The Open Road

By Paul Comrie | May 24, 2018

We’re preparing for a new salon on June 18 at House 17.

The topic for this salon is “Heroes” and one of the subjects that has come up is not only the differing notions of heroism, or heroic figures, but also the difference in time periods in one’s life and how that corresponds to the heroes you choose for yourself.

For Richard, Timothy and yours truly, our circuitous conversation had us going back to the films and provocateurs of our youth who inspired us when we were kids. We hit upon Wes Anderson. His body of work came up but that’s not the only thing that interested us, what really seemed interesting was our changing understanding of heroes. To me at least, I find it interesting to revisit my heroes from previous periods, see if they can still hold water.

This morning at House 17 in the library, with the mist over the city and Pfaffenthal, Nic and I had a long ranging conversation about heroes – one in particular. Sincerely L. Cohen. When it comes to Leonard Cohen, there’s just so much to talk about. A ranging conversation that saw us going in and out of topics – how to write, how hard it is to write, Cohen’s perceived reputation as a ladies’ man, his houses, his lifestyle, his relationship to the audience, to money, to family, to wives, to mothers, children, religion (Judaism, Catholicism and Buddhism) – the gamut was wide and enjoyable and for this reason especially wide.

“Nic and I came to a new conclusion this morning: melancholy can’t catch you out on the open road.”

Maybe the topic of greatest interest to us both was Cohen’s handling of sadness, melancholy – I hesitate to use loaded terms like ‘depression’ because it’s clinical and defined by outside parameters.  I’m not necessarily speaking about anything concrete here – just vague human notions of blight, of sadness or of a general lethargy and ‘flatness’ as Nic said.  A feeling that life had been hollowed out, turned flat, featureless and plain.  It is a periodic thing, I think, for any creative soul.

It is after all, I think, in part at least, where the juice comes from, as Nic is wont to say. And even more exciting than that is the concluding aspect of the conversation this morning – that we’re planning a roadtrip in couple of weeks to UK. We’ll ride from Luxembourg and head up to London, staying in his childhood home, where the memories are thick as thieves.

Until next time, enjoy the sun.