Mrs Morrison's Hotel

The 100% personal official blog for Patricia Kennealy Morrison, author, Celtic priestess, retired rock critic, wife of Jim

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I was, wait, sorry, that's "David Copperfield". Anyway, I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, went to school in upstate NY and came straight back to Manhattan to live. Never lived anywhere else. Never wanted to. Got a job as a rock journalist, in the course of which I met and married a rock star (yeah, yeah, conflict of interest, who cares). Became a priestess in a Celtic Pagan tradition, and (based on sheer longevity) one of the most senior Witches around. Began writing my Keltiad series. Wrote a memoir of my time with my beloved consort (Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison). See Favorite Books below for a big announcement...The Rennie Stride Mysteries. "There is no trick or cunning, no art or recipe, by which you can have in your writing that which you do not possess in yourself." ---Walt Whitman (Also @ and

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wotcher, Sir Terry!

I see where Her Maj, a pretty nice girl, has made our lad Terry Pratchett a knight of the realm. Well done, all!

I bet at the investiture, though, he'll be thinking of nothing but Sam Vimes...SIR Samuel Vimes, Duke of Ankh-Morpork...and being thankful he doesn't have to wear knee-breeches and feathers.

And huzzah for Lady Pratchett too!

I refuse to huzzah for Robert Plant, now CBE, he once having commanded me to sit on his face backstage at the Fillmore East. (I didn't.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Big Wave

I've been thinking about the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami a lot today, the one that hit around Indonesia and India and Africa after the tremendous earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.

I've been fascinated by, and terrified of, tsunamis ever since I can remember. I have dreams about them, just as J.R.R. Tolkien did, and his son Christopher as well. Nobody ever drowns in my tsunami dreams: there's always a place to hide...a house or a cave or under a bridge or something.

Not so the case four years ago: almost a quarter of a million people perished in the waters. Mostly because they didn't know the warning signs, and when the water drew way out from the shore to feed the incoming monster, they were puzzled and amused, and went out to investigate. So they were caught there on the exposed sea bed when the waves started flooding in.

Tsunamis don't come the way they do in my dreams, as towering, cresting monster waves hundreds of feet high. They're more like a change in sea level, and come in like a great sheet or shelf of water, maybe thirty or forty feet high; you can see this on some of the 2004 footage, the water just coming in and in and in faster than a person could outrun it.

And they don't always happen from earthquake displacement: the largest mega-tsunami on record, over 1720 feet high (that's SEVENTEEN HUNDRED AND TWENTY FEET) happened in Lituya Bay, Alaska, in July 1958. A moderate quake caused a landslide into the bay, and the landslide caused the wave, which killed only two people (sparsely populated area) and actually carried a father and son, out fishing in a small boat, over the trees of the headland and deposited them safely down again. Scary stuff.

The people who live around the Indian Ocean held candlelight prayer services today for the victims of the tsunami four years ago, the single greatest death toll from a tsunami ever, dwarfing Krakatoa (30,000 or so, in 1883, when the volcano Krakatoa exploded itself out of existence), a few hundred miles away from where the 2004 quake and waves hit.

I don't know why tidal waves, as they were called in my childhood, before scientists were aware they have nothing to do with tides, fascinate me so. Maybe I was an ancient Atlantean. Tolkien didn't know, either; he put his dreams into his account of the destruction of Numenor, and said that once he gave the wave dreams to Faramir in LOTR, he didn't have them anymore.

He must have had some kind of deep earth connection, though: in his posthumously published "The Notion Club Papers" (in "Sauron Defeated" Vol. 9 of "The History of Middle-earth"), he has a story about people in Oxford who go through a tremendous storm, partly magical, apparently, that hits Britain in June 1987. Spooky thing was, the Great Storm did hit Britain, in October of that year; Tolkien was out in his prediction by only four months, though he'd written the story some forty years before.

And I have some sort of utterly unreliable earthquake predictor going: I often get nauseated before a big quake hits, as we've talked about before, and Mensa had a group of other earthquake sensitives who worked together with the US Geological Service lab in Golden, Colorado. Nobody's predictions were in the least bit useful, unfortunately.

So a prayer and a silent moment for all those hundreds of thousands who were killed by the tsunamis four years ago, and remember: If you're on the beach and suddenly the water gets sucked out to sea, run for the hills before you are too.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Let Nothing You Dismay

I can't hope to improve on this email from my dear friend Mary the beautiful and talented and brave, so I'm just reprinting it, with profound thanks and gratitude...

O Best Beloveds, I love the words associated with this season. Peace. Joy. Merry. (Oh, and feasting. Can't forget that.) I wish you all that, and so much more. Can one make merry joyfully and peacefully? Let's resolve to find out!

