While exercising this morning I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s recent album Old Ideas.
This started me thinking about the role of social environment in creativity. Two of Canada’s greatest writers, Leonard Cohen and Mordechai Richler both came out of the Montréal Jewish community. Was their talent nurtured by this? Would they have been great writers if they had grown up in, oh say, Windsor, Ontario? Or in farm country? In Canada, Margaret Atwood is usually lauded as Canada’s leading literary luminary [sorry for the lapse into alliteration! It is a disease! I can’t help myself!]. For myself, when I read her books [and a book of poetry of hers way back when] I feel like I am in a university lecture hall being told what to think by a left-leaning professor. Mordechai Richler and Leonard Cohen make other universes real in my mind… the wall between writer and words and the reader dissolves and you enter an alternate universe.
[post scriptum: when I googled Leonard Cohen to link to a brief biography of him, only commercial sites or wikipedia came up… so I lined to wikipedia.. then when I search The Canadian Encyclopedia I did indeed find an entry for him, but decided the stay with Wikipedia, not sure why Google didn’t put the better source on the first page of search results]