Monday, October 20, 2008

The Struggles of a Songwriter

Still high from the Leonard Cohen concert ten days ago, I read this interview with him about his songwriting. I had heard that he struggled with perfectionism in songwriting, sometimes taking years to fully birth a song, but this interview really captures how it is for him.

One of his songs is called "Tower of Song," describing his experiences in songwriting.

Q: Writing in that way could be either more freeing or more restrictive. You have a rhythm that is set but you are free from playing the guitar.

LC: Well, freedom and restriction are just luxurious terms to one who is locked in a dungeon in the tower of song. These are just... ideas. I don’t have the sense of restriction or freedom. I just have the sense of work. I have the sense of hard labor.

Q: Is this hard labor ever enjoyable for you?

LC: It 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.


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