31 Days of Happiness Countdown: Carrie Fisher’s dog is in the new ‘Star Wars.’ (Day 13)

Thanks for stopping by for Day 13 of Upworthy’s 31 Days of Happiness Countdown! Each day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31, we’re sharing stories we hope will bring joy, smiles, and laughter into our lives and yours. It’s been a challenging year for a lot of us, so why not end it on a high note, with a bit of happiness? Check back tomorrow for another installment!

This red carpet stud is Gary Fisher.

Photo by Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images.

If that floppy tongue looks familiar, that’s because Gary was Carrie Fisher’s therapy dog.

She adored him. And she always brought him along for the ride.

Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Wizard World.

Fisher, who lived openly with bipolar disorder and died at age 60 last year, said Gary had always been a soothing presence by her side. “Gary is very devoted to me and that calms me down,” she told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2013. “He’s anxious when he’s away from me.”

But Gary, who reportedly now lives with Fisher’s former assistant, is staying in the spotlight. He’s even starring in the new film, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which Fisher filmed before she passed away. And honestly, he looks as cute as can be … for galaxy far, far away standards, at least.

Someone spotted a wrinkly four-legged alien in a sneak-peek image of the new film and asked, “Wait, is that Gary?”

Clair Henry of the “Star Wars” fan site Fantha Tracks tweeted at director Rian Johnson, asking if the “cute little creature” was, in fact, Fisher’s old pup.

Here’s that pic a little bit closer.

Image via Clair Henry/Twitter.

Johnson spotted her tweet and confirmed: Yep, that’s him!

(Granted, it definitely looks like Gary had been through the makeup and prosthetics department.)

Gary, you’re a silver screen star!

Fans are feeling lots of emotions over the latest “Star Wars” film — the last time Fisher’s General Leia Organa will grace cinema screens. For millions, Fisher was more than just a princess all these decades: She was a fighter, fierce friend, and an outspoken advocate for combating the stigma surrounding mental illness. She helped so many people simply be themselves.

It’s wonderful to know that part of her lives on in her best furry little friend.


31 Days of Happiness Countdown: DAY 1 / DAY 2 / DAY 3 / DAY 4 / DAY 5 / DAY 6 / DAY 7 / DAY 8 / DAY 9 / DAY 10 / DAY 11 / DAY 12 / [DAY 13] / DAY 14 / DAY 15 / DAY 16 / DAY 17 / DAY 18 / DAY 19 / DAY 20 / DAY 21 / DAY 22 / DAY 23 / DAY 24 / DAY 25 / DAY 26 / DAY 27 / DAY 28 / DAY 29 / DAY 30 / DAY 31

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/31-days-of-happiness-countdown-carrie-fisher-s-dog-is-in-the-new-star-wars-day-13

Joe Biden swoops in to console Meghan McCain over her father’s cancer diagnosis

An emotional moment between former Vice President Joe Biden and Meghan McCain occurred on The View on Wednesday.

Meghan’s father Senator John McCain was diagnosed with glioblastoma six months ago, an aggressive brain cancer that sadly carries a low survival rate. Despite undergoing an operation, McCain has continued to serve on the United States Senate, famously thwarting his own party’s attempt at repealing Obamacare this summer.

Biden’s son Beau passed away in 2015 from the same cancer. So, when he made an appearance on the talk show, Meghan started off by telling Biden that she was unable to finish his book, Promise Me, Dad, and that she thought about Beau every day. As Meghan became emotional, Biden immediately stepped in, switching seat to get closer and to console her.  

“Look, one of the things that gave Beau courage—my word—was John. Your dad, you may remember when you were a little kid, your dad, took care of my Beau. Your dad… became friends with Beau. And Beau talked about your dad’s courage—not about illness—but about his courage,” Biden told Megan.

Biden then spoke about some of the scientific breakthroughs that have occurred recently, in an attempt at telling Meghan that there is some hope for her father’s condition.

At the exact right moment, Biden swooped in with some much needed comedy, joking about how he and McCain had very different political views, but the two could still depend on each other to be there for one another. 

“The thing that I found—and Beau insisted on, your dad is going to insist on—is you’ve got to maintain hope. There’s hope. You have to have hope,” Biden said, encouraging Meghan.

“I swear, guys, we are gonna beat this damn disease,” Biden concluded as the audience applauded.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/13/joe-biden-meghan-mccain-cancer-the-view/

This educator didn’t punish troublesome kids. She gave them a closet full of stuff.

