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Room 32

By D. R. Haney

Nonfiction

adhered

The idea, I thought, was a simple one: rent for a night the West Hollywood motel room where Jim Morrison lived on and off for three years, hold a séance with a few friends, and afterward throw a party. It seemed a fitting homage to Morrison, a party-hardy mystic who believed himself possessed by the spirit of a Pueblo Indian he had seen as a boy while traveling through New Mexico and happening upon the aftermath of a deadly accident. Indians scattered on dawn’s highway bleeding, he famously wrote of the incident in “Newborn Awakening,” his poem set to music by his band, the Doors, seven years after he died. Ghosts crowd the young child’s fragile eggshell mind.

Originally I planned to host the séance in late May or early June, before summer travel had truncated the guest list. On the other hand, I knew that the motel room was a “tiny little monk’s cell,” per an interview with Morrison’s bandmate Ray Manzarek, so the guest list had to be brief anyway. Some declined the invitation. “I don’t mess with stuff like that,” a woman friend told me during dinner one night. “I don’t even know if I believe in ghosts, but I’m not taking any chances.”

“I don’t know if I believe, either,” I said. “I mean, I really don’t believe, but I try to keep an open mind because I know people who claim they’ve seen ghosts, and they were sort of incredulous themselves. But, you know, this isn’t going to be a real séance. I’m just going to buy a Ouija board, and we can all kind of play around with it.”

“That’s worse than having a real psychic. Who knows what you could dredge up.”

I heard the same, or similar, from others, giving me pause. Why was I treating the séance flippantly, and what would I gain from it that way? At best, a few cheap laughs. But there was, potentially, something to be learned here, something about spiritualism and the atavistic streak in us all, so that rather than proceed like a kid at a sleepover, I should hire a psychic known, or anyway believed, to have contacted the dead. Finding one should be effortless. As Farnworth Crowder, a journalist whose name evokes the wealthy villains and waspish columnists of old Hollywood movies, wrote circa 1931: “In the South of California has gathered the largest and most miscellaneous assortment of Messiahs, Sorcerers, Saints and Seers known to the history of aberrations.” Surely that was still the case in 2013.

seer

It was, Google confirmed, directing me to a long list of area psychics on Yelp. Since even matters of spirit are now subject to customer reviews, I weeded from the list those psychics unable to contact the dead, either because that wasn’t a service they provided or, as indicated by their low star ratings, they were poor psychics.

Then I read a review by a customer greatly pleased with her experience at a place I’ll call Casa Clairvoyance. Through one of the staff psychics at Casa Clairvoyance, this customer had contacted her dead father, and he had made “the same comments he always did, jokes, etc.” while settling lingering mysteries of his passing. “It was the best money I ever spent,” the customer summed up, awarding Casa Clairvoyance five out of five stars.

Casa Clairvoyance is in my neighborhood. I had passed it many times, put off by the crude paintings of tarot cards on the cement wall at the mouth of the property. But that was before I started searching for a psychic, and it seemed fortuitous that I had located one in my backyard, as it were. I called Casa Clairvoyance immediately and explained what I had in mind to the woman who answered the phone.

“Let me get this straight, honey,” she said. “You’re a writer, and you want to interview Jim Morrison?” At least she had heard of Jim Morrison. I take nothing for granted these days.

“I don’t want to interview him,” I told her. “I don’t even have anything I particularly want to say to him. I just want to see what happens if a psychic comes to this room and tries to contact him. Maybe nothing will happen. Maybe the psychic will pick up on other people who’ve been in the room. I really don’t care what happens. I have no expectations. It’s just a kind of experiment.”

“And you’re going to write about it? I don’t know, sweetie.”

She clearly feared a hatchet piece, but I promised that if I wrote about the séance, I would render it fairly and faithfully, and at last she offered to set me up with a psychic named Bianca who could phone me in a couple of hours. However, Bianca’s fee was $225 an hour, sweetie, and Bianca had a two-hour minimum for special events like this one, honey, so I was looking at $450, and that didn’t include travel time to and from the motel—I would have to pay for that too. Did I still want Bianca to phone? Sure, I said, though I felt like I was hiring a hooker, not a psychic, and I had set aside $300 for the motel, the psychic, and the liquor for the post-séance party. But maybe a budget of $300 was naïve, and if Bianca impressed me enough when she called, I would consider meeting her price.

window

Bianca called two days, not two hours, later. That may have been the fault of Sweetie Honey, not Bianca, but it didn’t produce confidence either way. Nor, I decided, did starred reviews written by strangers produce much confidence. Maybe a friend, or a friend of a friend, could vouch for a reasonably priced psychic medium who promptly returned phone calls and would welcome the chance to channel Jim Morrison. That wasn’t too much to ask, was it?

So it would soon appear.

***The rest of “Room 32″ is now available as an e-book in the Kindle Store.   To get it, please click here.***

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D.R. Haney D. R. HANEY is the author of a novel, Banned for Life, and a nonfiction collection, Subversia, the inaugural publication of TNB Books. Known to friends as Duke, he lives in Los Angeles.

72 Responses to “Room 32”

  1. Rodney Marsharsh says:

    This piece is just over ten thousand words. And it needs to be about four thousand words. And the writer is a little too prosaic.

    Pamela Courson is a sprite.

    He likens Morrison to a god, “equal parts Eros and Thanotos.”

    Then there is this nonsensical sentence-

    “Early death inspires cultishness as ripe death rarely does, and Jim Morrison not only died early, he died mysteriously.”

    These issues are emblematic of the larger issue of this piece. An good editor could have pulled one solid piece out of this, a great one could have gotten a mildly entertaining two part essay.

    Even then, who cares about a seance in the motel room a pop singer who’s been dead 40 some years and financed by the author of the article so he could write about it?

    • Enjoyed this piece and was a bit surprised, after reading it, to see the first comment to be a negative one. So, I’m going to jump in…

      Rodney, you write:

      “Then there is this nonsensical sentence: ‘Early death inspires cultishness as ripe death rarely does, and Jim Morrison not only died early, he died mysteriously.’”

      How is that nonsensical in the slightest?

      It makes perfect sense.

      For starters, early death does bring a cult following.

      James Dean, Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Tupac, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Marley, Charlie Parker, etc. One could argue Jesus. He was only 33 is the word.

      It was Kurt Cobain who said, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away” after all.

