Photograher: Natalia Lipchanskaya. Model: meThis post is a sequel to my previous one and to be honest I am not even sure why I am writing about all this, it is quite outside my usual range of topics. But when I started this blog I decided it would be an opportunity for me to write about what takes my fancy and somehow this has, and in a big way too. I am now trying to bring the different pieces together.
Yesterday, being Sunday, I woke up later than usual, and had breakfast in bed. As I was sipping my coffee I picked up Kennealy-Morrison's tome which came the other day through the post and which I had only managed to skim through prior to writing my earlier post. I had no idea I would end up spending the whole day reading it from cover to cover, watching some video reconstruction of the last day in Morrison's life, apparently dying not in his bath but in a nightclub's toilet, full of heroin, and reading alternative accounts to Kennealy's story, all the while feeling I was going through an emotional roller coaster.
Strange days: my life with and without Jim Morrison is a hardback, and it weighs quite a bit. I am not used to carrying real books around anymore, I have Kindle and iBooks but this one is only available in this format. I had it in the pretty basket I use as handbag for the past few days but never really had a proper chance to sit down and read it until yesterday morning.
Photographer: Elina PasokAs soon as I dipped into it, I also began to feel very uncomfortable. The story is well written but Ms Kennealy is really at pains to tell us how she wanted Jim Morrison to be when he was with her, rather than how he actually was, and depicting the relationship she dreamt of having with him, rather than what they really had. You just can't stop feeling that she reimagines it all. Her account sounds so contrived, it really is quite unbelievable at times. For example, she goes on and on about Jim Morrison's sexual prowess, according to her they did it all the time, in and out of bed - very much at odds with various reports concerning his impotence, due to his alcohol and drug consumption. According to her he hardly ever drank when he was in her company, which sounds quite far-fetched, the man was addicted to the stuff, I have lived with an alcoholic and I know you just can't stop them from drinking. Maybe he drank behind a curtain and out of sight? She makes him say some very, very corny lines, and maybe he did say those things but tongue in cheek, as he often did in interviews (have you ever heard the one in which he is ravenous and keeps on asking for food and then launches into a 'What's wrong with being fat' which is quite funny). She is also quite obsessed with herself being 'a tall woman' but she says she was some three inches shorter than him. He was 5'11 so she must have been around 5'8 or 5'8.5 which is not short, but hardly very tall. I guess compared to Pam Courson she was tall and leggy and this is what she really means.
Then there is the story of the abortion and that is pretty harrowing because she did not have a quick termination, in the early stages of her pregnancy, she had it at twenty weeks, a saline abortion, so it was absolutely horrendous. I cried over her account, it is impossible not to. She was twenty four years old at the time, on her own, Morrison, by then twenty six, did not want the baby - there were some twenty paternity suits brought against him, Morrison did sleep with many women - she was too scared to go ahead with the pregnancy. I will not consider here those rumours, voiced through other accounts, that she was not sure it was his, that's why she went ahead with the termination. They seem to be so cruel. I just think the whole thing was a nightmare and I do understand now why she keeps on referring to herself as the mother of Jim Morrison's unborn child because the abortion she had was an induced labour. She even had to sign a death certificate for the dead fetus, which was more or less the size of a lizard. A lizard baby, I guess, but in saying this I don't want anyone to take it as a jibe, it really is not meant to be so.
Photographer: Nadia Lee CohenThen there is the constant putting down of Pamela Courson, which after a while does get heavy handed - Kennealy comes across as insanely jealous of the affection Jim and Pam shared. Finally, there is the lashing out at Oliver Stone, who according to her misused the information she had given him. Stone makes out that the whole handfasting ceremony was something that Morrison did for kicks, for extra stimulation, even perhaps under the illusion of regaining sexual potency, and never regarded as anything but something he did whilst high. Kennealy truly believed in the sanctity of it. How she managed to persuade him to do it in the short time they were together is a mystery but there you are, he did go through with it. Kennealy's book came out after Stone's film, in which she even had a small role, and is meant to redress the balance. Many people seem to be unhappy about how Stone portrayed them, he took some licence with facts and events but Kennealy, played so brilliantly by Kathleen Quinlan (even Kennealy liked her though she can't help noticing that Quinlan was "several inches shorter than I", has the best lines in the film "Come on rock god f*** me, f***me good" so she should not complain. Overall I think Stone took her quite seriously and turned her into a Yoko Ono kind of figure, which is quite flattering. But Yoko Ono she is not.
Reading the book was a very emotional experience for me. I found myself curled up on my sofa, unable to put the book down and then when it was all over - when the music's over, I should say - I just wondered why I had wasted a whole day reading about a reimagined love affair with a rock star that has been dead so many years, of whom I am not even a proper fan. What is it to me? I could not find any common ground and was annoyed with myself. Only later I understood what it was. There is something about Kennealy that scares me and also touches me deeply and that is her inability to come to terms with the fact that Jim Morrison was not so much into her after some initial genuine interest yet she turned the whole thing into transcendental, immortal love, the stuff of epic romances and hangs on to this till today, several decades later. For all her claims to be independent and able to stand on her own two feet she barely manages to disguise that she was in hot pursuit of Jim Morrison, whom she must have inundated with calls and letters - pre-email days - and stalked around the country. This is something that sometimes happens to the best of women, it is a kind of addiction as bad as alcohol or smack or anything else and something that they will not admit to because admitting it is most mortifying. For Kennealy it was a very f***ed up rock god, for other women it is a more ordinary, also f***ed up man whom they put on a pedestal and reimagine as a god, but the feelings are just the same. It is the chase for the man who is already attached and/or emotionally unavailable for a host of reasons. He may not necessarily be bad, that's why I dislike the term toxic men. It's just the wrong relationship at the wrong time with the wrong man.
|Quinlan and Kilmer as Kennealy and Morrison. Courtesy: Cinematic Passions by Miranda Wilding|
I would recommend this book to any woman struggling to understand her need to get involved with unavailable men. As Lowe puts it "Dating an emotionally unavailable man is like climbing Everest with your flip flops". It seems to me that this is what Kennealy has attempted to do, had a near-fatal fall in the process and she is still bearing the consequences of that fall.