The Art of Writing

This charcoal sketch of a 25-year-old L. Ron Hubbard by friend and artist Richard Albright hung above the editor’s desk at Five Novels Monthly.

OTWITHSTANDING HIS HABITUAL WARNING ON THE PERILS OF a New York residence – “Chances are a hundred to one that you won’t be able to turn out a line when the subway begins to saw into your nerves” —by February, 1936, Ron had taken a basement apartment in that perennial artistic enclave, Greenwich Village. By all accounts, it was an interesting place with an ancient piano in the sitting room and a fresco of pink cherubs (appropriately peeking from clouds) on the ceiling. As we shall see, it was also routinely filled with some fairly interesting characters.

     There are dozens of telling anecdotes from Ron’s stay in his King Street apartment: The afternoon he took control of a speeding subway in the name of research; the evening he slipped on an old tweed jacket and a porkpie hat for a black-tie reception at the Museum of Modern Art’s first Picasso exhibition; the Paul Ernst mystery parties where guests were required to solve a mock murder, and talk of dastardly deeds finally grew so heated two neighboring matrons actually telephoned the police.

The Art of Writing continued...

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