      Imagine if James Dean had gotten old and fat or Kurt Cobain cut his hair short, settled down and enrolled Francis Bean in pre-K and lived to be 75. Early death puts someone’s art on a pedestal, rightly or wrongly or whatever anyone may think. It just does. That’s American pop culture at work.

      Secondly, Morrison’s death is considered to be mysterious.

      No autopsy.

      No autopsy = mystery to someone’s cult following.

      Was it heroin?

      Maybe.

      Probably.

      That’s what most think.

      Did Courson kill him as she allegedly admitted or did she just feel guilty? Is there any legitimacy to Alain Ronay’s confession?

      Hell, even with Cobain, people still think Love had him killed.

      People believe Tupac lives in Cuba.

      Imagine if Michael Jackson had died in 1987.

      As for this comment: “Even then, who cares about a seance in the motel room a pop singer who’s been dead 40 some years and financed by the author of the article so he could write about it?”

      You answered your own criticism from above: Morrison’s cult following and most any kid who grew up to know, in some way or another, of the mystery of Jim Morrison and the Doors, whether through their dad’s old records or a Creem magazine in a record shop window.

      * * *

      A good editor was at work on this piece by letting Duke do his thing like no one else on TNB can.

      Glad to see a Haney piece on my screen again.

  2. Rodney Marsharsh says:

    I didnt answer my own criticism. You made an attempt at putting words in my mouth. Writing about Morrison is pretty common. There’s a number of books on the subject of the doors, and biographies on Morrison ( No One Here Gets Out Alive, Love Him Madly, Break on Through the Life and Death of Jim Morrison, Jim Morrison Life Death Legend, and John Densmore’s book about his relationship with the singer and the band all have covered Morrison’s life with detail and in some cases literary merit. ROlling Stone magazine regularly eulogizes the long dead singer… so again nothing near here…) I think there’s a solid piece in this article, but as I’ve said, it’s too long, goes into strange meaningless details and the concept itself comes of just a bit flawed. But again, if it was whittled down so that there was pacing and flow and it had some speed and curves and suspense, there’s probably something there…

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Thanks, Jeffrey, for saying what you do.

      Mr. Marsh Harsh seems to be under the impression that I’m unaware that it’s not new (or “near”) to write about Jim Morrison. I’m well aware that it’s not near to write about him, but the piece, as I see it, is less about Jim Morrison than it is about me. I go into some detail about his residence at the motel because some people, though not Mr. Marsh Harsh, might wonder why a rock star would live in such a place when he could have afforded better. Also, I go into some detail about his death because it was important subject during the séance, and I wrote about how I became interested in him because some, though not Mr. Marsh Harsh, might wonder why I would attempt to contact him.

      Mr. Marsh Harsh asks: “…who cares about a seance in the motel room [of] a pop singer who’s been dead 40[-]some years and financed by the author of the article so he could write about it?” Clearly, Mr. Marsh Harsh doesn’t care, though he cared enough not only to comment but to count words. Ten thousand words is a guess, but “just over ten thousand” is more than a guess, suggesting a method of counting that involves time and trouble. He also went to the time and trouble, I see, of googling the titles of Morrison biographies, unless he cares enough about “a pop singer who’s been dead 40[-]some years” to have memorized the names of books about him.

      I would also like to point out to Mr. Marsh Harsh that saying someone is spritelike isn’t the same as saying she’s a sprite. Also, I did not liken Jim Morrison to a god; with regard to eros and thanatos, I specifically wrote of his image, a widespread (though largely subconscious) perception of him, and eros and thanatos weren’t capitalized because I was citing them as ideas, per Freud’s use of them, and not as deities. Perhaps I should have said “sex” and “death” instead, but I’m a prosaic writer, and prosaic writers always opt for fancy words, which is what makes them prosaic. Anyway, I thank Mr. Marsh Harsh for unnecessarily capitalizing my fancy words, demonstrating yet again that he really knows his stuff about editing, just as he knows his stuff about Morrison biographies.

      Meanwhile, I’ll bear in mind that I should never finance anything in order to write about it. From now on, I’ll only write about experiences financed by others, a policy that should be adopted by all writers. Yes, writers, if you financed your acid trip, your scuba-diving lessons, your holiday in Antarctica, please don’t write about it. Personally, I won’t even write about a movie if I pay to see it. Oh, and to return a final time to “…who cares about a seance in the motel room [of] a pop singer who’s been dead 40[-]some years and financed by the author…,” I should mention that I have never financed any pop singer, regardless of how long he or she has been dead, and I’ll never again write about anyone who’s been dead for more than, say, a year, and I’ll certainly remember to keep all my pieces under four thousand words or, at the very least, to break them into two parts. Maybe then I won’t lack “literary merit.”

      I do hope I haven’t put any words into Mr. Marsh Harsh’s mouth, and if I have, I’m not now required to count them. Saliva is not my thing.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        PS to Jefferey:

        Quite apart from your defense of me and the piece, it really is nice to hear from you. I was just thinking about you the other day in the context of C’ville. I hope to pay a visit to C’ville before the end of the year.

        • Jeffro says:

          Shoot me an email (jeffreypillow [at] gmail [dot] com) when you’re thinking of heading back. Not sure if you’ll fly into the Charlottesville airport or if you’ll let off somewhere else like Richmond or Charlotte, but if you do, I’m right there. Shit, I drive by it every morning and evening. I’ll pick you up.

          True story: about a month ago, I had a conversation with a co-worker I had never really interacted with before. She’s usually out and about, so I’ve maybe seen her once or twice. She has your last name. With her being from the area, I had to ask: do you know Daryl Haney or D.R. or Duke? Angus Farm. Scottsville area.

          She responded, “Funny you mention that. I googled him the other day and sent my husband his Wikipedia page.”

          • D.R. Haney says:

            Man, that is weird. Though there are a lot of Haneys in the area.

            I have an aunt who lives in Scottsville, or right outside it, and my dad raises Angus cattle.

            I used to go to Richmond whenever I returned to Virginia. My brother lived there. But he moved to the country, so when I’m there again, I’ll be staying with my dad, who also lives in the country. But he, or one of my brothers, will drive me into C’ville any time I want, I’m sure. Also, I’ll probably fly into NYC and visit with friends there and take a train to Virginia. But, hey, if I do need a ride, it’s good to know there’s a standing offer. Thank you.

