“It’s time that we began to laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.”
The first Leonard Cohen song I ever heard was “So Long, Marianne”, probably sometime in my intensely emotional adolescence, when nothing made sense and the prospect of keeping on was only slightly eased by his soothing voice, which all at once was equally haunting and comforting, as if he alone understood my pain.
Leonard Cohen died yesterday at the age of 82. And although, sure, he was an old man, he had just put out an album (You Want it Darker), and was still milling about the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles, looking dapper as fuck in his pressed black suit and trilby hat. The man released fourteen albums, thirteen books of poetry, and two novels, and received numerous awards throughout his prolific life. But most of all, he was a man of constant style, of unwavering talent, who had the grace, just last month, to say, “I am ready to die.”
2016 has been a shitty year. And as we compartmentalize our grief and stumble through our days with puffy eyes and swollen hearts, remember that creativity is our only way out. Like Travis said, it’s time for your greatest work yet.
So listen to Leonard Cohen today. Embrace the melancholy. And somehow, crawl right back out and slap the world in the face with something brilliant. Because we desperately need it right now. —Maya Eslami