” The Doors. There’s the known. And there’s the unknown.
And whatseparates the two is the door, and that’s what I want to be. Ahh wanna be th’door. . . ” – Jim MorrisonJim Morrison is often thought of as a drunk musician.
He is alsoportrayed to many as an addict and another ‘doped up’ rock star. Thesenegative opinions project a large shadow on the many positive aspects ofthis great poet. Jim’s music was influenced heavily by many famousauthors. You must cast aside your ignorance and look behind the loudelectric haze of the sixties music. You must wipe your eyes and lookthrough the psychedelic world of LSD. Standing behind these minorflaws, you will see a young and very intellectual poet named Jim Morrison.
Jim Morrison’s distraught childhood was a contributing factor toJim’s fortune and his fate. As a young child, Jim experienced the manypains of living in a military family. Having to move every so often, Jim andhis brother, and sister never spent more than a couple of years at aparticular school. Jim attended eight different schools, grammar and High,throughout his schooling career.
This amount of traveling made it hard fora young child to make many friends. In high school, Jim had an especiallyhard time, “The only real friend he made was a tall but overweightclassmate 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 maydifferent experiences and situations. For instance, while driving on ahighway from Santa Fe with his family, he said he experienced, “the mostimportant moment of my life” (qtd. in Russel 6 ). The Morrisons cameupon an overturned truck of dying Pueblo Indians. This moment influencedJim and later became the basis of many of his songs, poetry, stories, andthoughts.
Jim Morrison’s estranged childhood was the root underneath hisbizarre and eccentric personality. The negative effects of his upbringinghelped to mold the Jim into the person he would later become. Jim Morrison’s strange sense of humor and sickness were justfractions of his very intellectual mind. Jim and his family moved toAlemeda, California. This is where he would start first year and a half ofhis high school journey.
Morrison’s creativeness and infatuation with MadMagazines led to the horrification of many. When he would arrive late toclass, he would tell elaborate stories to the teachers about beingkidnapped by gypsies. Jim’s subtle and bizarre personality was nowstarting to form. Jim’s wild imagination begin to produce hundreds ofscatological and sexually explicit ideas in the form of pictures and makebelieve radio commercials. The deranged pictures that Jim created, wereones with quite an abnormality. For instance, the picture Jerry Hopkinsdescribes, “a man with a Coca-Cola bottle for a penis, a mean looking canopener for testicles, one hand held out and dripping with slime, more ofthat slim dripping from his anus.
” IIIAll of Jim’s and Fud’s focuses again were sexual, or scatological, but theywere imbued with sophistication and subtle humor unusual for someoneonly fourteen. No doubt, Jim’s sexually demented mind was now partiallyformed. The once young and innocent Jim Morrison was now older and moreharmful. Late in his sophomore year, Jim moved to Alexandria, Virginia. Her he met Tandy, his first girlfriend. Jim now ill-mannered, constantlyhorrified others, especially Tandy.
He would make public scenes bykissing her feet or asking her to do ridiculous acts out loud. Tandythough, was not the only one subjected to Jim’s “Tests”, his teacherssuffered as well. ” I asked him why he played games all the time, ” Tandysays 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 wasnow looked upon as the ring leader by his peers. Everybody wanted to belike Jim, they all competed for his attention, “Jim’s magnetism wasbecoming obvious” (Surgeman 16 ). Right down to his expressions, hispeers mimicked all of his actions. But Jim never led them like they wantedto be led. Jim once again started taking Death defying risks that he wouldalso subject his brother to.
He forced Andy to walk along an edge thathovered fifty feet above the ground. All of the risks that he subjectedothers to were ones that he was never afraid to complete. “Throughout hissenior year his parents pressured Jim to apply to colleges, just as theybadgered him into having his photograph taken for the high schoolyearbook” ( Hopkins 25 ). IVWhen graduation came around, Jim decided not to attend.