            Oh, and it was interesting to see that you’re familiar with the facts of Jim Morrison’s death, “facts” meaning the little that any of us know of it. I wish there were a better translation of Alain Ronay’s confession than the one I read. A friend of mine met him last year at a film festival out here, and Jim Morrison came up in the conversation almost immediately. Ronay raised the subject, not my friend, who had no idea that Ronay was the person called by Pamela that day. Of course he said nothing about that day to my friend. He would be eighty now, and Jim, had he lived, would be seventy. Wow.

            • Jeffro says:

              Yes, even a lawn service: Haney’s Lawn Service, actually. I see the truck once a week. My co-worker was doing some ancestry research on her husband’s side, she said. She bought a copy of SUBVERSIA through Amazon after she found your Wikipedia page. To her husband’s knowledge, you guys are not related. Ha.

              Small world.

              Give me a holler if you want.

              As for Morrison, I went through a short phase when I was younger, pre-punk stage. My dad had some Doors records that I got into just before the biopic with Val Kilmer came out. That, Joplin, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and Black Sabbath permeated his collection. It seems everyone has a different story about how he died, and even more have surfaced in the last five to six years. I actually did a joint project on Morrison for a History of Rock Music class I took my first year in college . . . thus, the familiarity.

              • D.R. Haney says:

                Do you lean toward a particular theory? I do: the one I presented at (relative) length here. Ronay seems to me an honorable fellow, and I think Pamela’s first story, the one she told Ronay and Varda, is probably the most accurate.

                My dad used to say that all Haneys are related, so hey, maybe I am distantly related to your co-worker’s husband. And, man, thank her for buying a copy of Subversia, or maybe I can thank her personally when I’m in Virginia.

  3. Zara says:

    Dear Duke,
    I loved it. Ten thousand words is too few.
    I love the blend of rock history, personal history, humour and pathos that you’ve woven through the piece in such an inimitable (!) way.
    The thing that I possibly most admire about this piece is the fact that, yes – many words have been written about Jim Morrison, but you have managed to make the subject fresh and interesting in a way that I haven’t seen before. That’s some feat.
    You have such a lovely structure and style. It really spurs me to write and that is such a wonderful and generous gift.
    Don’t give a second thought to critics. The fact is – Rodney obviously read every one of the ten thousand words or so and that is the most telling thing of all.
    It’s a great read. You’re a great writer and you picked a great subject.
    Bravo.
    I’m going to go and read it again.
    (Sorry we were too tired to come to the Beanery.)
    xoxo

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Well, Z., you predicted that you would comment after you got home after work, and it has come to pass. You’re psychic!

      It’s very gratifying that you say what you do about freshness, etc. It’s almost impossible to write about someone like Jim Morrison precisely because so much has been written about him. I had the same problem with Marilyn Monroe. But the thing I found with her was that, oddly, despite literally hundreds of books and thousands upon thousands of articles, most people don’t know much about her, as evidenced by a lot of the off-the-board commentary I heard after my piece about her went up.

      So, of course, I was hoping it was the same with Jim Morrison. There was much that I didn’t know until I researched him at the beginning of the year, and some of what I included were odd (even “bizarre”) facts that I personally found fascinating: the blue bus, for instance. I read that and thought, Of course! It’s so obvious! Yes, he was referencing the blue bus in Santa Monica! And I did want to write a little defense of him because I’ve encountered so many people who roll their eyes or groan at the mention of his name, when I think the guy was brilliant. My defense — it’s the first paragraph of the second section — was the only bit in the piece that I considered expendable. The rest of the backstory, as it were, I thought critical. The contemporary stuff required a frame.

      But the greatest compliment you pay me is that the piece spurs you to write. Would you please? That will almost compensate for your failure to come to Barney’s Beanery. (I was just there last night, for reasons related to this piece, and met a guy at the bar who calls himself the Captain. The Captain shot pool with Jim Morrison back in the day, he was quick to reveal. “Did you know he pissed on the bar?” he asked. “I certainly do,” I said.)

      This exchange, Z., is almost a seance in itself, resurrecting the spirit of the old TNB message boards. Thank you. Now: let’s do that goddamn interview thing. Agreed?

      XX

      • Zara Potts says:

        Agreed! And my own piece is nearly done. Just a few more days…. :-)

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Can’t wait!

          I kind of feel like we’re in a gangster movie and we’re plotting to take over the joint — again. Hopefully that analogy works for you as a Godfather fan. (I thought of you when I wrote that Apocalypse Now is arguably Coppola’s greatest film.)

  4. Zara Potts says:

    I watched The Godfather the other day. I think The Sopranos may have ruined it for me.

    Speaking of films – did you see the Val Kilmer version of Jim Morrison? I’m sure you have. I thought he did a pretty good job of it – although it’s been a long time since I saw it so my memory may be tricking me.

    I’ve never been a fan of The Doors – I’m one of those who can’t stand the bloody keyboards. But I do remember when I first heard them. I was a passenger in my uncle’s car and he was playing ‘Rider’s on the Storm.’ Even then, I thought the quality of JM’s voice was quite extraordinary. Particularly given his age.

    But you are absolutely right in your piece where you say The Doors music is very L.A- whenever I’ve visited, I have always had a quiet Doors soundtrack lurking in my head. They are quintessentially linked, I think. Especially for foreigners!

  5. D.R. Haney says:

    It was the same for me. There’s even a remark about the Doors and L.A. in Banned for Life: “a hammock stretched between tombstones,” it goes in part. Art Edwards quoted that in his rock-novels list recently, and I thought, Oh, right, I had forgotten I had written it.

    “Riders of the Storm” may have been the second Doors song I ever heard, and I remember finding it very spooky, which is, I’m sure, a common reaction. I don’t think Morrison was a great singer in a technical sense, but there’s something about his voice, an intimacy and atmosphere, that pulls the listener in.

    Yes, I’ve seen the Oliver Stone movie, and I think Val Kilmer is about as good as it’s possible to be in recreating someone so famous. Also, the script for that movie, which is now considered a camp classic, left a lot to be desired, so I take that into consideration.

    Here’s a funny (to me) anecdote about that movie. The year it was released, there was a story in Esquire magazine about Jim Morrison, written by Eve Babitz, who knew him fairly well. They had a fling, and her sister lived with Jim and Pamela, who got her idea for her boutique from Eve’s sister, who had a boutique of her own. Anyway, Eve said in the article that Oliver Stone was the last person who should be making a movie about the Doors, that his idea of being a man in the sixties was to go to war, which was completely the opposite of all the cool guys, who were of course wearing their hair long and dressing in “feminine” clothes and so on. It was a terrific article — one of the best things ever written about Jim Morrison, I still think — and it made me a big fan of Eve Babitz, and eventually I met her — in fact, I met her twice — and I said, “Wow, you know, that piece you wrote in Esquire kind of ruined the Oliver Stone movie for me.” And she chuckled and said, “Yeah, and then I saw it and liked it.”

