Mrs Morrison's Hotel

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

My Photo
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

Sunday, March 29, 2009


1. Do you prefer to read hardcover or paperback books? Hardcover or larger sized paperbacks? Borrow?

Neither a book borrower nor a book lender be I. (Except sometimes I borrow from my mom and sister. And I ALWAYS return books I borrow, within days. And if I do lend, I insist on the book's return. Which doesn't happen, and I learned the hard way, so that's why I don't lend but rather buy copies for people if I want them to read something.)

If I want to read a book, I buy it. Always hardcover, unless it's just a piece of fluff like a mystery to read on a plane or if I want to read the book NOW and I can't find or afford a hardcover at that moment. Doesn't have to be new; I buy from second-hand bookstores and eBay all the time. Which makes no sense, since I refuse to borrow books from the library around the corner, or indeed any library; I get all grossed out by who's had their grimy, germy paws all over the book.

Anyway, having neither unlimited book income nor shelf space, I'm careful about what I do buy. I like to think I already own pretty much all the books I'd ever want anyway...several thousand at last count. And any new book has to get along with the other books, or out it goes. Yes, I'm insane; I know.

2. Do you have a favorite place to read in your home?

In bed, which is also where I write (like dear Sir Winston Churchill) and watch TV.

3. Do you have a favorite place to read away from, or outside of, your home?

Reading to me is a sacred function, so I don't generally do it promiscuously in public. I get so absorbed and taken outside myself while reading that I don't like other people seeing me do it. I won't read on a bus or train or in a car, and I don't even like to read on planes, though if it's cloudy or dark out, I will; I prefer to pop on the iPod and look out the window instead.

4. Do you snack while you read?

You bet, and I am very careful not to mess up the book. Not just snacks, but full meals, even, and it often amuses me to tailor the food to the book: buttered scones and hot cocoa for English cozies, nice crispy bacon for LOTR.

5. Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?

Depends. Generally no, as I was taught from childhood that you didn't ever mark up books, and I didn't have a lot of them to begin with back then (though I had more books than anyone else in the house), so I treasured them and tended to keep them immaculate.
As I still do: when I'm done reading a book, you can't tell I ever read it. Hardcovers stay pristine through many rereads, but paperbacks tend to get really beat up, yet another reason why I'll buy HCs if I can.

I will highlight only a very few working reference books, such as ones I used while writing my Keltiad, and still I almost never WRITE in them; that's still a deeply ingrained no-no.
I will dog-ear, very sparingly, and generally just favorite passages, for ease of finding them again, never just to mark my place; my Aubrey-Maturin books probably have ten dog-ears apiece.

And I would NEVER, not with a gun to my head, mark up or dog-ear an old, rare, first-edition or otherwise valuable book, of which I'm proudly boastful to say I have lots. They're read carefully and carefully shelved after reading. I'm leaving them all to the St. Bonaventure library, with a few bequests to friends.

6. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?

I read so fast, there's generally no need to mark my place because I just roll right on through to the end in one sitting. If I do have to stop reading, I tuck in the front or back dustjacket flap to mark my place. Or else I just remember where I left off. Very occasionally I'll use a bookmark, if something's to hand.

And I have to read a book as soon as I get it home, because if I don't, how will I know where to shelve it?

7. Fiction, non-fiction, or both?

Judging from the shelves in the book room, probably 50-50.

8. Hardcopy or audiobooks?

Always hardcopy. I can't stand having someone else's voice get between me and the book. I like to hear my own voice reading it in my own head.

The same way I feel about religion, actually...nothing between me and Deity.

9. Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?

I can stop whenever I want to. Really. But I never do, and since, as mentioned above, I'm such a fast reader, I very seldom need to. Or, indeed, want to: I read the last Harry Potter in seven hours flat, as I recall, because I could, but also because I couldn't bear the idea of going to bed Not Knowing What Happened.

10. If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away? Write it down to look it up later? Just try to infer what it means from the rest of the sentence, and keep going?

In all modesty, it's been many, many decades since I've encountered an unfamiliar word.

But if I did, it would undoubtedly be something technical: medical or computer or some such. So if it didn't respond to my Latin knowledge trying to ferret out its meaning, I'd probably just press on and look it up later, if it was a problem.