This time last year, the top three most misbehaved boys at Equetta Jones’ elementary school were from the same family.

As assistant principal, it fell to Jones to figure out how to solve the problem. Other educators might prescribe detentions, suspensions, extra tutoring help, or even a doctor’s appointment to be evaluated for an attention-deficit issue. But Jones sensed that the problem ran deeper — and she had a solution.

“No child comes in every day and says ‘I want to be angry. I want to hit you. I want to curse you out. I don’t want to learn,’” she says. “So it is our responsibility to find out why they’re verbalizing those things.”

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

Often, the problem is the same: Many kids are not having their basic health, shelter, and nutritional needs met. “The middle class, we forget about the fact that when we wake up every morning, we wake up with shelter,” Jones says.

Not all of her students have that luxury.

That’s why Jones’ school worked with an organization called First Book to install a “Care Closet” — a supply of basic essentials for kids in need.

First Book, which supplies books and educational tools for kids in low-income communities, started offering living essentials when they heard from teachers that they’re just as important when it comes to helping kids do well in school.

With the Care Closet in place, Jones can give kids what they need and establish a sense of security so they can focus on school.

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

Her students are no longer worried about whether or not their basic needs are being met. “Their focus is now on coming in and being the best student they can be.”

The Care Closet project gives kids what they need to succeed. But they’re not handouts — they’re hand-ups.

Jones has a system in place to make sure the supplies make the greatest possible impact on the lives of the students.

Parents can come and ask for help, or if teachers notice that a child has an issue, they can discreetly let Jones know and she’ll take the child aside and get them what they need.

Photo courtesy of Equetta Jones/Highlands Elementary School, used with permission.

“I will give them the care package, let them go to the bathroom, clean themselves up, give them a fresh pair of clothes, fold up the dirty clothes, and then send them back home and call up the parents and let them know what I did,” she says. The whole process is discreet; Jones even bought department store-style shopping bags to keep their contents private.

Once the kids have what they need, that’s when the real work begins. When Jones calls children’s parents, there’s an understanding: Though the Care Closet doesn’t cost money, it doesn’t come for free.

“You need to give Ms. Jones back some time,” she says. Parents are asked to come into school and be engaged — either through volunteering or through coaching sessions that help the parents deal with some of the pressing problems in their families’ lives.

“We feel that the information we’re giving is going to not only help them as a parent but also help the child within the classroom.

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

Jones’ method has already created big changes for some of the families at her school.

The three boys who were at the top of the disciplinary chart last year? They’re thriving now — thanks to Jones’ care closet intervention.

She found out that the boys’ mother was in an unhealthy relationship that was having a toxic effect on the whole family. “But she was afraid to leave because then the children wouldn’t have anything,” she says.

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

So Jones brought her in for a conversation.

“I connected her with some outside resources, gave her a scripted plan of what we expected of her,” she says. “And then we said, ‘Mom, follow through with us and we’ll do everything we can to support you.’” That was in September.

“Now it’s November, and Mom just recently moved into her own place,” Jones says. “She meets with me regularly for coaching sessions, we helped her write a resume, and she now has a job at one of our elementary schools.”

Now that their basic needs are being met, the three boys can concentrate on being successful kids. “They’re starting to smile,” she says. “They’re proud of who they’re becoming.”

Photo courtesy of First Book, used with permission.

First Book continues to expand the Care Closet project across the country.

When kids have a caring presence like Jones and the resources they need, they have an opportunity to succeed.

“Unfortunately, if we don’t catch those signs in advance, we’re faced with some of the situations that some of my older students are faced with,” she says. When their basic needs aren’t met, kids become desperate.

“It’s never, ‘I plan to grow up and be this criminal,'” she says. “It’s ‘I was faced with a situation and I found out this was a way for me to get things I couldn’t get.'”

That’s why Jones is so adamant about making sure her students have a solid foundation to further their education.

“All of their needs are being met here,” she says. And now that they have established that stability, “They know that their job is to go and learn.”

For more, take a look at how First Book’s Care Closets are changing schools across the country:

Millions of children from low-income areas don’t have the tools needed to learn, placing them at a disadvantage that perpetuates poverty. First Book is a community that believes education is the way out of poverty for kids in need.

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-educator-didnt-punish-troublesome-kids-she-gave-them-a-closet-full-of-stuff

Starbucks Christmas Tree Frappuccino just tastes like sugar and regret

Please drive this away from me.
Image: STARBUCKS

Nothing says Christmas like a cold cup of sugar. 