Later on hisparents succeeded in enrolling Jim at St. Petersburg Junior College inFlorida. 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 uniquemind started to emerge. The same year that he moved to Alameda, Jimstumbled across a new novel by Jack Kerouac.
On the Road held Jimcaptive for hours upon hours. He also started to copy down paragraphs heliked into a spiral notebook that he would carry around with him from thatday on. The more Jim read, the more he started to drift away into theinfinite world of poetry. He also read Lawrence Ferlinghetti, along withother favorites Kenneth Rexroth and Allen Ginsberg.
“Ginsberg made oneof 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, “thesorrowful poetic con-man with the dark mind”Young Morrison wasgreatly fascinated by Dean Moriarty, “the sideburned hero of the snowywest. ” 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, Jimmaintained a consistent 88. 32 grade average with only minimal effort, twicebeing named to the honor roll.
His IQ was 149. In the college boards, Hescored above average. “But Statistics tell so little. The books Jim readreveal more,” comments editor of the Rolling Stone, Jerry Hopkins.
VJim was greatly inspired by the writings of great philosophers andpoets. “He devoured Friedrich Nietzsche, the poetic German philosopherwhose views on aesthetics, morality, and the Apollonian-Dionysian dualitywould appear again and again in Jim’s conversation, poetry, songs, andlife. ” He read Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Greeks, becoming enamoredwith Alexander the Great, admiring his intellectual and physicalaccomplishments. Jim adopted some of the look of Alexander: “.
. . theinclination of his head a little on one side towards his left shoulder. . .
” Heread the great French Symbolist poet Arthur Rimbaud, whose style wouldlater influence the form of Jim’s short prose poems. “He read everythingKerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Kenneth Patchen, Michael McClure,Gregory Corso, and all the other beat writers published. ” Jim’s Englishteacher comments, “I felt that Jim was the only one in the class who readUlysses, and understood it. ” Balzac, Cocteau, and Moliere were alsofamiliars, 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.
Buteverything he read was so offbeat I had another teacher who was going tothe Library of Congress check to see if the books Jim was reporting onactually existed. I suspected he was making them up, as they were Englishbooks on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century demonology. I’d never heardof them. But they existed, and I’m convinced from the paper he wrote thathe read them, and the Library of Congress would’ve been the only source. “VINo doubt, Jim was becoming a writer.
He had begun to keep journals,spiral notebooks that he would fill with his daily observations andthoughts. Jim’s studies, brought him across many of the dilemmas ofthese great writers. Through the alcoholism of Dylan Thomas, thehomosexuality of Ginsberg, and the madness and addiction of so manymore, Jim saw their pages become a mirror in which he saw his ownreflection. The notion of poetry had now taken hold on the still young JimMorrison.
The greatly controversial lyrics and actions of the newly formingDoors, were created by Jim’s now corrupted mind. Now at the age oftwenty, Jim was writing regularly. He has just quit film school at UCLA,and moved to the Venice Beach area. Through his alcoholic andpsychedelic hazed mind ran the songs and lyrics of an unknown concert.
As one song finished, the next one started. These songs became theDoors. “Break on through,” was his way of expressing the opening of thedoors. His songs and poems were the historical collection of writings fromgreat philosophers and poets alike. His notebooks and intellect are nowthe basis of the Doors and the foreshadow of his death.
All of the past arenow part of the present and the songs all come from the same root. Jim’sadoption of Aldous Huxley’s “Doors of Perception” was now his numberone motto. The drugs taken were only to help open these many doors inhis mind. VIIAlthough his mind seems lost in the infinite drug world of theunknown, Jim Morrison was the “American Poet.
” His crave for knowledgewas driven by his wondrous mind and only used drugs, not as an exit , butrather as an entrance. The world of Jim Morrison is not well known bymany. Most see an alcoholic, others see an addict, and yet more see aderanged waste of a person. But for those who take the time to care, thosewho take the time to learn and understand will find out that behind the”American Poet,” was a young genius.
VIIIWorks CitedHopkins, 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: 3-4Russel, Ethan. JIM MORRISON. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.