I don’t think anybody really knows why they’re doing anything. If you stop someone on the subway and say, “Where are you going – in the deepest sense of the word?” you can’t really expect an answer. I really don’t know why I’m here. It’s a matter of “What else would I be doing?” Do I want to be Frank Sinatra, who’s really great, and do I want to have great retrospectives of my work? I’m not really interested in being the oldest folksinger around.
As director Armelle Brusq’s 1996 documentary, above, shows, singer-songwriter—and yes—Zen monk Leonard Cohen’s routine at the Mount Baldy Zen Center outside Los Angeles extended beyond the usual mindfulness practice. His simple quarters were outfitted with a computer, printer, radio, and a Technics KN 3000 synthesizer. He sometimes doffed his robes to enter the recording studio or enjoy a bowl of soup at Canter’s Deli. Comparatively, his worldly attachments were few, divvied between the professionally necessary and the fond. Still, calling his daughter, Lorca, to pass along a veterinarian’s update, Cohen sounds every inch the doting Jewish dad.