Some of the best books about Jim Morrison aren’t really about him as it turns out, but more about the author’s own personal growth spurred by interactions with the notorious front man of the Doors. John Densmore’s Riders on the Storm: My Life with Jim Morrison and the Doors is a perfect example, so is Judy Huddleston’s book This Is the End…My Only Friend: Living and Dying With Jim Morrison.
Chronicling their four year on again off again relationship that ended with his death, it’s a beautifully written memoir about a teenage fan and her idol that really captures the angst of being in love with someone that can’t quite live up to expectations…a journey that anyone who has ever experienced disappointment in love or disillusionment with one’s hero understands. Sadly this book coveted by Doors’ fans is out of print. But luckily, she has just completed an updated version (Love Him Madly: An Intimate Memoir of Jim Morrison).
Judy was a 17 year old model and art student when she met first met Jim. She went on to graduate from California Institute of the Arts and received a MFA from Eastern Washington University. She continues to create art, write and teach.
For a lot of Doors fans, Jim has become an idealized anti-hero or archetype to be worshipped. You told me in a previous conversation that your book Living & Dying with Jim Morrison is about your search for God in man. What was it about Morrison that inspires such feelings?
Judy: Well, he looked like a Greek god, he had an amazing voice (which doesn’t get enough attention) he was a singer-poet and visionary, and like Christ or Adonis, he followed up on the mythology. On some intuitive level, we knew he had to die…
Yet in your book he is portrayed as a person very much alone, full of insecurities and searching for meaning, in short human just like the rest of us. Did happiness elude Morrison?
Judy: Like everyone, he had moments of happiness or joy, but clearly he was not happy. On balance, he was more tortured than most–genetics, karma, childhood, alcoholism–whatever the reason.
How would you explain Jim’s very erratic behavior? Was he bi-polar?
Judy: Yes, if not bi-polar, borderline psychotic. It was like a switch got flipped, far beyond a regular “mood swing.”
Jim told you he wanted to start a new religion. Did he mean it literally? Was he aware of L. Ron Hubbard and if so what did he think of him?
Judy: Yes, I believe he meant it literally. Unfortunately, it tied in with his death/dying god persona…he may have been able to better articulate the religion had he recovered from the side effects. As far as Ron Hubbard, I don’t know if Jim was aware of him; Scientology was certainly around LA at that time.
Would he have been the icon worshiped? What were the tenets of it and how much of it was really thought out?
Judy: I think he felt he was living out the Christ/Dionysus role, but not usually deluded enough to think he was the icon. (Maybe just his c**k. Ha.) Seriously, I sensed it was the psychosexual nature-religious urge in the tradition of the romantics and mystics, etc.
When was the first time you saw the Doors perform? Did you continue to attend performances once you became involved with Jim?
Judy: The first time I saw them was at the Cheetah in Venice; early 67, the next was at the Whisky, both spellbinding performances. I kept going to concerts (one could say religiously) until I slept with him. Then I stopped. It would have been too complicated, considering the groupie situation and Pam, etc. One exception: I did go to the live concert at the Aquarius because I saw Bill (Siddons, the Doors’ manager and friend of Judy) by serendipity.
Please tell us about your two new novels. Would you say Jim influenced you to be a writer?
Judy: Yes, he did, especially when I was younger. I was also influenced by everyone he mentioned as an influence-Blake, Rimbaud, Aeschylus, Artaud, etc.
Love Him Madly is an updated, rewritten version of my 1991 book This is the End, My Only Friend. Hopefully, I’m adding more perspective after 30 years–as well as adding scenes for context and background, and using past tense for more objectivity. And the stress is on how young women turn men, not just JDM, into gods/God.
Isis Leaves Idaho is a collection of short-shorts (prose poetry) about yet another addictive relationship. (Clearly my specialty). I also have another memoir, White Lipstick Diaries, about adolescence in the mid-60’s.
Based on your actual diaries? What WAS it like to grow up in the 60s? I know most of the Doors fans are probably fascinated by that era.
Judy: Yes, I have all my old diaries, started keeping them at twelve. The first drafts had several actual entries, but I’ve cut many out… (It gets a bit much, too precious, etc.) The most interesting aspect is how radically the culture shifted from Kennedy era making out/drinking/surfing to hardcore sex, drugs and rock n’roll. It took quite a toll on some and seems over-romanticized to me.
Much is made in the media about the psychedelic exploration of pushing social boundaries in the 1960s but no one seems to mention the downside…that the 70s were a more somber period of coming down from the high and dealing with addictions and disillusionment. Is this what lead to your breakdown and hospitalization?
Judy: My hospitalization was due to several unresolved issues, but yes it was also the flip side of the high. So much was swept under the rug during that expansion that the inevitable repercussions took quite a toll. Not so coincidentally, Pam had just overdosed…Some people kept it up for another decade a so.
While you were in the hospital, a vision of Jim appeared at the foot of your bed to say “I forgive you”. Have you forgiven him?
Judy: Yes. Time changes everything.