|Tom Fulton, the host of On the Arts at CJRT-FM|
For a few years, I flogged the proposal to various publishers but many were worried that there were too many people from different backgrounds (i.e. Margaret Atwood sitting alongside Oliver Stone). Another publisher curiously chose to reject it because, to them, it appeared to be a book about me promoting my interviews (as if I was trying to be a low-rent Larry King) rather than seeing it as a commentary on the decade through the eyes of the guests. All told, the book soon faded away and I turned to other projects. However, when recently uncovering the original proposal and sample interviews, I felt that maybe some of them could find a new life on Critics at Large.
When we spoke to poet and singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen, he had just come out of a relatively long period of contemplation that dated back to 1979. The culmination of that hermitage was a collection of prayers, psalms, meditations, and contemplative texts he wrote called Book of Mercy (McClelland & Stewart, 1984). Little did any of us know, perhaps not even Cohen himself, that shortly after the publication of this book, his music career would once again catapult him back into the larger public arena.