11. What are you currently reading?

Just finished "Mistress of the Monarchy: The Life of Katherine Swynford, Duchess of Lancaster", by Alison Weir, and "Girls Like Us", by Sheila Weller (a triple, interwoven bio of Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King), and am rereading "Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded," by Simon Winchester, and "Body of Opinion", by Susannah Stacey.

12. What is the last book you bought?

"The Wanderer", the posthumously completed fourth book of Cherry Wilder's Rulers of Hylor series. It's good, and it was interesting to get closure on some characters, even if it's not the closure I wanted, but I could really tell where Cherry left off and Katya Reimann, a far less talented writer, took over to finish it.

These days, the shelves just can't take any more, so the rule is that for every book I buy I must deaccession at least one, preferably two. This is no problem: I donate them to the Housing Works Book Cafe, usually, at least the general-interest ones.
When I get around to dispersing Celtic books, as I will shortly, they will all go to homes where they'll be appreciated and welcome. I really don't need most of them anymore; Keltia is so well established now that the books are their own references. When I get some time down the road, I'll put up a list and you guys can put in requests; I'll just ask for the cost of postage and an envelope.

Same with myth/shamanic/otherwise Witchy books; I just have no more need of those either, and I seldom if ever reread them. So they'll go too. There's also some pricey astronomy books (mostly on stars) that somebody might like.

The rock books I'll keep for Rennie use and reference, and the fiction/poetry/history/bios stay always.

13. What is your all time favorite book?

That's like asking which is your favorite child. There are far too many to list, depending on mood and reason and season.

14. Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can read more than one at a time?

I prefer to be literarily serially monogamous. It's disrepectful not to give a book your full attention; that would be like talking on your cellphone while on a date. Though I can, and often do, read while watching TV. Never anything I'm really into, though. And I NEVER listen to music while reading a book; that's disrespectful twice over.

15. Do you like re-reading books?

I reread continually, for love of the books and for comfort. There are great swatches of hundreds of books I know by heart. If it's not worth rereading, it's not worth reading in the first place.

BONUS: Are there certain themes/ideas/qualities you tend to be drawn to in books?

Hmm. I guess it's more the themes/ideas/qualities that repel me from certain books: nastiness, gross-outs, vampirism (blood or psychological), anything icky, sticky or oversexedly porno, hard-boiled crime stuff, police procedurals, political stuff, graphic violence or autopsy stuff, unpleasant authors, boring characters, uninspired or overly fanciful names (especially in fantasy; those ones with apostrophes and unpronounceable spellings, like R'lehyr'tan'iss or K'r'inn A'le'XannR, or just stupid ones like RainbowLilac Silverwindmistdancer of the GreenpleasantvalenearAvalon).

I always scan the first chapter of a book before I buy it; if I don't like the tone, or the names, it stays unbought.
That rules out a lot, though not half so much as you'd think...

And I have never EVER in my LIFE read the last chapter first to find out "how it ends." The end means nothing without everything that goes before it; what's the point? Besides, I really hate spoilers...why do people want to ruin their own pleasure?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring On Horseback, Like A Lady

I wish! But I did see some horsies today, the NYPD kind, and very handsome beasties they are too. The horses, not the cops. Well...

ANYWAY. The apple tree across the street, my favorite street tree on my block, has sprouted tiny green leaves, so I guess winter is over and done and the voice of the turtle will soon be heard in the land. I never did get my big giant humongous snow...though the weather people claim it was a snowier than usual winter. I doubts it, yes I does.

I won't put the winter things away just yet, though...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A Black Day For Ireland

...was the day the slave Sucellos, later to be called Patrick, showed up on its shores.

I have no patience with the green-haired, green-beered, shamrockery-spouting "Sure and begorrah" morons who have co-opted this day, so don't anybody be wishing me a Happy St. Paddy's Day or the road rising to meet me or any other faux-Irish-accented claptrap.

I hate Patrick. And all his works and all his pomps. HATE HIM. He was a tool of the pope and the author of pretty much all the manifold wrongs that have befallen Ireland since his day. (I'm not named for him, btw. I consider myself named for my great-great-grandfather. So there.)