    Oh, and I remembered that you don’t like the keyboards. I thought of you specifically when I wrote about people disliking the Doors because of the keyboards, though I’ve heard it many times from others.

  6. Zara Potts says:

    You know, it’s not the keyboards themselves – after all, I’m a fan of Gary Numan in all his synthesized glory. It’s just Ray Manzarek’s keyboards that I hate. That weird mix of psychedelic church organ heinousness.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      How do you feel about “”In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”?

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIVe-rZBcm4

      Broadly speaking, I’m not a fan of keyboards in rock & roll. No horns or strings, either, thank you. I’m a guitars-and-drums guy.

      But of course there are always exceptions. And with regard to Manzarek, I hated the version of X’s “Nausea” that he produced, precisely because he’s playing keyboards on it. The live versions, sans keyboard, are, to my ears, infinitely better.

  7. I, too, was surprised to read this wonderful story and get to the end to be assaulted by a half-baked criticism by way of a first comment, but such is the internet. Perhaps if you’d kept it to a sparse 250-words, most of which are large-font headings, alongside an ample supply of pictures, and titled it something like, “15 Things You Won’t Believe Jim Morrison Said After He Died!” then you’d please this cretin.

    Now back to my original thoughts…

    When I group up, I had a friend who was obsessed with The Doors and Jim Morrison and although we lived in a big house with lots of people and they all hated Morrison, he somehow managed to hang a large poster (the “Wanted in Dade County” one) on a living room wall, and somehow had The Doors on the CD player rather often. The result was that I really came to like The Doors, but felt that the rest of the world hated them.

    Then I moved (briefly) to California. Now by this stage I’d only ever heard The Doors in dirty stoner dens (like my house) and never thought of them as a well-known band. But everywhere I went in California, there they were. Their songs were on the radio, on TV, coming from shops… It was weird. After 3 months I started to get bored of them and begin to sympathize somewhat with the people that couldn’t stand them.

    Anyway, thanks for 10,000 wonderful words. It’s good to see you back on TNB again. I submitted something myself recently and am hoping it will be accepted… That’ll be the first thing I’ve had up in a year. Not so many familiar faces here these days.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Yeah, it’s weird, isn’t it? But it feels really good to get comments from you and Zara and Jeffrey. It’s like old times.

      Just as i never heard the Doors much in Virginia, I never heard them much in New York, so you’re definitely right that they’re played much more on the West Coast, or anyway in California. But they are, after all, one of the defining L.A. bands. At the moment I’m kind of burned out on them. That’s a problem with writing about admired figures: you get to the point where it’s like, I don’t ever want to hear another word about [whomever] ever again. But eventually that passes, or it’s always passed so far.

      I suppose a lot of hatred for Morrison is based on the burnout factor, on his seeming ubiquity. But here’s something I omitted from the piece. After I checked out of the motel, I stopped at a grocery store to grab something to eat, right? It’s the place where I always shop, and there’s a cute blonde girl, probably about your age, and she’s very bright, and we always talk for a minute when I’m at the store, and she was there that morning, bagging groceries, and she said, “What’s up?”

      I said, “Oh god, I spent the night in Jim Morrison’s motel room last night, and I’m really hungover.” I went to on to tell her about the seance and so on, and there was another girl bagging groceries next to her, and she was obviously listening, so I tried to half include her in the conversation, though she didn’t say anything. Then I went and grabbed a few items, and I go through the checkout line and I walk outside, and there’s my friend, the blonde girl, in the parking lot, and she said, “Did you notice that girl next to me when we were talking?”

      I said, “Sure. Of course.”

      “Well, as soon as you walked away, she turned to me and said, ‘Who’s Jim Morrison?’” So — what I’m trying to say — the Jim Morrison burnout may be a thing of the past sooner than later.

      Of course you’ve had a lot of experience with online attacks. I think some of your TNB pieces are still getting them, aren’t they? Your one about K-pop was especially popular with trolls. Are you frequently attacked at Beatdom? Other than by Kerouac biographers, I mean?

      I’m really looking forward to reading your next piece. I always looked forward to your posts in the old days, but you know that. And thanks especially for “10,000 wonderful words.” The length of this thing was worrisome to me, but I couldn’t think of a way to do it any shorter. In fact, it took quite a lot of work to pare it down to what it is.

      • It’s sad that long-form journalism or reporting is no longer really fashionable. I know it’s trite to say, but I genuinely think that the internet has caused our attention spans and memories to decrease substantially. I mean, why would we ever need to know anything know that we can just Google it? And why would we want to spend an hour reading something when we could just post: “tldr…” or something like that. Anyway, I too have a short attention span but when I get stuck into something with substance, I do enjoy it.

        I don’t bother reading comment threads from my old TNB pieces anymore, but I see the e-mail updates. It’s either spam or trolling, and in either case I’m not interested. At Beatdom I never have trolls (or at least very rarely) and I switched my blog to a Tumblr and stopped writing about Korea. It’s funny: You could say anything about any country and get away with it, but a word out of place about Korea and you’ve got death-threats and so forth.

        Jim Morrison… It’s not really surprising to me that people don’t know him now. I mean, in the UK I doubt most young people do. I probably didn’t until I was in my last year of high school. I doubt my youngest brother has heard of him. Yet if we had lived in California we’d probably have gone through the burnout thing, too…

        • D.R. Haney says:

          It’s unsurprising to me that contemporary kids are increasingly unfamiliar with Jim Morrison in the same way that they’re unfamiliar with Sinatra or Hemingway or Ellington or Plath or Pollock, etc., if I may place him in such company. Certainly, he was better known than Sinatra, Hemingway, Ellington, Plath, Pollock, etc., to the generations born after WWII and before, say, 1980. But we live more and more in the moment, with shorter memories, as you say, and I think we’re also more and more uncomfortable with fame based on achievement as opposed to style, or to phrase it another way, we don’t care about art so much as design.