At least that’s what I kept telling myself as I took a sip, and another one of the Christmas Tree Frappuccino. It’s Starbucks’ latest concoction that has people running out to corporate coffee shops, where they spend $5 and most likely take a bunch of smartphone photos to later post on social media. 

Like this: 

Like any good business reporter, I jumped on the trend Sunday. After my editor shared a piece by The Denver Post reviewing the drink and some tweets of people’s reactions, I asked if I could go get one and try it myself. Because that, my friends, is reporting. 

Well, I’ve been wanting to get one ever since my sister shared the Starbucks ad in our family group Thursday morning. 

Three hours later, my mom shared a picture of hers. Her review: “It is delicious.” Her favorite part was the candied cranberry topping. 

Image: screenshot

Image: screenshot

I had participated in two of the previous limited-edition Starbucks drinks. 

The Unicorn Frappuccino, a trend debut, was actually not too bad in my biased opinion. Though I think I was on an emotional high because I drank them with Chloe the Mini Frenchie (RIP). 

important coffee meeting with @kerrymflynn who you would share a unicorn frappuccino with? 🦄☕️

A post shared by Chloe The Mini Frenchie (@chloetheminifrenchie) on

The Zombie Frappuccino was strange, but I was also in the middle of emceeing an event in Columbus, Ohio. 

I definitely couldn’t let this one escape me. 

And so that’s how I ended up drinking 420 calories on a Sunday morning. Fortunately, I live four blocks from a Starbucks, so it wasn’t too burdensome to put on a jacket and walk out in the cold weather for a frozen beverage. 

The most embarrassing part was probably ordering when I asked for a “Christmas Tree Frappuccino” and the barista replied, “What?” So then I had to repeat myself over a cringeworthy order while the person in front of me just sipped her cup of hot coffee. 

I waited to take a sip until I could take photos. Because, of course, that’s exactly what Starbucks wants us all to do. All of our tweets are free ads. Actually, they’re not just free. We’re not getting paid. We’re paying them. Starbucks is making money having us all make ads for them. It’s brilliant, and I’m happy to be part of it. 

I got home and looked at the drink on my counter. The Matcha whipped cream had melted to half its height from before. I finally noticed that there was no candied cranberry topping. But I regretfully took a sip. And oh man, it was not good.

Thin Mints are great (Disclosure: I’m a Girl Scout). Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream is awesome. 

The Starbucks Christmas Tree Frappuccino is not either of those things. Every sip of this beverage is an overload of sugar. I’d rather crush up a bunch of Thin Mints and mix them with some ice and milk in a blender than continue sipping this. 

I’m not going to tell you not to get a Christmas Tree Frappuccino because you can probably make your own decisions. But this is not good and you can spend $5 on something else. If you need the picture, go to Starbucks and just wait for someone else to order one. But be good to yourself, and don’t drink it. 

Please. 

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/12/10/starbucks-christmas-tree-frappuccino-review-sugar-regrets-photos/

Get Rid of Capitalism? Millennials Are Ready to Talk About It

One of the hottest tickets in New York City this weekend was a discussion on whether to overthrow capitalism.

The first run of tickets to “Capitalism: A Debate” sold out in a day. So the organizers, a pair of magazines with clear ideological affiliations, socialist and libertarian , found a larger venue: Cooper Union’s 960-capacity Great Hall, the site of an 1860 antislavery speech by Abraham Lincoln. The event sold out once again, this time in eight hours.

The crowd waiting in a long line to get inside on Friday night was mostly young and mostly male. Asher Kaplan and Gabriel Gutierrez, both 24, hoped the event would be a real-life version of the humorous, anarchic political debates on social media. “So much of this stuff is a battle that’s waged online,” said Gutierrez, who identifies, along with Kaplan, as a “leftist,” if not quite a socialist.

These days, among young people, socialism is “both a political identity and a culture,” Kaplan said. And it looks increasingly attractive.

Young Americans have soured on capitalism. In a Harvard University poll conducted last year, 51 percent of 18-to-29 year-olds in the U.S. said they opposed capitalism; only 42 percent expressed support. Among Americans of all ages, by contrast, a Gallup survey last year found that 60 percent held positive views of capitalism.

