Jim Morrison ” The Doors. There’s the known. And there’s the unknown. And what separates the two is the door, and that’s what I want to be. Ahh wanna be th’ door.
. .” – Jim Morrison Jim Morrison is often thought of as a drunk musician. He is also portrayed to many as an addict and another ‘doped up’ rock star. These negative opinions project a large shadow on the many positive aspects of this great poet. Jim’s music was influenced heavily by many famous authors.
You must cast aside your ignorance and look behind the loud electric haze of the sixties music. You must wipe your eyes and look through the psychedelic world of LSD. Standing behind these minor flaws, you will see a young and very intellectual poet named Jim Morrison. Jim Morrison’s distraught childhood was a contributing factor to Jim’s fortune and his fate. As a young child, Jim experienced the many pains of living in a military family. Having to move every so often, Jim and his brother, and sister never spent more than a couple of years at a particular school.
Jim attended eight different schools, grammar and High, throughout his schooling career. This amount of traveling made it hard for a young child to make many friends. In high school, Jim had an especially hard time, “The only real friend he made was a tall but overweight classmate with a sleepy voice named Fud Ford ” (qtd. in Sugerman 9 ). Although there seems to be many negative aspects of Jim’s child hood, many positive did arise.
II The traveling done by the Morrison family brought Jim through may different experiences and situations. For instance, while driving on a highway from Santa Fe with his family, he said he experienced, “the most important moment of my life” (qtd. in Russel 6 ). The Morrisons came upon an overturned truck of dying Pueblo Indians. This moment influenced Jim and later became the basis of many of his songs, poetry, stories, and thoughts. Jim Morrison’s estranged childhood was the root underneath his bizarre and eccentric personality.
The negative effects of his upbringing helped to mold the Jim into the person he would later become. Jim Morrison’s strange sense of humor and sickness were just fractions of his very intellectual mind. Jim and his family moved to Alemeda, California. This is where he would start first year and a half of his high school journey. Morrison’s creativeness and infatuation with Mad Magazines led to the horrification of many. When he would arrive late to class, he would tell elaborate stories to the teachers about being kidnapped by gypsies. Jim’s subtle and bizarre personality was now starting to form.
Jim’s wild imagination begin to produce hundreds of scatological and sexually explicit ideas in the form of pictures and make believe radio commercials. The deranged pictures that Jim created, were ones with quite an abnormality. For instance, the picture Jerry Hopkins describes, “a man with a Coca-Cola bottle for a penis, a mean looking can opener for testicles, one hand held out and dripping with slime, more of that slim dripping from his anus.” III All of Jim’s and Fud’s focuses again were sexual, or scatological, but they were imbued with sophistication and subtle humor unusual for someone only fourteen. No doubt, Jim’s sexually demented mind was now partially formed. The once young and innocent Jim Morrison was now older and more harmful.
Late in his sophomore year, Jim moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Her he met Tandy, his first girlfriend. Jim now ill-mannered, constantly horrified others, especially Tandy. He would make public scenes by kissing her feet or asking her to do ridiculous acts out loud. Tandy though, was not the only one subjected to Jim’s “Tests”, his teachers suffered as well.
” I asked him why he played games all the time, ” Tandy says today. ” He said, ‘ You’d never stay interested in me if I didn’t.” Indeed that was the case not only with Tandy, but also at school. Jim was now looked upon as the ring leader by his peers. Everybody wanted to be like Jim, they all competed for his attention, “Jim’s magnetism was becoming obvious” (Surgeman 16 ). Right down to his expressions, his peers mimicked all of his actions.
But Jim never led them like they wanted to be led. Jim once again started taking Death defying risks that he would also subject his brother to. He forced Andy to walk along an edge that hovered fifty feet above the ground. All of the risks that he subjected others to were ones that he was never afraid to complete. “Throughout his senior year his parents pressured Jim to apply to colleges, just as they badgered him into having his photograph taken for the high school yearbook” ( Hopkins 25 ).
IV When graduation came around, Jim decided not to attend. Later on his parents succeeded in enrolling Jim at St. Petersburg Junior College in Florida. The instability and rootlessness of Jim Morrison’s child hood, helped build a character that later became the emptiness of this great poet. It was also in high school that the Intellectual side of Jim’s unique mind started to emerge.
