’s 2001 exchange with Sylvie Simmons clarifies his s use of “scavenging.”

Sylvie Simmons: You had said previously that songs had to be ‘scraped’ or ‘torn’ from heart. Is writing still that bloody?

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Did I say that? That romantic image has somewhat evaporated. Now I’d say it’s the work of a scavenger. … The content of whatever it is you write is a matter of scavenging around and trying to satisfy this appetite to make something.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Felonious Monk by Sylvie Simmons, (MOJO: November 2001)

“I tried to stop, but my relationship with writing is like that of a bear running into a hive – he can’t resist the temptation to steal honey…” Leonard Cohen

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I tried to stop, but my relationship with writing is like that of a bear running into a hive — he can’t resist the temptation to steal honey. It happens continually. It’s delightful and it’s horrible, but, although I’m clumsy and aching, I’m up to my neck in it.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From The Virtueless Monk by Elena Comelli (La Nazione, Florence, November 25, 1998. Translated by Andrea Della Rossa) Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles. The image atop this post is the back cover of Flowers for Hitler by Leonard Cohen. Photo by Sophie Baker (Jonathan Cape: 1973)Originally posted October 5, 2009 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

“My songs are life and the facts of each day, and I am my songs.” Leonard Cohen

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My music is a reflection of my personality, and my personality is a reflection of all that surrounds me. For me, seeing all of this as my work, the most important thing is to be worthy. So, I treat this world that surrounds me with the integrity and dignity necessary to bring it, through me, to everyone else. After that, it is the spiritual state of each person that determines how it will affect her or him. A person could think that I or my songs are sad because of that person’s own spiritual state, because they are not affected by the chaotic emotions that surround us, because they are living in another state, and I don’t mean to say that that state is more superficial or ordinary, on the contrary, it is the way of being forged by each individual, in which they live. But their power to understand will be affected by what they feel, and by the meaning they give to things. My songs are life and the facts of each day, and I am my songs.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From a 1974 interview by Jordi Sierra I Fabra in Barccelona. Published in Leonard Cohen by Alberto Manzano (Antonio Dalmau/G. Gddo: 1978). Photo taken at March 24, 2013 Leonard Cohen Memphis concert by J. Scherr.

“Some of the songs [on Popular Problems] came together with shockingly alarming speed. But usually I take a long, long time − partly because of addiction to perfection, partly just sheer laziness.” Leonard Cohen

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It’s taken this long for (‘A Street’) to find that path of expression. On the other hand, songs like ‘You Got Me Singing’ and ‘Did I Ever Love You,’ those were written very quickly. Some of the songs came together with shockingly alarming speed. But usually I take a long, long time − partly because of addiction to perfection, partly just sheer laziness.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

From Leonard Cohen on the Inner Workings of His New Album ‘Popular Problems’ by Todd Aaron Jensen. Bio: Dec 1, 2014.

“Being a songwriter is like being a nun. You’re married to a mystery.” Leonard Cohen

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Being a songwriter is like being a nun. You’re married to a mystery. It’s not a particularly generous mystery. Not many people have that experience in matrimony anyway. A lot of young writers ask me for advice. They’re making a big mistake because my methods are obscure and not to be replicated. The only thing I can say is that a song will yield if you stick with it long enough, but long enough is way beyond any reasonable duration.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From Leonard Cohen on the Inner Workings of His New Album ‘Popular Problems’ by Todd Aaron Jensen. Bio: Dec 1, 2014. Photo by J. Scherr.