          Comments for me — and I imagine most at TNB — are rare on archive pieces, but I did get a couple of weird, hostile, off-the-board messages, ostensibly from two different people, about something I once written on an ancient comment board. In fact, I couldn’t remember what exactly I had written, and my assailants were no help in reminding me. But my friend Mark Ames — I call him a friend even though I haven’t been in contact with him in a long time — used to routinely receive death threats when he was publishing The eXile in Moscow with Matt Taibbi, so it’s apparently not only the subject of Korea but Russia that brings out the crazy in people. Oh, and Sean Flynn. Yes, I have personal experience in that department.

  8. Greg Olear says:

    What Jim Morrison was TRYING to tell you, Duke, is simple: the best way to deal with Internet trolls is to ignore them. Don’t let one douchey comment ruin your day.

    It was a pleasure to see you articulate your man-crush on JM.

    I bought a bio called BREAK ON THROUGH at a book fair this weekend, because my son said he thought it looked cool. One day perhaps he’ll read it.

    Onward and upward!

    G

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Jim Morrison had trolls before they were called trolls. In his day, they were called Dade County Republicans. Even forty-two years after dying, he has trolls. It never ends for him.

      But don’t worry about me. That guy picked the wrong person to fuck with. “A mildly entertaining two part essay.” Who the fuck is he kidding? He doesn’t know how to use a hyphen, and he comes in here playing Edmund Fucking Wilson?

      I’m trying to decide, after reading your comment, if I really have a man crush on Jim Morrison, or I ever did. Nope. I would have to want to be like him, and I don’t. I just find him interesting for reasons that I think this piece helped me to realize, or, to use your word, articulate.

      I thought about reading Break on Through, but then I saw an interview with one of the authors and that decided me against it. Anyway, I love that Dom thought the book looked cool, and that you bought it for that reason.

      Onward and upward. Yes, I’ll drink to that.

  9. I meant to get here earlier, Duke.

    It’s a relief to me that there are writers like you still doing this kind of story, searching without the answer already in mind, ruminating rather than bullet-pointing and being a key player in the events.

    I also think, among your insights into the guy, this stands out- “…he was private in public, while most of us aren’t private in private.” With all the supposed intimacy on show in current celebrity culture, it’s surprising how rare this kind of magnetism is really.

    Funny thing, I went to Google street to get a look at that intersection, indulging my own L.A. nostalgia. Looking at the CVS designed like a modern art museum and all the surrounding manicured shrubbery (so little has changed since 1997!), I’m a little amazed that hotel still stands, tucked away in there. Not that I’m a rabid fan of the Morrison’s poetry or The Doors music but I’m glad to know a grubby shrine to him remains. That people are still scrawling on the walls, and that maybe the “Messiahs, Sorcerers, Saints and Seers” still gravitate to the place. The hedonistic seeker legend still has to be more wedded to L.A. and L.A. to him than anywhere else. Certainly more so than in Paris, in my opinion.

    I was actually in Père Lachaise for New Year’s Day this year and swung by Morrison’s grave, after Proust and Chopin and others who by contrast don’t get a special designation on the cemetery brochure. The site was tasteful, at least that day, with only a few flowers, some pages of poetry and some meekly stoned/hungover visitors, from what I saw. Though I didn’t linger because the year had just gotten started.

    But reading you chasing the idea and spirit of him- that is worth lingering on.

    And incidently, The Crystal Ship still packs something of a wallop, if you let it.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      It does, though I have to get away from it for a while before I can appreciate it again.

      I don’t believe Jim Morrison would like to know that his grave is mentioned in the Père Lachaise brochure while the graves of Chopin and Proust are not. I think he would find that horrifying, in fact, but maybe that’s my projection. People no longer speak of “projection,” do they? Why would they? Computers don’t project, and out notion of the mind is increasingly modeled after computers. In fact, we’ll soon merge with computers. But I digress.

      It is curious that the Alta Cienega has been spared the wrecking ball. I’ve heard it said that Jim Morrison is the reason, but I doubt it; the homes, or former homes, of the famous are razed all the time out here. A number of Morrison’s haunts still stand, including an army-surplus store on Vine Street where he used to buy a lot of clothes. I’ve bought a lot of clothes there, too, and only recently learned of the Morrison connection.

      Of course you’re exactly right about intimacy and magnetism and all that. I can’t point to any contemporary actors or musicians with a dollop of charisma. The thing is, I’ve known several charismatic musicians who weren’t celebrities, and maybe their charisma is precisely the reason they didn’t become famous: it’s too threatening to those without it, and that’s, of course, everybody. The bland favor the bland. Maybe it was always thus, but, if so, it’s gotten much worse.

      Are you ever going to make a trip to L.A., Nat? I know, having lived here, you don’t need a tour guide, but I’m told I make for a good one.

      • It does seem that, for male singers, charisma comes either in over-choreographed tweener bop or timid nouveau weirdos with beards, and nothing in between. But I suppose it’s impossible to expect a 2013 audience to stomach a performer who tells them to ride the snake to the ancient lake, unless it’s done ironically. Sad.

        It’s been too long that I’ve talked about visiting L.A. without putting my money where my mouth is. Rest assured once I get back, I’ll need a tour guide to reacquaint me and will accept no substitutes to the Duke tour. We can even hold a séance to summon the ghost of my former self at my old apartment on Hollywood and Vista. Maybe get some script notes from homeless guys between the Sunset Ralph’s and the Guitar Center.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Rock & roll Ralph’s? I think that’s what they call that one. I think there may be an anecdote or two about it in The Dirt, the Motley Crue book.

          When I moved out to L.A., almost everyone I knew had a copy of this book, a guide to the crime sites and other points of unusual interest:

          http://www.amazon.com/This-Hollywood-Unusual-Movieland-Guide/dp/0915633000

          Now there are guided tours that take you to those places. But I liked visiting by myself. Well, I didn’t really visit; I would drive by and think, Oh, so there’s where such-and-such got murdered. Meanwhile, it helped me to learn my way around.

          I think the lack of charisma applies to the fair sex as well. Your adopted homeland, for instance, used to produce one fascinating actress after another. Not anymore.

          There’s no snake to ride, and the ancient lake has dried up, I’m afraid.

          • Yeah with female singers whatever real charisma and talent may be there gets so easily bulldozed by sexual flaunting that it’s hard to see anything else. One example I think and, this is maybe a minority opinion, is Rihanna who I believe shows glimpses of being able to genuinely connect on stage in a complex way, but it’s all drowned by her, or her image crafters, insistence on essentially performing like a unoriginal stripper.

            On screen, French actresses try to make a run for it still. Marion Cotillard and Audrey Tautou seem to have peaked early and faded already. I hold out a small hope for Mélanie Laurent.

