A Writer flees Depression

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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lightning
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A Writer flees Depression

Post by lightning » Tue Aug 01, 2006 9:51 pm

The book is Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (Viking, 2006)


pps. 49-50:
"I exposed myself to the uplifting arts and carefully protected myself from sad movies, books and songs (if anyone even mentioned the words Leonard and Cohen in the same sentence, I would have to leave the room)."

Thanks to my sister for finding this quote. Many in this room would find Cohen's songs to be among the uplifting arts.
Fljotsdale
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Post by Fljotsdale » Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:58 pm

I failed to understand why people find Cohen's songs depressing.

Then I decided that the people who do so just simply fail to recognise his wit.
And, too, they fail to understand his references. I don't understand some of 'em myself, though I recognise a whole lot more since reading his novels!
Only just found this video of LC:
http://ca.youtube.com/user/leonardcohen?ob=4" target="_blank

This one does make me cry.
kieron
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Post by kieron » Wed Aug 02, 2006 12:40 am

Perhaps the resonance of the depth of the human condition in Leonard's work frightens people by reminding them of their own condition. Personally I take a lot of comfort from Leonard's work and identify with some of the emotion within. I think it's a privledge to be allowed glimpse inside an artists psyche. Only one mortal man has ever connected in such a way with me and with perhaps most of us here in this forum. This "depressive" label may not be untrue and we all attack with the "wit defence" but there is no doubt that lines, words, poems and songs from Leonard trigger an identification amongst us which grabs us and baits us for more. I think there is al ot we can learn by debating this label that has been thrust upon Leonards work. Solace, comfort, and understanding of the human condition and the willingness to share that with us through his work is what I read, see and hear. The overriding emotional state I see in his work is love, in all it's beauty and beastliness.
"A terrible beauty is born" WB Yeats.
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Post by confetti » Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:04 am

i have a photo of LC in my shop on the wall, and invariably when people realise who it is they say "Leonard Cohen you dont like him do you? slit the wrist music " it really bugs me, as they generally have no idea what his songs are. anyway I love him and find him very funny and soothing. He makes me happy
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:23 pm

Priceless description and analysis, Kieron 8) .

Thanks.

~ Lizzy
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Aug 02, 2006 3:25 pm

You're right, Lightning... what's depressing to one is uplifting art to another. I'm glad your sister found the quote, too... for one thing, it paved the way for Kieron's posting 8) .

~ Lizzy
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lightning
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Post by lightning » Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:24 pm

The title of this book tells us the author puts eating before praying and love, a kind of this-worldly orientation. I guess you can't pray and love unless you eat but it's weird for a book title.
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Post by lizzytysh » Wed Aug 02, 2006 4:28 pm

Oh, dear, you're right, Lightning... one might interpret the title as being 'in that order... ' :o .

~ Lizzy
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hydriot
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Post by hydriot » Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:10 am

I have a theory (and it is only a theory) ...

The world is divided into two types of people. The first group kid themselves throughout their lives, inhabit a fantasy world of superficial material things and the pursuit of status, choosing never to think about Death, changing channels whenever an image challenges their cosy view of the world. These are the people who feel discomforted by LC and so dismiss him with talk of "music to slit your wrists by".

Those in the second group are not afraid to feel. They would rather live in the real world with all its pain and failure and broken dreams and thereby live a genuine life than inhabit some candy-floss Barbie-world with no connection to reality. These are the people who admire and appreciate LC, for he speaks as a companion who has dared to feel.

Some decades ago, a male student friend hanged himself in his studio, because his girl had dumped him, his father despised his art, and he believed he was going to fail his Finals. I was returning from abroad at the time. But just before I went abroad I had met him in the street, seen he was depressed, and told him I would visit him before I left. But I was lazy. And I didn't. Thirty years on, I still occasionally feel pangs of guilt. But at least I am not afraid to feel them.

What LC feels about Nancy I feel about my friend. Shared experiences create companionship which in turn is very comforting.

