by Joe and Anne Way (Wisconsin)

How many of you who went came back to the question, “So how was the Leonard Cohen concert on Hydra?” Perhaps it was not difficult for you to express this motivation to travel this long road to find “our wandering heart” that is “homeless at last.” Now, I know we can all say that it was to meet our friends who traveled from all over the world to see us.
But, at least for me, it had a certain sense of pilgrimage. I certainly couldn’t go to Ireland without visiting Yeats’ grave, or to England and not visit Stratford-on-Avon. Yet, one doesn’t generally travel to a distant location to pay homage to someone who is currently living and breathing in L.A.
Perhaps, Henk and Seppo’s “Film From a Room” captured it best. How many of his long time fans have been haunted by the picture of Marianne wrapped in a towel sitting at Leonard’s typewriter in the narrow writing room of his house on Hydra, and someday needed to visit that place. The film is great; ponderous, Bergmanesque, and then completed by the hilarious ending of discovering this place, this holy site, on a day of furious remodeling. But now I, like Dardo the Donkey, can lead someone up those many steps, past the four corners, to “the garden, the house, the door.”

I think Leonard would be pleased with many aspects of this event. I think he would be happy that when we met the caretakers of his house, we were all interested to meet the grandchildren. I think he would be pleased that when we unexpectedly had the pleasure of the company of his daughter, Lorca, that as Dick Straub put it, “Well, she realizes that there are a lot of people here who like her father, and that’s ok because she likes him too.” I think he would be pleased with the sense of fun that overwhelmed the event both during the official program and our informal gatherings.

Of course, we all came back richer for it. We’ve heard the vesper bells from the church steeple, we’ve seen “Bill’s Bar” (or what it has now become), we’ve sat and dined under the ancient pine at Dusko’s. We met face to face all those disembodied souls with whom we communicate via newsgroup, message board and email and it has become not just about Leonard, but about our daily lives and the friendships that have grown and continue to grow.
But we can’t help but thank him as well for all he’s given us. Thank him for that voice, which like his friend, Anthony Kingsmill said, sounds “like a rabbi’s, resolent, complex, and full of history.” Thank him for the songs and poems and novels that we love. Thank him for the man he has become, Our Man.


Joe & Anne Way

Photos © (1) Eve and (2) Kim Solez