Sometimes in the low velvet of Leonard Cohen’s voice, you can hear the welcoming rumble of the earth. I remember first hearing The Songs of Leonard Cohen and becoming an instant fan. It was the songs, the poetry, the novels and the image too; timelessly astride the rock and roll world that was my usual fare.
Like most artists, Cohen has little truck with the illusion that inspiration is all and effortless. I particularly enjoyed his distinction between work and employment:
“[fulfilling work] has a certain nourishment. The mental physique is muscular. That gives you a certain stride as you walk along the dismal landscape of your inner thoughts. You have a certain kind of tone to your activity. But most of the time it doesn’t help. It’s just hard work.
But I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed.”
I think that resonates not just for artists but for all of us sovereign professionals.
(Photo: Clara Molden, via Telegraph.co.uk)