It was early summer in Los Angeles, 1971, and actor and rock groupie Pamela Des Barres was walking down La Cienega Boulevard heading for an audition.
Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors and heart-throb to millions, was driving down the opposite side of the street. They waved to each other.
Morrison did a U-turn and pulled up for a chat. He told Des Barres, “I wanted to say goodbye – I’m going to France.”
The idea he explained was to concentrate on his writing. She later told friends how well he looked and how happy he appeared to be.
A month or so later he was dead. Found lying in a bathtub with fatal dose of “china white” heroin the probable cause.
There are many theories about Morrison’s death.
Did he die in the bathroom alone while his girlfriend slept? Or had he overdosed at a bar and been brought home, where he died?
There was no autopsy and no open coffin.
Whatever you believe though, nothing removes the sentiments he relayed to Des Barres that day.
He always saw himself as a writer, not as a pop star.
Poetry was Morrison’s ‘ultimate art form’
Now fans and lovers of literature can test Jim’s assertion for themselves with the release of the complete works of Jim Morrison.
In a book curated by his friend Frank Lisciandro, and with a prologue by his sister Anne Morrison Chewning, his writings are published together for the first time, with more than a third of the material never seen before.
The book includes one of his first poems from 1954 called The Pony Express.
It also contains the poetry and material he wrote and published in the 1960s and ’70s, along with notes from his trial in Miami, a film treatment called The Hitchhiker and a long poem, almost certainly written in Paris, immediately before his death, with lines that suggests the past:
And I remember
stars in the shotgun
And chillingly what was to come,
Naked we come
& bruised we go
for the slow soft worms
There’s little doubt he loved writing, especially poetry as he told interviewer Tony Thomas: “Poetry is the ultimate art form, because what defines us human beings is language. The way we talk is the way we think, and the way we think is the way we act, and the way we act, is what we are.”