Patricia Kennealy-Morrison – FAQ 33

What about this Fireheart thing?

Jim had been writing me letters since the spring of 1969, often including poems and “asides”, as he called them; and by the time of his death I had amassed quite a cache: some 30 letters and cards, 40-50 poems, 10 songs intended for his first solo album, half a dozen drawings.

The difficulty was that the copyright on all these is controlled by the Coursons, as masters of Jim’s estate; even though these writings were all intended by Jim as gift for me, personally — love letters, erotic poems, no one else has seen them — the right of publication belongs to his literary estate, which means Pam’s parents, who inherited when their daughter died intestate in 1974. I could burn the letters, or eat them, or sell them at auction; but I cannot publish the contents without the Coursons’ permission, and I would sooner be dead in a ditch than give them the satisfaction of hearing me humbly petition them for it and then gleefully denying me.

The good news: Copyright runs out fifty years after the author’s death, and there is no renewal, it all goes public domain; so, on July 3 2021, I will be free to publish. The way better news: A new law says that copyright on all unpublished material written before 1978 runs out in 2003, again leaving me free to publish.

And, believe me, I intend to publish with a vengeance… The volume will be called Fireheart: The True ‘Lost Writings’ of James Douglas Morrison, and I have already pretty much completed the editing (minimal; a few hundred words, out of some thirty thousand, have been deleted to protect our privacy, and if you have a problem with that, too flipping bad) and annotation (extensive; place, circumstances, Jim’s mood, the condition of our relationship at the time of composing — that sort of thing). See Fireheart on this site for more details…

Jim always wanted to use ‘James Douglas Morrison’ as the name on his literary writings, and to keep ‘Jim’ for his music. That never happened, and withFireheart I’m going to see that he gets that wish at last.


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