A poll released last month found American millennials closely split on the question of what type of society they would prefer to live in: 44 percent picked a socialist country, 42 percent a capitalist one. The poll, conducted by YouGov and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, found that 59 percent of Americans across all age groups preferred to live under capitalism.

“I’ve seen the failings of modern-day capitalism,” said Grayson SussmanSquires, an 18-year-old student at Wesleyan University who had turned up for the capitalism debate. To him and many of his peers, he said, the notion of well-functioning capitalist order is something recounted only by older people. He was 10 when the financial crisis hit, old to enough to watch his older siblings struggle to get jobs out of college. In high school, SussmanSquires said, he volunteered for the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist. “It spoke to me in a way nothing had before,” he said.

Although debate attendees leaned left, several expressed the desire to have their views challenged by the pro-capitalist side. “It’s very easy to exist in a social group where everyone has the same political vibe,” Kaplan said.

“I’m immersed in one side of the debate,” said Thomas Doscher, 26, a labor organizer who is studying for his LSATs. “I want to hear the other side.”

The debate pitted two socialist stalwarts, Jacobin founder Bhaskar Sunkara and New York University professor Vivek Chibber, against the defenders of capitalism, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason’s editor in chief, and Nick Gillespie, the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason TV.

And it was the attempt to rebuff criticism of capitalism that mostly riled up the crowd.

Chibber argued that the problem with capitalism is the power it has over workers. With the weakening of U.S. labor unions, “we have a complete despotism of the employers,” he said, leading to stagnant wages. When Mangu-Ward countered that Americans aren’t coerced on the job, the crowd erupted in laughter. “Every morning you wake up and you have a decision about whether or not you’re going to go to work,” she insisted, and the audience laughed again.

Sunkara summed up his argument for socialism as a society that helped people tackle the necessities of life—food, housing, education, health care, childcare. “Wherever we end up, it won’t be a utopia,” he said. “It will still be a place where you might get your heart broken,” or feel lonely, or get indigestion.

Mangu-Ward replied: “Capitalism kind of [fixes] those things, actually.” There’s the app Tinder to find dates, and Pepto Bismol to cure your upset stomach. “Those are the gifts of capitalism,” she said.

The arguments stayed mostly abstract. Sunkara and Chibber insisted their idea of democratic socialism shouldn’t be confused with the communist dictatorships that killed millions of people in the 20th century. Mangu-Ward and Gillespie likewise insisted on defending a capitalist ideal, not the current, corrupt reality. “Neither Nick nor I are fans of big business,” she said. “We’re not fans of crony capitalism.”

Talking theory left little time to wrestle with concrete problems, such as inequality or climate change. That frustrated Nathaniel Granor, a 31-year-old from Brooklyn who said he was worried about millions of people being put out of work by automation such as driverless vehicles.

“It didn't touch on what I feel is the heart of the matter,” Granor said. Both capitalism and socialism might ideally be ways to improve the world, he concluded, but both can fall short when applied in the real world. 

    Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-06/get-rid-of-capitalism-millennials-are-ready-to-talk-about-it

    Labrador puppy stolen by thieves returned to ‘devastated’ little girl

    Eight-week-old labrador puppy, Sasha, was stolen from a family.
    Image: victoria police

    An eight-week-old puppy that was stolen from a house in Melbourne, Australia, has been returned to a “devastated” family after local police launched a public appeal.

    A number of items including a laptop, an iPad and jewellery were also stolen from the home on Monday. 

    Yet it was the missing labrador, Sasha, that distressed the family most — especially the daughter of the dog’s owner, four-year-old Maia.

    “We’ve only had her a week, but she’s part of the family. She was my daughter’s best friend, and those two spent each night falling asleep together in the dog bed,” Sasha’s owner, Ryan Hood, told Today.

    Police failed to find the dog anywhere in the home or in the neighbourhood, and a investigation was launched. But on Thursday, Sasha mysteriously returned to the family’s home. 

    Hood’s wife woke up to make a coffee, when she noticed a moving figure by the kennel. It turned out to be their missing dog.

    “We think that whoever took her had either a conscience, or got scared and dropped her over the fence … we don’t care to be honest. We’re happy to have her back,” Hood told Today on Thursday.

    Hood said his daughter, Maia, was “ecstatic” as was the dog. The dog appeared to be unharmed and in good health, although has a fascination with shoes now.

    None of the other stolen items were returned, and Victoria Police said it’ll still be investigating the burglary. 