            Maybe she could play Agnès Varda in a Doors remake (by the way, the link to that interview with Susan Sontag is great).

            Or she could be a kiss-and-tell groupie in the adaptation of The Dirt.

            Either way, I’ll be in Ralph’s aisle 6, hiding behind the bagel rack.

            • D.R. Haney says:

              Please, not the bagel rack. I’m not allowed bagels any longer. It’ll be too tempting.

              I’m so glad you clicked on that link! I never think anyone clicks on the links. But, yeah, isn’t it fascinating? That sort of thing would never appear on American television now, including PBS. Also, it was a bit sad to hear Jack Kroll, at the beginning of the program, introduced as an editor at Newsweek, now that there is no Newsweek.

              I confess that I had to google Mélanie Laurent. I haven’t seen Inglourious Basterds. Also, I had forgotten about Marion Cotillard, who’s very much in the tradition of Adjani, Binoche, Anouk Aimée, etc. But it isn’t just the French; the Germans, the Swedes, the Italians used to produce stellar actresses with international reputations. Then again, the European art film doesn’t enjoy the prestige that it did yesteryear.

              I haven’t paid much attention to Rihanna or any other pop star who’s a tabloid staple. But I know there are those who take Rihanna very seriously, including Camille Paglia.

  10. Jim Vermin says:

    Another great piece! What I really like about your essays is that they reflect your deep curiosity about something that gets stuck in your brain and how through research, happenstance and perseverance, you arrive at some new knowledge about your subject. These essays are almost like a performance: celebrity psycho-geography by a reluctant detective. Always a pleasure to read.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Jim! What a surprise to see you here! Well, it’s a facsimile of you. And let me tell you something: last year — it was August — I read with you at Stories, and I was having the worst day. I hadn’t slept at all, and I’d had an altercation with my next-door neighbor, and I had invited people to the reading and almost nobody could bother to respond to the invitation, let alone show up for the reading, and you came up to me outside and said, “I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your piece about Marilyn Monroe,” and man, that was just the balm I needed. It was still a shitty day — about an hour later I learned that Neil Armstrong had died, and I loved Neil Armstrong — but so often there’s that sense that nobody reads what you write, or they don’t give a shit even if they do read it, and you wonder why you bother to write at all, and then someone, out of the blue, makes you feel that it’s worthwhile to write, and you were that person and you’re that person again, and God bless you for it.

      You’re an astute psychologist. I’m very obsessive, and once I get an idea in my head, that’s it, though I wish that could translate into one dazzling insight after another, like Mailer’s nonfiction. He riffs a lot, while I ramble, but I only speculate to a certain point. I suppose I’m afraid of making a fool of myself, which doesn’t prevent me from doing exactly that. Anyway, I’m very encouraged by what you write about this piece and the others of its ilk, because there are going to be more of them; Brad wants to do another nonfiction collection, and everything in it will be about L.A. and celebrity and filmmaking and so on. This isn’t what I saw myself doing a few years ago — I would’ve recoiled at the thought of writing about celebrity! — but there you go, or to be more precise, there I go.

      I don’t think this comment is up to the standard of yours, but whether it is or isn’t, thanks, Jim, for that day at Stories and for now.

  11. I have arrived for the seance of TNB comment boards past!

    I may have mentioned this before … but when I was thirteen I won an oldies-station radio contest by answering a question about Gene Vincent. They were a little dumbfounded I wasn’t seventy-something. I never did pick up my two free tickets to the gun show. But anyway, I always knew stuff about music/film history because I was curious. I sought it out. Especially about dead people in music/film history. Which is how I knew stuff about Morrison, too. And, of course, there’s so much more to be fascinated about with Morrison. So the morbid, brooding me, who is playing “The Ghost Song” right now, relished reading this essay. And I love seeing your original photos that accompany this piece as well. AND the inward turns this essay takes from the story of Morrison to the story of your journey, in every sense of that word, to Room 32. I think without that personal connection, I couldn’t have connected so well. So to your comment troll I say, I care, damn it.

    Also, you might be able to extract two mildly entertaining comments out of this long one.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Welcome to the seance! I must say, it feels wonderful to be surrounded by ghosts like you.

      I don’t remember the story about Gene Vincent, but that’s great, and “I never did pick up my two free tickets to the gun show” is a great line delivered perfectly. Have you ever thought of doing standup?

      But, seriously, ladies and germs, you know by now that I’m a fellow morbid, brooding type and, as such, I was always fascinated by rock stars and movie stars who died young, or a select few, and I’ve now written about some of them, and I plan to write about still more, though most of the subjects are obscure. But I love the mystery of people — Sean Flynn is a great example — who do a few forgotten movies or make a few overlooked records and disappear. That’s the subject of my novel, for god’s sake!

      I’m with you on the personal touch. It’s needed, I think, in pieces about the very famous, otherwise you end up with just another forgettable bio.

      Thank you for caring, damn it! And your comment is so mildly entertaining that I’m going to leave it intact.

  12. Barry Blanco says:

    Duke,

    Was looking forward to this for some time. Terrific work. Great topic, great piece, wonderful to see where you went with it as only you can.

    Rodney Marsharsh needs to find an air balloon floating above the Tour de France whereupon he can kneel before Zod and take a learned sip for grandpa.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      I don’t believe that’s Rodney’s real name, which is why I addressed him as I did. I think he amended his last name to include the word “harsh,” because harsh is what he aimed, or aims, to be. He’s Charles Fucking Bronson, okay? He’s a literary badass who’s gonna serve up some editorial justice. I want to design the poster for the movie.

      I had forgotten that I had mentioned to you the idea for this piece back when it was a twinkle in my eye. How do you think it compares to the one about Sean Flynn? I feel as though I owe the SF piece to you, since I would never have researched him had we not discussed collaborating on a screenplay about him. And of course I got attacked right out the gate on that one, too. That never used to happen at TNB. It was such a friendly place! An oasis!

  13. Barry Blanco says:

    Charles Fucking Bronson, is right. “The literary badass who’s gonna serve up some editorial justice.” Gee whiz, I realize you are, on the page or in person, one of the few who makes me really laugh instead of clapping inside my head in that white man way of, “Oh well, now *that’s* funny.”

