A haunting by Neal Cassady (as protrayed by Thomas Jane)

I take the bus to work.

One day, going a different way, I saw a sign that said ‘Artist Studios’ with a For Rent sign underneath. There was a fleeting wondering about them but nothing more.

Today I took what I thought was this same route and remembered the signs. I started looking out the window but realized I had passed the most likely place for the studios. Again, the vague wondering of what they were like.

Then a memory hit me. Of a movie clip I had seen of Thomas Jane playing the beat writer Neal Cassady (a quick check before I started writing this showed that the movie is The Last Time I Committed Suicide).

The clip was of Cassady at his typewriter. He used butcher paper on a roll and fed it through his machine so he wouldn’t have to stop to change pages. It started me thinking of all those portrayals of New York writers, writing in the heat. A fan that just manages to move the air some, a fridge with nothing but beer. Late nights and sleeping most of the day.

And suddenly I wanted to do that. To rent one of those studios and live there during the summer. Maybe use an assumed name, make up a past. Buy a typewriter from one of the second-hand shops around there. Get old jeans and shirts. Just a small fridge and a desk fan. Maybe a cot to sleep on. Nothing I would mind if it got stolen. The idea kept returning to me throughout the day.

Just move out of my place with all of its distractions and force myself to work. To be a mad, desperate writer. Instead of the Paris cafe, the New York rundown apartment. Not the open retreat in the woods, but the small space in the city.

Whether the studios are just meant to be used as a work space during the day with no real amenities or could be used as crashpad is unknown. How long I could make the fantasy last is also unknown. Plus the lack of available funds is a detriment.

But damn if I wouldn’t want to try it, just once.

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