Which is why I belong to the second group.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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st theresa
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Post by st theresa » Fri Aug 11, 2006 3:02 am

I too am one of the group that does not find leonard's music depressing but uplifting. However I have noticed that music lovers come in all shapes sizes and genres and prefer not to dis those who dis leonard or any other artist. I recognize that many of those who do not appreciate Leonard are people who do not listen to lyrics but only to the sound. When they hear Leonard's songs sung by someone whose voice is more to their liking they may find the songs very uplifting indeed. just a thought
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Post by Red Poppy » Sun Aug 13, 2006 9:14 pm

St Theresa - I'm delighted to read that you are not dead but have fled Lisieux for Canada. How is the Liitle Flower? Thriving I hope.
Isn't it often the case that people mistake serious for depressing, that they want their music to be frivolous and if it isn't (lyrically or musically) they put it into the depressing box.
Anyway, the industrial side of music is greatly based on the frivolity of music and LC falls between the stools of frivolous pop and SERIOUSLY serious classical music - in the industry's ears.
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st theresa
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Post by st theresa » Tue Aug 15, 2006 10:02 am

hahah red poppy I am a rather universal saint theresa rather than the ste therese de lisieux or st teresa d'avila and in truth I am no saint at all, having given up such aspirations lo these many years. I sometimes indeed go by the name of tess these days and am for the moment in Australia. Be that as it may, my admiration for M. Cohen sometimes reminds me of the writings of st teresa d'avila in regard to her passion for her saviour which, much like M. Cohen's poetry, straddles a fine line between sexuality and spirituality. Are they not the same, mon dieu!
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Tri-me
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Post by Tri-me » Tue Aug 15, 2006 3:51 pm

I took a script writing workshop last spring. The subject came up about story and why we are drawn to some more than others. It was interesting to hear from the participants what movies were their favourite. Stories have a basic structure the most important part being that the protagonist has an opportunity to overcome an obsticle or not. Why is it I can watch ALWAYS by Stephen Spileburg over and over again? This movie makes me laugh makes me cry inspires me. His [the teacher] insight was that there is something in the story that appeals to our experience.

Another theory I have is that Leonard writes about what the Buddhists call kleshas, the definitions are not necessarily traditional
ignorance being obscured about the meaning of the 4 noble truths and suchness New definition for suffering confusion which is ignorance
pride a haughty additude having the aspect of arrogance based upon the views of transitory collections
desire clinging to the places, bodies and enjoyments of the three realms
jealousy not being able to bear another's achievements or prosperity
anger totally malicious intenion focusing on the harmer: a sentient being, the harm; suffering and the harming conditions poisons weapons and so on.

Apparently, we have seeds of these afflictions within us which we work through in our lives. I feel Leonard brings them up for, me this is why I like his work so much. I did not listen to his music, his books were packed away for years until i was in a place where I could "handle" it again.

I do agree Flots he has a sharp sense of humour. I can laugh out loud at some of his work.
Come down to my room
I was thinking about you
and I made a pass at myself
How did he write Portrait of a Girl (which is about me) before I was ever born? We have never met how'd he do that? This one always... :cry:

I am ranting but it is very interesting to look at why some artists touch our lives more than others. No one touches my heart deeper than Leonard Cohen. Some artists touch our heart Leonard puts our hearts in a blender and pushes frappe.
Cheers & DLight
Tri-me (tree-mite) Sheldrön
"Doorhinge rhymes with orange" Leonard Cohen
Red Poppy
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Post by Red Poppy » Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:23 pm

St Theresa - I'm always intrigued that people choose the verb "straddle" when defining the line between the sexual and physical but then I'm often intrigued by many things
Tri-me - could it be that we connect with the writers. painters, - artists -rather than their connecting with us. They say something - we tap in through the common human experience.
Remember that line about Don McLean in "Killing me softly..." - I thought he'd read my mail(paraphrase).
I get it with Cohen, with HE Bates and Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence from a previous generation.
It must that place where human emotions meet and dally briefly and celebrate the recognition of fellow travellers.
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Tri-me
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Post by Tri-me » Wed Aug 16, 2006 2:40 am

Tri-me - could it be that we connect with the writers. painters, - artists -rather than their connecting with us. They say something - we tap in through the common human experience.
Yes, I think that is correct otherwise we would all like the same things (and stuff) and people. What is out there comes to mind and we react based on our experience in this life and past lives, if you believe in reincarnation.
Cheers & DLight
Tri-me (tree-mite) Sheldrön
"Doorhinge rhymes with orange" Leonard Cohen
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