    Well, comparing Morrison with Flynn won’t lead us anywhere anymore than asking is it more fun to swim in a river or the ocean? Both you have wonderful chemistry with. It’s funny working backwards from someone like Michael Jackson hailed as the world’s greatest entertainer blah blah, when so much of the performance element of his act is just hiding the substance of the message. It’s all sauce hiding that’s it’s just fun, very danceable music and he’s the best at doing that and not much else. He doesn’t have anything to say beyond responding to our response and thinking he’s Jesus and whatever the hell else was going on to hiding his fetish for kids in plain sight only to “shock” us. Jim can just be Jim, all the way, “to the full” as Dinesen used to say of why we love animals so deeply in a way we can’t human beings. Flynn is just some kind of sublime mirage/oasis. These are mountains for me like real mountains that amount to not much more than scenery I adore but then you go out and *climb* them. I so admire that and even more your willing to share the view with us. Randy Marsh can get jerked off by whatever 2 parter well-edited bit of dross floats his boat. I like that your stuff is just yours, not feeling as if written to the same person *by* the same person as so much else not just is, but *aspires* to be.

    I’d like to read over that SF piece again. It’s been a while…

    Be fun to catch up soon too.

  14. Barry Blanco says:

    Can you send me the link???

      • D.R. Haney says:

        BB, I was just having an exchange on Twitter a few hours ago about Jim Morrison, and I wrote something like, “He couldn’t lie, even if he tried to lie,” and that’s more or less what you said, and precisely what I meant by “private in public.” Personally, I’m not very interested in people who hide, and that’s almost everybody these days, which is why I largely loathe the contemporary world.

        Oh, and there is a tenuous connection between Jim Morrison and Sean Flynn. Tim Page, Sean’s photographer friend, was taking pictures at the Doors show in New Haven, where Jim was maced backstage and arrested onstage and beaten by the cops before they dragged him away.

        I wonder if Sean was a Doors fan.

  15. According to that last image in the article, mystery solved. “Jim is in Ong’s Hat”

    ;-)

    Great article brutha. Always love your stuff.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Thank you, sir.

      I was very slow to do the math, wasn’t I? On the other hand, I didn’t know until I was well into the piece that you, too, are a former resident of room 32. I would love to have fit into the story the ghost you saw!

      Have you ever seen this clip? It’s John Densmore at the Alta Cienega, among other old Doors haunts, shot at the time the Oliver Stone movie was released:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9Bu9PTqZlo

      I only discovered it yesterday, accidentally.

  16. Edmord Husky says:

    Been waiting for this – love the piece – just LOLed and had to underwrite:

    “I heard murmurs. I was in the psychic hub. I returned to the scowling man and presented him with a twenty-dollar bill, and he said, “Don’t pay me, pay her,” recoiling like a pimp avoiding entrapment and sealing my new impression of the store as a bordello with a Wiccan theme.”

    bravo!

    -ed

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Every time I see that I’ve received a comment on this piece, I think, Oh shit, here comes an attack. I never used to think that way, but attacks have become more common here at The Nervous Breakdown, in my experience anyway. My last piece was about Errol Flynn’s son, Sean, and it received a number of attacks from people who think they own Sean (and Errol) Flynn. Similarly, there are people who think they own Jim Morrison, and woe to those with differing views on him.

      This is a long way of saying how relieved I was to read your comment. Thank you! And the bit you cite — it was weird, and certainly unexpected, that I was reminded as often as I was of prostitution while searching for a psychic. Also, one thing I left out of the piece was my epiphany that psychics are really practicing a form of psychotherapy — which is obvious, I guess, except that I had never given the matter any thought.

      Until the end —

      Duke

      • Edmord Husky says:

        Cool. Yea, its funny how expression on a site called TNBD can subsequently lead to PTSD like complications from exposure to para-sympathetic comments. It just occurred to me that someone might be developing some kind of software that filters comments by tolerance level? I do however feel rather out of place bringing that up myself with a pseudonym ;-)

        Again, the piece was great, good riddance to detractors.

  17. Don Mitchell says:

    So very very late to this party, which reminds me of the old TNB days, when commenting was almost as much fun as reading (or writing).

    Good job, Duke.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Thank you, Don. I ‘preciate that, as we say in Virginia.I would’ve answered earlier, but I wasn’t notified of your comment.

      It’s not beyond our powers, you know, to restore the old comment culture of TNB, as well as our dispersed community. I’m still in touch with most of the key figures of that community, including you, obviously; we just don’t convene here any longer. But if more of us posted here again, starting with Don Mitchell…

  18. D.R., May I reprint this article on http://www.jimmorrisonproject.com? You will be given full credit plus a citation to your original post. Awesome article!!

  19. Kristy says:

    I enjoyed reading this (and your piece about James Dean) but there are a few inaccuracies….Jim had a house (though rarely used), spent money on traveling & eating out and continued to do drugs (mostly cocaine but sometimes pills) till his death.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Hey, Kristy, thanks for reading not only on this piece but the one about James Dean. I never think the archive pieces get read, so I’m very happy to be proven wrong.

      Are you referring to the house on Kings Road? It’s funny; that house, which Tony Funches has mentioned, doesn’t show up in any of the biographies I’ve read, and there was some controversy on message boards as to whether Jim had ever owned such house, though Tony Funches would know better than strangers, obviously. But because, aside from him, I couldn’t verify the house, I decided to exclude it. I likewise excluded the house that Jim is said to have bought for Pamela, because, again, I couldn’t verify it; it’s mentioned in some biographies and not in others, and I could never learn what Pamela did with the house, which leads me wonder if was paying her rent and not her mortgage. But I did say that Jim’s luxuries were mostly confined to books and booze, hoping the “mostly” would give me some leeway. He bought the house on Kings Way for tax or business reasons, I believe Tony Funches said, so in that way I’m not sure that it counts as a luxury.

      Of course you’re right about the cocaine, and I always assumed that Jim popped the occasional pill in his post-acid period. What I was trying to put across, though obviously I didn’t do it successfully, is that alcohol was his true drug of choice by the time he died, and the word largely here was supposed to work as mostly did in the bit about his spending. Those bits were the hardest, by far, to write, because I didn’t want to bog the reader down with too much detail even as I was trying to introduce information that seemed crucial to the seance — i.e., Pamela and the way Jim died.

      Anyway, thanks again. This piece is supposed to be released at some stage as a kindle single, and afterward it’s supposed to be included in a collection, so between now and then I’ll tinker with it some more, bearing in mind your feedback.

  20. Alex Carl says:

    Duke,

    Fantastic words! Love your story telling weave.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Thanks so much, Alex.