    Through all the bad, fortunately there’s still a little bit of good left in this world.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/09/puppy-stolen-little-girl/

    Bearded dudes pose for merman calendar to raise money for a worthy cause

    Behold the “Merb’ys”—a breed of Canadian bearded mermen flapping their fur and fins for a good cause. 

    The gentlemen of Newfoundland and Labrador Beard and Moustache Club are posing in nowt but their merman garb for a dudeoir-style calendar to raise money for mental health organisation Spirit Horse NL.

    And, the photos certainly don’t disappoint. The calendar—which can be previewed online—features bearded mermen posing in pumpkin patches, pubs, and on various beaches. 

    The Merb’ys are thus-named because “the Newfoundland mermen are a different breed,” says Hasan Hai, founder of the beard and moustache club. Hai came up with the idea of a merman calendar after a friend of his posted a photo from a mercreature themed dudeoir shoot on his Facebook wall. 

    He decided to organise a calendar, and posted an “open call to the universe” on social media, which received an unexpectedly high response. 70 or 80 people got in touch with Hai, offering to model or photograph. 

    Hai knew he wanted to raise money for charity, but hadn’t yet settled on a charity. When he came across Sprit Horse NL and heard the stories of the people they help, he suggested using the calendar to raise money for the organisation. 

    “It basically uses horses to provide equine therapy for people with mental illness, people who want to live better lives, people with physical limitation,” Hai told CBC. 

    Donning a fin was a challenge for the men during the calendar shoots. “Moving around in a fishtail is not as easy as you would think,” Hai continued, adding that there was “a lot of hopping” and squirming involved behind the scenes.  

    The calendar, which has received an overwhelming number of pre-orders, can be purchased online for $25 CAD ($19.70 USD, £14.99) from the Beard and Moustache Club website. 

    Major props to the Merb’ys of Newfoundland!

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/10/mermen-dudeoir-calendar-newfoundland/

    A timeline of the rogue Twitter employee’s last day at work before deleting Trump’s account

    Image: mashable composite. max knoblauch; shutterstock

    This post is a part of Mashable Humor. It is not real. We drew the bird, though, and think it’s pretty good.

    A Twitter customer support employee is responsible for temporarily deactivating the account of President Trump for 11 minutes on Thursday night, just before 7:00 p.m. EST. According to a statement from the company, it was said employee’s last day, and they acted without the approval of anyone else at Twitter.

    What follows is a comprehensive timeline of the “rogue” employee’s infamous last day at Twitter HQ.

    9:05 a.m.: Employee arrives at office on their last day. Employee sits at desk.

    9:15 a.m.: Employee’s manager approaches, asks employee if they received email. “I haven’t checked my email,” employee replies. “Oh, okay. Well, when you get a chance,” manager answers. The employee will not look at the email.

    9:20 a.m.: Employee tells coworker Devin that his coffee mug is on their desk, technically, and has been every day for several months.

    9:25 a.m.: Employee leaves for “early lunch.”

    1:15 p.m.: Employee returns from lunch.

    1:19 p.m.: Employee sends email recommending lunch spot’s Moscow Mules to full New York office.

    1:25 p.m.: Employee forwards Moscow Mule email to global staff list with message, “In case any of you are ever in town.”

    1:30 p.m.: Using Sharpie, employee writes, “This bread taste like DOGGGG SHIT” on a loaf of bread in the employee kitchen.

    1:35 p.m.: Employee reminds coworker Devin about the coffee mug’s location, asking him, “Did you know?”

    1:40 p.m.: Employee leaves for “late lunch.”

    4:10 p.m.: Employee returns from late lunch.

    4:45 p.m.: During team meeting, employee is asked to say a few words. Employee uses full time to again recommend the Moscow Mules. The employee has worked at Twitter for 4 years.

    5:00 p.m.: Employee enters back room and adjusts office thermostat to 68 degrees.

    5:03 p.m.: Employee arrives at HR for exit interview.

    5:10 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “How do you feel about your time here?” with simply, “Bad.”

    5:12 p.m.: Employee responds to HR’s question of, “Is there anything you feel you have not been able to do in your time here?” with, “Delete the president’s Twitter.” Employee tells HR they think they will be deleting President Trump’s account later in the day. The HR representative chuckles.

    5:15 p.m.: Employee returns to desk.

    5:30 p.m.: Employee watches the first 25 minutes of Netflix’s What the Health at desk without headphones.

    5:55 p.m.: Employee says, “Wow.”