The same year that he moved to Alameda, Jim stumbled across a new novel by Jack Kerouac. On the Road held Jim captive for hours upon hours. He also started to copy down paragraphs he liked into a spiral notebook that he would carry around with him from that day on. The more Jim read, the more he started to drift away into the infinite world of poetry. He also read Lawrence Ferlinghetti, along with other favorites Kenneth Rexroth and Allen Ginsberg.
“Ginsberg made one of the greatest impact, for he was the real-life Carlo Marx (On the Road) ” ( Hopkins 12 ). It was an image that stuck with Jim like glue, “the sorrowful poetic con-man with the dark mind” Young Morrison was greatly fascinated by Dean Moriarty, “the sideburned hero of the snowy west.” Jim began to copy Moriarty word for word, right down to his “hee- hee-hee-hee” laugh. Throughout the rest of his years at GWHS, Jim maintained a consistent 88.32 grade average with only minimal effort, twice being named to the honor roll. His IQ was 149. In the college boards, He scored above average.
“But Statistics tell so little. The books Jim read reveal more,” comments editor of the Rolling Stone, Jerry Hopkins. V Jim was greatly inspired by the writings of great philosophers and poets. “He devoured Friedrich Nietzsche, the poetic German philosopher whose views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian-Dionysian duality would appear again and again in Jim’s conversation, poetry, songs, and life.” He read Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks, becoming enamored with Alexander the Great, admiring his intellectual and physical accomplishments. Jim adopted some of the look of Alexander: “.
. . the inclination of his head a little on one side towards his left shoulder. . .
” He read the great French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style would later influence the form of Jim’s short prose poems. “He read everything Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Patchen, Michael McClure, Gregory Corso, and all the other beat writers published.” Jim’s English teacher comments, “I felt that Jim was the only one in the class who read Ulysses, and understood it.” Balzac, Cocteau, and Moliere were also familiars, along with most of the French existentialist philosophers. Jim’s senior-year English teacher still talks about Jim’s reading habits: “Jim read as much and probably more than any student in class. But everything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher who was going to the Library of Congress check to see if the books Jim was reporting on actually existed. I suspected he was making them up, as they were English books on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century demonology.
I’d never heard of them. But they existed, and I’m convinced from the paper he wrote that he read them, and the Library of Congress would’ve been the only source.” VI No doubt, Jim was becoming a writer. He had begun to keep journals, spiral notebooks that he would fill with his daily observations and thoughts. Jim’s studies, brought him across many of the dilemmas of these great writers. Through the alcoholism of Dylan Thomas, the homosexuality of Ginsberg, and the madness and addiction of so many more, Jim saw their pages become a mirror in which he saw his own reflection.
The notion of poetry had now taken hold on the still young Jim Morrison. The greatly controversial lyrics and actions of the newly forming Doors, were created by Jim’s now corrupted mind. Now at the age of twenty, Jim was writing regularly. He has just quit film school at UCLA, and moved to the Venice Beach area. Through his alcoholic and psychedelic hazed mind ran the songs and lyrics of an unknown concert.
As one song finished, the next one started. These songs became the Doors. “Break on through,” was his way of expressing the opening of the doors. His songs and poems were the historical collection of writings from great philosophers and poets alike. His notebooks and intellect are now the basis of the Doors and the foreshadow of his death.
All of the past are now part of the present and the songs all come from the same root. Jim’s adoption of Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” was now his number one motto. The drugs taken were only to help open these many doors in his mind. VII Although his mind seems lost in the infinite drug world of the unknown, Jim Morrison was the “American Poet.” His crave for knowledge was driven by his wondrous mind and only used drugs, not as an exit , but rather as an entrance. The world of Jim Morrison is not well known by many.
Most see an alcoholic, others see an addict, and yet more see a deranged waste of a person. But for those who take the time to care, those who take the time to learn and understand will find out that behind the “American Poet,” was a young genius. VIII Works Cited Hopkins, Jerry, and Daniel Sugerman. No One Here Gets Out Alive. New York: Warner Books, 1980.
The Doors, dir. Oliver Stone , with Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, Billy Idol, Warner, 1992. ” Rock Star Jim Morrison.” Vietnam Generation Journal Volume 4, Nov.1992: 3-4 Russel, Ethan. JIM MORRISON. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.