      Friends know me to meander conversationally, and that would probably annoy you in life, but I have more control over it in writing, obviously.

  21. Matt Cook says:

    I loved this article, and didn’t think it was too long either. I mean, I was surprised by its length, it just kept rolling and rolling but remained subtly gripping right till the end. I didn’t realise how much so until about two thirds of the way in when I was distracted by some phone calls and found myself fidgeting to get back to find out how it ended up. Personal highlight: “My ongoing strategy of postponing death had been vindicated.”

    • D.R. Haney says:

      The length, yeah. I’m sure I must have mentioned somewhere in the comments above that I never expected this beast to be as long as it proved to be, though in truth it was written for print, not for the Internet, where it momentarily resides.

      Is it vain of me to say that “postponing death” line is a personal favorite? Humor was tricky with this piece. The subject matter lends itself to cheap shots. I can only hope I got it right.

      It was an unexpected treat to see your comment here, Matt. I hope this won’t be the last time we meet, so to speak, at TNB.

  22. Matt Cook says:

    I think it’s vain to point out any line as a personal favourite, so you might as well have that one. The humour was very well managed, I’d say, as the temptation / opportunity for more would have been large. Maybe you could invent a new style of writing in which the structure is defined predominantly by the cheap shots? I massively enjoyed it and can’t believe I’ve been away so long.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      I think the new style of writing you propose is called YouTube comments. Also IMDb comments. Yes, go to YouTube and/or IMDb, and you will see many fine examples of this style, and it’s so well developed that I’m afraid there’s nothing I can contribute.

      I love the word “massively” as you employ it here. May I steal that? Thank you!

      As for vanity, hey, I feel like I’m in the tradition of old-school hip-hop artists who, when asked by magazines like “Spin” for their favorite records of the past year, would usually cite their own records. I can’t argue with an OG!

      • Matt Cook says:

        Oh yeah! Forgot that concept had already been crowdsourced. Feel free to use ‘massively’ as much as you want, though not as much as me please as it’s kind of a signature term. Old school hip hop vanity is way more becoming than new school literary vanity. Go for it!

      • Anita says:

        I thirst for stories about JDM. Thank you for this interestingly obscure experience that you had. I only wish I could find more. I was enthralled while reading your words.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          You aren’t being sarcastic, are you, Anita? Because it would really hurt my feelings if you were.

          • D.R. Haney says:

            Oh, and Matt, I massively appreciate your last comment, though it’s taken me forever to respond. Also, I owe you an email. Sorry. I’ve been distracted with my new hip-hop career.

  23. Nancey says:

    I really enjoyed reading this. I came here thinking.. hmmm wonder if Duke has written anything lately, he’s always good and just what I need at the moment, and here you were!

    I’m not that interested in Jim Morrison, I might be the only one on the planet, I realize that I found this piece much more about you and the experiences you went through, so I found it fascinating, and just like most books in life it’s sometimes not in the story, but in the writing -and I find yours…. perfection time and again.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Interestingly, Nancey, I was thinking about you recently, when I realized it was around this time last year when I was raising money on the phone and wrote about it, and you commented. Time flies, etc. Anyway, it’s great to hear from you.

      You’re definitely not alone with regard to Jim Morrison, but the piece is ultimately, yes, about me and at least a little about modern communication, or the lack of it. It’s funny how the themes of a piece emerge in the course of writing it, no matter what we think it’s about before we begin.

      I don’t know that you’re interested in the JFK assassination, but I’ve been working on a piece about that for weeks. In fact, I started researching and planning it for months, and intended to post it before the 50th anniversary of the assassination, but now it looks as though I’ll have to post it afterward when nobody will be interested in reading the piece. Oh, well. It couldn’t be helped. The [insert the expletive of your choice] thing has been murder, no pun intended, to write.

      Anyway, hopefully, we can have another exchange before too long, But no pressure about the forthcoming post; that you read, and took the time to comment on, this very long piece is thoughtful enough. Thank you.

  24. Nancey says:

    Oh, I hope i commented on your piece about the lost shirt, the guy on the bus, and the girl you loved that died, all of them have stayed with me through the years and won’t leave. Heart wrenchingly gorgeous writing. I look forward to the next, no matter what the subject. Keep writing please, there is something about it that draws me in and stays with me long after i have finished and gone on with real life.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Hey, Nancy, you did indeed comment on all of those pieces. I’m especially appreciative that you mention “The Lost Shirt,” just because that’s one that I don’t think many read.

      Sorry it took me a while to get back to you. I’ve been following your instructions to keep writing, and I’m lashing myself across the finish line with my latest, which it still some distance away, though I think I can see it.

  25. Jude says:

    It’s been a long time since I was here on TNB – and what a treat it’s been to read your wonderful treatise on the late, great JM, who was one of my heroes from the era of my teenage years.

    This was a particularly engrossing story – in particular, your efforts to find a psychic. My feeling was that Jim wanted you to find the ‘right’ person, and I want to imagine he was leading you on a merry chase, giggling all the while. Testing you to see how serious you were. And then the weirdness of the recording mysteriously disappearing…

    I felt sad to read about the room. All those ‘fans’ somehow thinking they were making some connection with JM and defacing it with drawings (that even he didn’t like!). Pissing in the room would have perhaps have been more in keeping!

    As usual I derive so much pleasure from reading your writings, and I’m off now to do a search for all the ones I’ve missed. Much love Duke.

  26. Jude says:

    Oh and by the way, your photographs are fantastic.

    • D.R. Haney says:

      First part of my response: Thanks for what you say about the photos.

      Second part to follow when I have a stable Internet connection. I’m way out in the sticks for the holidays.

      Do Kiwis refer to the country as “the sticks”?

    • D.R. Haney says:

      Well, Jude, as you may have seen already on Facebook, I’ve returned at last from my Christmas holiday. Were you in Christchurch? So it seems.

      At any rate, I did want to thank you again for reading the piece and commenting on it. It’s never been put to me before that Jim wanted to make sure I got the right psychic though it has been put to me that the urine was his and not mine — his idea of a joke. Ghosts retain their sense of humor, I was told.

      The room is ghastly, isn’t it? But that’s the fun of it. And of course people express “admiration” in all sorts of perverse ways. The murder of John Lennon was a perverse expression of admiration: his assassin got Lennon’s autograph before returning to gun him down.

      On that cheery note, I hope you have a wonderful 2014, Jude.

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