I just finished reading The Collected Works of Jim Morrison. I typically post my reviews on Goodreads, only sharing select reviews of relevant subject matter here. I’m sharing my review of this book because of Jim’s significant influence on me.
It’s been a long time since I checked in at Morrison Hotel. Good thing my stay was brief.
This isn’t your typical book.
This isn’t your typical writer.
This isn’t your typical anything.
Perhaps it’s anti-typical.
It’s Jim Morrison.
There’s nothing I can say – interpretively, academically, psychologically, or otherwise – that will help anyone understand Jim and his work beyond their own perceptions, interpretations, and limitations. It’s all personal.
As this review will only be.
First of all, some context.
Jim Morrison’s influence on me, especially in my younger days, was so profound that when I think on it now from the vantage point of two decades, it frankly scares me. I found Jim – and the myth of Jim – both fascinating and frightening. After coaxing me to drink whiskey and eat acid, Jim guided me to some dark truths, to an understanding that the only way to truly appreciate one’s existence was to push it to the brink of annihilation. Break on through…
Now that I’m older, I’ve kept Jim’s hounds at bay. The albums have been shelved for years, though I keep a few songs on my iPhone for rare celebrations.
See, about fifteen years ago my friend Ethan and I made a compact. Every time we’d hear “Roadhouse Blues” we’d have to stop what we’re doing and either flatrock a beer or take a shot. For the rest of our lives. That lasted till my second divorce.
Seriously, every time I hear The Doors I hear the Pied Piper. If I happen to be driving, the foot presses the gas pedal more and more till I’m either hauling ass or snap out of it and change the station. Their music makes me want to accelerate my senses.
So, now, here I am on top of hill 47, married, three kids, two dogs, homeowner. Responsibilities and what not. A few months ago I heard about the upcoming release of this book. I immediately pre-ordered it.
When it arrived on my doorstep in June, I knifed open the box and picked up this hefty tome – The Jim Bible – and the cover hit me. Jim, staring so hard into my orbs I could feel it in my throat. My anticipation soon turned to apprehension, even dread. I was about to once again enter the labyrinth where “no one here comes out alive.”
The book stood on my nightstand for two weeks. Jim’s stare unnerving me.
I don’t remember which came first, the wine or the reading but once they commenced, they commenced more and more.
Some of the material I was familiar with, much of the material was new. I particularly enjoyed the film treatment for The Hitchhiker.
Ultimately the book will take you on a trip, a very personal journey, with Jim Morrison as your guide. Jim writes like a photographer, capturing images and moments juxtaposed and disjointed in time. It’s all metaphor. Sensual metaphor.
The wine turned to beer. The beer turned to Scotch. There was smoke in the air. Chels and I made love more. It took me a couple weeks to get through the book. And I must say I’m glad my reunion with Jim is over, such Dionysian reverie can be exhausting, and I can get back to my Dad Life.
And check out of Morrison Hotel…