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Pico Iyer and Leonard Cohen

10 May, 2012

Another day, as the retreat is drawing to a close, the sky above my window gray and shriven and severe, he shows up with his hands dirty from fixing his toilet, and I try to get him to talk about his writing. “For me,” he says, his voice soft and beautiful, with a trace of Canada still hiding inside it, “the process is really more like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey-cache: I’m stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it’s delicious and it’s horrible and I’m in it. And it’s not very graceful and it’s very awkward and it’s very painful”—you can hear the cadences of his songs here—”and yet there’s something inevitable about it.” But most of the writers he admires, pre-empting one’s criticism again, “are just incredible messes, as human beings. Wonderful and invigorating company, but I pity their wives and their husbands and their children.”

A crooked smile.

You can read the whole interview here

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