Thank you for being your own beloved selves. And thank you with all my heart for being along with me this past year. We have no idea what this next year will bring, but let us stay within the spirit of the season, and assume it will be heavy on the good tidings of comfort and joy. Comfort and joy, we say!

So Merry Christmas and, what the hey, God bless us, every one.

Not much to add to that except to wish you, in the words of our dear Terry Pratchett, "holly, and jolly, and other things ending in -olly!"
And thank you all for your love and friendship and support and wit and wisdom. See you in the New Year!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Solstice To All!

Hearthfires burn and cold winds blow
To join the Wild Hunt we will go!
To honor Lord of ice and snow
This bright Midwinter morning

Happy Solstice to all who celebrate, and may the Light return to shine upon us all.
We love the dark. Now let's bring back the light.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Wayfarers All

"The Wind in the Willows" is one of my absolutely favorite books of all time, and this link is to a wonderful piece on it, marking its 100th anniversary, in Salon.

Do check it out: the piece AND the book. I can't imagine anyone here who hasn't read it at least once, but go take another look. It's one of my supreme comfort books in dark moments, but I also reread it when I'm happy. It works, either way.

It's a sublime achievement in English literature, and it's also just a really fun read for little kids. I remember seeing the vile Disney cartoon when I was a youngling, and when I found out there was actually A BOOK my delight knew no bounds.

As the Salon piece asserts, it has moments of genuine mystic joy ("The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" chapter, which never fails to move me to tears) as well as celebrations of simple home comforts ("Dulce Domum", my other favorite chapter).

When I got older, and read a bit more, I found out that Kenneth Grahame's personal life was a complete trainwreck, and yet out of it he had made this. For a writer in the making, this was perhaps the first statement I'd come across of the fact that, as writers, we can make worlds out of our own sorrow and joy alike.

Thank you, dear Mr. Grahame, for making this for us.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hip, Unhip Ho-Yay!

For the past couple of years, I've been an enthusiastic follower of, and sometime poster on, the website Television Without Pity.

TWoP, as it is known to habitues, is basically a website for trashing/discussing, according to your preferences, current TV shows, and it is generally both screamingly funny and gloriously literate.

But of late I've noted a rather distressing tendency among some of its less, shall we say, sophisticated participants to cloak even the most blameless relationships in what the TWoPpers call "ho-yay"---a bit of site shorthand for "homosexuality yay!" And this gets pretty much right up my nose.

Now, before you start getting all huffy, I have absolutely nothing against gayness. I have tons of gay friends of both genders, gay characters have appeared in my books and will continue to do so, I wholeheartedly support gay marriage as a civil rights issue. I would like to see more gay characters in media, characters whose gayness is merely the way they happen to be and not some kind of shock-value ploy or grab at hipness.

And I think that to get there, this juvenile, sniggering, reductio ab absurdum attitude has GOT to stop.

Not everything is about gayness, people! Frodo and Sam expressing their deep feelings for each other on the slopes of Mount Doom? NOT GAY. Ugly Betty cooking dinner for her roommate Amanda, as a kindness after a bad day working two jobs? NOT GAY. Doctor Gregory House and his friend Wilson playing pranks on each other? NOT GAY.

It does a disservice to such characters and their creators to contextualize them so, and it doesn't do much for gay people either.

Is there no place left in the world for deep, abiding love and friendship between two same-sex individuals that has no sexual content whatsoever to it? And does it always have to be trivialized and sniggered at? Why? Because immature adolescents of all ages think deep feelings are funny and can only be attributed to gayness?That's a pretty pathethic place we've reached, if so.

I have a feeling it's mostly puerile individuals who are insecure with their own sexuality, be it hetero, homo or bi, who feel the need to sexualize even the most innocent of hetero friendships portrayed in movies or on TV or in books into a ho-yay context. And this really, REALLY gets up my nose.

Fandom slashfic (fanfic is an abomination in itself, which I may rant about at a future time) in, say, Harry Potter (Harry/Draco, Hermione/Ginny, etc.) or LOTR or just about anyplace else you can think of just boggles my mind. Are there REALLY that many beaten-down closet gays out there, who need this sort of thing as a way to feel good about themselves? Or is it mostly perpetrated by infantile, giggling teenagers who think gayness is a goof and that this sort of thing is fun?

It isn't, you know. It's demeaning to all concerned. And I really wish it would stop. Perhaps, as people grow up a bit, it will. Until that day, I think I'll stay away from TWoP. It's just not worth it.

That's all.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Happy Birthday, Honey!

James Douglas Morrison

8 December 1943

Side warm against mine in frost-time
Chest my cheek rests upon, shield-broad, steel-ribbed
Arms around me, oak-strong, sun-warm
Flanks arrow-straight, the downward highroad
Slow honeyed flare of desire spiraling round us
Love, and peace within it:
We are gathered in like grain,
Our harvest each other.

---Athyn's bridal song to Morric, Blackmantle