My Dinner with Leonard
A Pizzeria off Wilshire, and Living My Life as if it's Real
“You live your life as if it’s real.” Leonard Cohen sang this in a song called “A Thousand Kisses Deep.” It was a contender for a title when I was planning to write a book about him, competing with The Minor Fall, The Major Lift and Songs of Love and Hate. I had interviewed Leonard on Los Angeles in the beginning of 2015. We sat at a Pizzeria Uno off Wilshire. We got a pie with everything but anchovies. There was a fuzzy radio playing corny hits in the background. I remember having a glass of wine, but did that really happen? Does Pizzeria Uno have a liquor license?
We were there to talk about Joni Mitchell, but by the end of the night, we had talked about everything. Joni had been giving me a hard time. I was doing my final interview with her for a book that was published two years later. We planned this visit, we made a date, and she was effusive about it. Then I caught her in a bad mood once I arrived. I didn’t know why at the time—I learned later—and I spent the week wondering if I had flown to LA on my own dime just to not get the interview I came for. I needed this interview to answer key questions and to fill in the story. I had accumulated so many questions, had consulted so many expert witnesses. “I’m surrounded by leeches,” she told me. “What kind of leech are you?”