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November 2, 2012

Journal Pages: The words of aging 'rock' stars

If you pay attention carefully, you must see that there is no coincidence.

Within exactly 12 hours that spanned Tuesday night and Wednesday morning this week, I received photographs (from their youths) of my two favorite rock stars — Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen.

I call them rock stars, not “music stars,” because J. S. Bach and Amadeus Mozart butt heads on another list completely.

It was just before “Closing Time” at my shop (no coincidence that’s my favorite Tom Waits song) on Tuesday, that my friend John dashed in on his way to play music somewhere.

“Here’s a little present for you,” he said, slipping me a crisp postcard portrait of Tom Waits in his early 20s. I shrieked like a teenaged girl.

Then, up the next morning at 4:30, I sat down to keep company with my coffee and a pile of unread New York Times Book Reviews that lay stacked, waiting for me to delve in. Often times, they save me needing to read the whole book.

The October 14th issue was on the top. I opened it, always scanning the non-fiction first, only to have it jump right off the page: “I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen” (no coincidence that “I’m Your Man” is my favorite Leonard Cohen song) by Sylvie Simmons.

I flipped to page 13, featuring an early photo of Cohen, and shrieked like a teenaged girl, devouring every word of A. M. Homes’ review. I wondered if I could even wait a month to have the book for my birthday.

Shrieking like a teenaged girl? How very unbecoming, maybe even ridiculous, you say. But, hold it! One of these guys is only three years younger than I, and the other, twelve years older. So actually, the three of us were teenagers at pretty much the same time. Give me that, at least, as a passable excuse. Thank you.

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