    5:56 p.m.: Employee messages manager that the office chairs are very uncomfortable. Manager replies with, “Well, I don’t furnish the office lol.” Employee replies, “I do not like you and I have not liked you for some time now.” Manager does not reply.

    6:00 p.m.: Employee stands on desk and announces that they will be drinking Moscow Mules at the lunch spot nearby if anyone wants to go.

    6:48 p.m.: Employee returns to office to retrieve coat.

    6:49 p.m.: Employee throws Devin’s mug in the garbage.

    6:50 p.m.: Employee deactivates the president’s Twitter account.

    6:55 p.m.: Employee returns to lunch spot for Moscow Mules.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/04/rogue-twitter-employee-deletes-trump-timeline-satire/

    Woman requests time off for mental health, boss sends the perfect reply

    It’s been almost three months since the news that Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington died by suicide, and the tributes and comments about the lead singer are still pouring in. 

    Before his death, Bennington, along with two members of the band, filmed an episode of Apple Music’s Carpool Karaoke

    That video was finally shared on Thursday with the blessings of Bennington’s family and friends, and is 23 minutes of pure joy with comedian Ken Jeong, a big fan of the band. 

    The four men rip through Linkin Park classics, an Outkast song, “screaning” lessons (that’s scream singing), a dance break and more. Because this goes beyond the James Corden segments that started the carpool movement, the group goes on a karaoke bus for even more antics.

    Fans of Bennington and the band were thrilled, and emotional, about the new video. 

    “Everyone at home watching should all sing along,” Bennington says at the end. 

    What are you waiting for?

    If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

    Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/10/12/chester-bennington-linkin-park-carpool-karaoke-/

    Leonard Cohen’s last book, finished ‘days before his death’, due out next year

    The Flame collects unpublished poetry, as well as notebook entries and song lyrics, and offers an intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist

    A book of Leonard Cohens final poems, completed in the months before his death and tackling the flame and how our culture threatened its extinction, according to his manager, will be published next year.

    Describing the collection, The Flame, as an enormously powerful final chapter in Cohens storied literary career, publisher Canongate said that the Canadian singer-songwriter had chosen and ordered the poems in the months before his death in November 2016. The overwhelming majority of the book, which will be published next October, will be new material, it added.

    Cohen, who died at the age of 82, originally focused his career on poetry, publishing the collections Let Us Compare Mythologies in 1956, The Spice-Box of Earth in 1961, and Flowers for Hitler in 1964. By the late 60s, he was concentrating more on music, releasing his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, in 1967.

    Cohens manager and trustee of his estate Robert Kory said that pulling The Flame together had been a key ambition for the singer-songwriter at the end of his life. During the final months of his life, Leonard had a singular focus completing this book, taken largely from his unpublished poems and selections from his notebooks. The flame and how our culture threatened its extinction was a central concern, said Kory.

    Though in declining health, Leonard died unexpectedly. Those of us who had the rare privilege of spending time with him during this period recognised that the flame burned bright within him to the very end. This book, finished only days before his death, reveals to all the intensity of his inner fire.

    In an interview with the New Yorker last October, Cohen spoke of how my natural thrust is to finish things that Ive begun, and of how he was getting up well before dawn to write.

    I dont dare attach myself to a spiritual strategy. I dont dare do that. Ive got some work to do. Take care of business. I am ready to die. I hope its not too uncomfortable. Thats about it for me, he told the magazines editor David Remnick.

    In a certain sense, this particular predicament is filled with many fewer distractions than other times in my life and actually enables me to work with a little more concentration and continuity than when I had duties of making a living, being a husband, being a father. Those distractions are radically diminished at this point. The only thing that mitigates against full production is just the condition of my body At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order.

    The Flame will also include an extensive selection from Cohens notebooks, which Canongate said he kept in poetic form throughout his life, and which it promised would offer an unprecedentedly intimate look inside the life and mind of a singular artist and thinker. The full lyrics of his final three albums, along with those he wrote for the album Blue Alert by his collaborator Anjani, will also be included, along with prose pieces and Cohens own illustrations.

    Canongates Francis Bickmore, who acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, called it a towering final book, hulking with morbid wit and lit up with insight This substantial parting work, from a great artist now gone, will speak to anyone who has been moved by Cohens unique voice.

    The Flame will be published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux in the US, and McClelland & Stewart in Canada.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/oct/06/leonard-cohens-last-book-finished-days-before-his-death-due-out-next-year-the-flame