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Letter to Jim

by Elinor

AN: This is for a contest run by the official Doors website, so I wrote it with Jim Morrison in mind, as the prompt was merely to write a short piece "inspired by the band's 50 year legacy". However, I tried to keep the details vague so it really could apply to artist who died young, and I'm wondering if more or less specificity would help, as it needs to be about two pages longer to qualify. Please help and enjoy! Thank you.

PS: Please help me think of a better title.

You seemed like you were a good man. I don’t know for sure. How can I? There’s fifty years between you and me. Someone might assume I was in love with you, and they wouldn’t be completely off base. I understand why people, men and women alike, were and still are. If we had ever had the chance to meet face to face and you’d expressed interest, I don’t think I would have turned you down. But I also think we’d have functioned far better as friends, as collaborators, than we ever would have as lovers.

Besides, you were already attached. It seemed like you really loved her, and she you. There’s a shortage of men like that in today’s day and age. I mean, she literally couldn’t live without you. You were both twenty-seven. Far, far too young. Conventional wisdom tells us that a twenty-seven year old is really just beginning their adult life. Maybe they’ve just gotten married, had their first child, or they’re still figuring themselves out. Too young to really do anything, much less anything that could have left an indelible impact on the world. But you never got anywhere by following conventional wisdom. Thank god, right?

Much has been said about all of your faults. But was what you did really so bad? Was it anything worse than all of the things we do? We all fight our demons every day. But you lost your battle, and because of it, you’re not here to defend yourself. It doesn’t seem fair. Twenty-seven is the blink of an eye. Maybe, as the saying goes, fires that burn brightly go out quickly. But there are plenty of fires that don’t, plenty that are still burning.

Why is it that the people who seem like they can give the most to the world are the first to die?Your voice is one of the most beautiful, haunting things I’ve ever heard. Yet, in your pictures, there’s something otherwordly, almost unsettling. I don’t know what you went through that made made each day so hard, but I see it in the pictures. I see it in the distant look in your eye. I’ve been through a lot of pain in my life too.

I suppose I see a lot of myself in you. The disillusionment with my peers. The lack of regard for of the moment news and material possessions and things that don’t really matter. The search for something deeper. Expressing it through writing. I think music is one of the most raw, powerful expressions of emotion there is. And while your band could have never have really been mainstream, it didn’t need to be. You tapped into something we all feel. And that’s greater than what a lot of your naysayers give you credit for. But as much as I care for you, I don’t worship you. Like I said, you made tons of mistakes. More than a few really big ones too. But again, so does everyone. You were just a man, a man who what was in front of you and decided you had something to say about it. So you didn’t let anything hold you back. You just did it.

I wish, for your sake, you could have lived a long life, that you could still be alive. Maybe you and your lady would have gotten married and had children and grandchildren. Your band would recorded and performed and become something even greater than it already was. You could have seen the world and maybe, just been happy. You may have found beauty in pain, but you deserved happiness too.

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841 Reviews

Points: 664
Reviews: 841

Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:47 am
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Radrook wrote a review...

Thanks for the composition. I found it very moving. Especially the part about the age difference that would prevent the relationship between the older speaker and the younger musician. I understood it as referring to a relationship established over the Internet since the speaker said they had never met. Such relationships can become quite strong. The sadness comes through loud and clear so its tone is perfect.

You ask how to make it longer? Well, I guess that it can have a slower start perhaps by providing background information on how the writer and he first met and how the relationship gradually developed. How the other woman suddenly appeared and became a crucial factor in keeping the speaker and the musician apart. Perhaps by commenting on how age differences can sometimes be overcome. The famous Spanish cellist Pablo Casals was a musician who married his student who was decades younger than him and they remained married until his death. She loved him til the end and beyond. Perhaps by providing some specific details about the type of music he played and how he gradually had success. Things like that can be used to slowly lead to the ending you already have. But as I said, it stands well the way it is.


"But as much as I care for you, I don’t worship you. Like I said, you made tons of mistakes. More than a few really big ones too."

The repetition of his flaws as the reason why the speaker couldn't love him comes across as if the speaker is resentful. I would remove that emphasis in order not to convey that impression if that's not an intended one.


I don’t know what you went through that [made made]....

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23 Reviews

Points: 52
Reviews: 23

Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:58 am
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gema11 wrote a review...

I think specificity would be very helpful. It would be much more impactful if it was obvious you were writing to Jim about his impact on you. Without that personal connection it feels to vague and not really as emotional as I think you want it to be. Try referencing specific events in your life that you feel connected you to him.

You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way.
— Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind