I adore Jim and more than that, I adore his words. I absolutely, whole-heartedly and un-ashamedly love his words.
In fact, I drew inspiration for the titles of both my unpublished novels from Jim.
Book One is called Dark Sanctuary and this was taken from a lyric from The Soft Parade – ‘can you give me sanctuary, I must find a place to hide’. If you check the homepage of this blog you will see I have posted this as my favourite quote. For me, that one line summed up everything I wanted to say about my main character Sarah. In fact, it’s a line that Sarah herself should probably say.
Book Two is called Lost Creatures and that one came along one day when I was spinning around on my chair in my writing room (as I often do when in deep thought or am looking for inspiration). In mid-spin, my eyes fell upon my copy of The New Creatures, a collection of poems by Jim himself. Immediately I knew I was going to use it and hence, Lost Creatures was born. The meaning behind the title is simple: Sarah and Michael are lost and through the course of the book, I try to bring them to a point where they find each other and accept they will never be lost as long as they have each other.
No doubt I will also find a Jim-ism to fit the title of my third book.
I’m a words kinda gal. And that doesn’t mean that I love someone who speaks as if they swallowed a dictionary. It’s not about the breadth of your vocabulary that will attract me, it’s what you do with that words that’s important. It’s about invoking great emotion. It’s about stimulating a feeling or visual image that will stay with me long after I have finished reading.
And that’s what I have always loved about Jim. Forget what you think you know about Jim. Forget the music, forget the hype, forget the hair (although it is wonderful) forget the images of Val Kilmer in leather trousers throwing roast chicken around the kitchen. The man was a poet first and foremost. He was a wordsmith, an artist, a creator, a genius.
Read his poetry. For me, he puts words together in a way that no one else can. He mixes words of violence and sexual aggression that can make you feel a little uncomfortable at times, and yet there’s these beautiful lush undertones of love and passion. Whatever he writes, it’s always thought-provoking. He paints images in your head; great landscapes of endless desert and highways, and snapshots of death, murder and sex.
Wild, untamable and full of the excesses of drink and drugs like the typical rock star he was expected to be; in actual fact, he was highly misunderstood and at heart he was just a poet. Screaming girls, groupies and hangers-on certainly fuelled his ego and helped build the portrait of Jim that most people know, but scrape away the stage growls, the commercial success and the image and there was a man who knew the importance of words. He wasn’t afraid of them either, even when those words were born from dark places and took people to dark places. And it was never about shocking people; it was about real life, real thoughts, real emotions and totally what great poetry should be about.
No one writes like Jim.