He wants to write a love song
An anthem of forgiving
A manual for living with defeat
A cry above the suffering
A sacrifice recovering
But that isn’t what I need him to complete…
– Leonard Cohen, Going Home
I’m spending my days learning my new job at the moment. It’s bloody hard work. I liked things better when decisions I made didn’t matter, and when I was completely dispensable. I’m trying to navigate the new territory without falling into delusions of self-importance or power.
I miss the fragility of what I did before. I miss the space of being unsure; the incomplete idea and the relinquishment of knowing.
My new working world involves a lot of contracts, which are, by nature and necessity, black and white. I think it’s because they’re black and white that they leave me floundering in uncertainty. I am a shades of grey kind of person. It’s the only way I know how to function. I work well in those environments where every outcome is negotiated through its context. Contracts don’t allow that, for good reason. I am having to learn to live with certainty.
Leonard Cohen’s new album, Old Ideas, is quite extraordinary. My first listen was the other night, with a friend, over a drink. We heard the line ‘a manual for living with defeat’, and my friend said ‘that’s you! you have to write the manual for defeat’. Which I could – and probably have. I have spent my life practicing for when things don’t work out. The trouble is that I’m completely unprepared for when they do. I’d like the dummies guide to coping when things go to plan… how to give in gracefully to the world’s yes…
I don’t need it quite yet. I’m just willing to concede that one day I might.