Patrick ushered in the cultural imperialism and militaristic occupation of England, pope-endorsed, that has fucked Ireland up almost beyond repair for the past 800 or so years.

Patrick decimated and stigmatized all the lovely indigenous Irish traditions and religious practices that had prevailed since the Celts first arrived there. He did this by cynically Christianizing them, and many of the Irish, wishful to please and little caring if they had yet another name for the Goddess, caved. To their disgrace.

I wrote a whole book about this. "The Deer's Cry". And I'm STILL pissed off.

So on March 17, I celebrate rather Pan-Celtic Day. I wear Morrison tartan, and Celtic/Keltic jewelry, and I stay miles away from the vomitous, and vomiting, hordes of Irish-for-a-Day amateurs that infest Manhattan every year on this day.

That's all.

Oh, and since the "snakes" he allegedly drove out were really Pagans, possessors of the Serpent Wisdom, let us lift our voices in a mighty shout: Bring back those snakes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Best Songs I've Heard in AGES...

Last night, on the trainwreck I can't stop watching that is "Grey's Anatomy": "A Storm Is Going to Come", by Piers Faccini. FANTASTIC, and already being played endlessly on my iPod.

Other wonderfulness:

"Ballad of Hollis Brown", Iggy and the Stooges. AMAZING guitar work by James Williamson. Song is just him, Iggy's vocal and a beat box. Unbelievable.

Also, Iggy's "The Passenger." Can't stop playing it.

"Coal Hole Cavalry", Black Pig Border Morris. Eerie morris tune set to a march beat. I borrowed it for Turk in Rennie 2. And thanked them in the Acknowledgments, of course!

"Bring On the Wonder", Susan Enan/Sarah MacLachlan. Heard this on "Bones", and it's just gorgeous.

Probly a few more. I'll add as I think of them...

(I've also been playing the hell out of "Ma Baker", by Boney M, but that's probably an acquired taste...)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tibet: Fifty Years On

A great song...about a terrible crime that continues to this day...

Listen to my story. got two tales to tell
One of fallen glory. one of vanity
The world's roof was raging, but we were looking fine
'cause we built that thing and it grew wings
In 1959

Wisdom was a teapot, pouring from above
Desolation angels
Served it up with love
Ignitin' strife like every form of life
Then moved by bold design
Slid in that thing and it grew wings
In 1959

It was blood, shining in the sun
First: freedom!
Speeding the American claim
Freedom; freedom; freedom; freedom!

China was the tempest; madness overflowed
Lama was a young man
watched his world in flames
Taking glory down by the edge of clouds
It was a cryin' shame
Another lost horizon: Tibet, the fallen star
Wisdom and compassion crushed, in the land of Shangri-La

But in the land of the Impala, honey, well,
We were lookin' fine
'cause we built that thing and it grew wings
In 1959
'cause we built that thing and it grew wings
In 1959

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times
In 1959...1959...1959...1959...1959...1959...1959
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times

---Patti Smith, "1959"

Monday, March 09, 2009

Arma Feminamque Cano

The arma in question being our present First Lady's. Apparently the voice of the flabby is being heard in the land, as to whether Michelle Obama should cover up those gloriously well-toned biceps.

Of course, we're only hearing this voice from the flabby-minded as well as the flabby-armed. One David Brooks, Republican apologist and renowned bottom-feeder, actually told NYTimes columnist Maureen Dowd that Mrs. Obama should "put away Thunder and Lightning."

He ACTUALLY NAMED HER BICEPS!!! What a howling dork is this. I bet his own biceps are pencil-thin and can barely manage to raise themselves to comb his thinning hair. He's lucky Thunder and Lightning don't punch his lights out for saying that.

He's not the only one yammering for the First Lady to cover her limbs, though. When she wore that super eggplant-colored sleeveless dress at the session of Congress the other week, all sorts of idiots were baying like junkyard dogs about how "inappropriate" the dress was. Oh please! She looked fantastic. They're just jealous that Laura Bush was never so toned in her life. Hell, GEORGE was never that toned...or his mum and dad either.

