I both curse and thank the bi-annual move from north to south and south to north. It forces me to clean up. 


For years I’ve had the summer 2006 edition of Brick magazine on my desk, page 31 tagged with the post-it: “blog.” About time I got around to it, don’t you think?


My prized acquisition this summer was a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 scanner, which scans quickly, and can convert a pdf to a searchable text. (I love this scanner!)


Voilá: from a scan of page 31, Leonard Cohen’s introduction to theChinese edition of Beautiful Losers:


Dear Reader,


Thank you for coming to this book. It is an honour, and a surprise, to have the frenzied thoughts of my youth expressed in Chinese characters. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of the translator and the publishers in bringing this curious work to your attention. I hope you will find it useful or amusing.


When I was young, my friends and I read and admired the old Chinese poets. Our ideas of love and friendship, of wine and distance, of poetry itself, were much affected by those ancient songs. Much later, during the years when I practised as a Zen monk under the guidance of my teacher Kyozan Joshu Roshi, the thrilling sermons of Lin Chi (Rinzai) were studied every day. So you can understand, Dear Reader, how privileged I feel to be able to graze, even for a moment, and with such meagre credentials, on the outskirts of your tradition.


This is a difficult book, even in English, if it is taken too seriously. May I suggest that you skip over the parts you don’t like? Dip into it here and there. Perhaps there will be a passage, or even a page, that resonates with your curiosity. After a while, if you are sufficiently bored or unemployed, you may want to readit from cover to cover. In any case, I thank you for your interest in this odd collection of jazz riffs, pop-art jokes, religious kitsch, and muffled prayer, an interest that indicates, to my thinking, a rather reckless, though very touching, generosity on your part.


Beautiful Losers was written outside, on a table set among the rocks, weeds, and daisies, behind my house on Hydra, an island in the Aegean Sea. I lived there many years ago. It was a blazing hot summer. I never covered my head. What you have in your hands is more of a sunstroke than a book. 


Dear Reader, please forgive me if I have wasted your time.


                                                                                                   — Leonard Cohen


 Don’t you simply love him?


 

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