I totally envy Mrs. O those upper arms. Nobody sees mine, of course, at my age, but though they're certainly not as fine as hers, they're pretty darn strong, and I use free weights on a regular basis, not to mention pull-down bars (60-75 pounds depending on how buff I feel that day, which is not Laird Hamilton class but pretty good for a chick) and rowing pulls and other instruments of torture at the gym, to make and keep them so. Even the bodybuilder gay guys approve.

But the public (in certain quarters) hostility to Michelle's display of armature fascinates me. Did these sexist cretins think Jackie Kennedy's far more extensive display was equally unseemly? As a young teenager, I remember noticing how many lovely sleeveless evening gowns and elegant sleeveless daytime dresses Mrs. Kennedy wore in her White House time, and how gorgeous she looked in them. Not toned like Michelle, of course. Nancy Reagan, ditto; and even Mamie freakin' Eisenhower!

(For a primer on First Lady style down the ages: )
(And for rational comment on Michelle's sleevelessness: )

So perhaps THAT'S the rub. It's fine for a First Lady to show her guns if they're not POWERFUL guns. Well, you know what you can do with that...

Michelle Obama could probably knock David Brooks out with one swing. The fact that Barack Obama is perfectly happy living with and loving a woman of strength (in ALL ways strength) just makes him look even better.

So, Michelle sister, you just go right on wearing those dresses and showing off those splendid appendages. Maybe a call to arms...such just what we need.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Dowager Boomer

That's me! And today, March 4, is my 63rd birthday. Which is fine. I couldn't get the Trader Joe's chocolate ganache cake I sought (they were all out of it), but I found a most worthy substitute: TJ's Chocolate Dilemma, a glorious box o' cheesecake, comprising 2 slices each of marble, triple chocolate, plain and chocolate-chip. What perfection. This weekend, I'm going to my mom's (to congratulate her, as I do every year, on having produced such a wonder child), and she and I and my sister and my two eldest nieces will celebratorily consume all this chocolatey goodness. (There's a Chocolate Lava cake as backup...)

But more importantly, today is, how perfect is THIS, National Grammar Day! And Conanne the Grammarian rejoices that it should be so. This day of all days is so designated by SPOGG, the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, a fine and upstandingly correct organization. I encourage all of you to join.

And as a birthday gift to me, a personal boon and favor, perhaps people could resolve to finally break themselves of the "between you and I/me" would do a lot to clean up Dodge.

That's all.

Monday, March 02, 2009

In Like A Lion

I hardly dare mention it, for fear of making it go looks like......SNOW!!!!! And a lot of it. What a nice birthday present, a few days in advance...

The weather droids are saying maybe DOUBLE DIGITS in town...a foot or more!

1:00 pm

Well, the snow has wound down for the moment, but we're expecting another shot of it later this afternoon. We have about 9 inches, so maybe we'll hit a foot. It looks lovely, and I've been out already once today. Came back after a brisk walk around the corner past St. Mark's Church while the snow was still falling; newly inspired to work on Rennie, just not the next book, but the one where she moves to NYC and into a house right across from said church. A snow scene, naturally.

I love writing cozy scenes like that. Perhaps you've noticed. Scenes where the weather is a major player, and people are all cozy and warm inside, usually eating something nice.

So in the pursuit of verisimilitude, I've just had lovely baked ziti and meatball leftovers from last night's order-in (I'm SO lazy...), and will watch a soap opera or two, and then I shall put my monster Sorel snowboots on and go out again, to trudge up to 3rd and 14th and Trader Joe's.

I am hoping, probably vainly, that it won't be crowded today, but I know my fellow New Yorkers, and they're all thinking exactly the same thing I am. Which means the usual queue wrapping around the store like an anaconda...but I need that chocolate ganache cake for Wednesday. Well, okay, not really "need". Just want. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Miami Price

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Doors at Miami. Which, to my mind, was THE single watershed moment in the downfall of the band, a hugely contributory factor to Jim's out-of-control death spiral, and an equally huge factor in our own relationship.

May those whose political agendas were responsible for it rot in hell, or at the very least reap the karma they so richly deserve. A million sorrows that we were the ones to pay for suspended sentences here.