Lipton’s Journal/February 14, 1955/582

From Project Mailer

Last night taking my Seconal[1] I thought—“A pill for the swill.” And I was flat (stunned) by the recognition. How I hate this journal, hate myself, hate Adele,[2] hate my wild kick, hate the garbage I release, how I cling to society to knock me out, to stun my rebellion.

If I ever go insane I’ll not be a schizo. I’ll be a manic-depressive. Adele will too. For we either love each other or hate each other, we are either all er or all S at a given moment. The lucky saving grace which makes us mates is that we almost always love each other or hate each other fairly simultaneously. So our hatred flows into love by being discharged, our love becomes hatred by being expressed in its fullness. And the longer we live together the deeper this becomes—although since it becomes more understandable, we grow over the whole closer and I believe stronger-if-more-vulnerable because we have more to lose.

But my salvation is for my honesty to hunt the crook in me forever. Only through understanding myself can I come to create. By going in, I can give out. As I understand myself, and understand Adele (for whom sensuality is the equivalent of speech for me) so I can waste less time. These days I’m consumed with impatience which comes out in the barely suppressed pompousness and sense of rightness with which I talk even to dear friends—They must understand, there’s no time to lose. I feel it so unbearably. And yet I must repel them even as I seek to bring them closer because if I bring them closer I find contentment and so must give up the attempt to be a genius.

Bea[3] was a manic-depressive too, still is but now maniacal outside, depressed inside—she thickens her skin, becomes progressively more insensitive, and feels like death in her heart. Bea’s trouble and mine was that one always zigged when the other zagged, and I always felt as if she always led the tune—whereas Adele and I take turns at leading one another. So Bea was a “castrator” and Adele is not. When I was tender and loving with Bea, she was cold; when I was frustrated, angry, and cold with Bea, she became a soft little child saying “Why do you hurt me so?”

No wonder I hate her today—I think she was right in being afraid of me, I think I might conceivably have killed her if she had continued frustrating me. When I get angry at Adele I just want to smack her (smack—man sacks the female) and usually I do. Bea I rarely touched, but I used to feel like strangling her.


  1. Brand name for Secobarbital sodium, a barbiturate used as a sedative and anticonvulsant. Mailer used this drug regularly in the early and middle 1950s.
  2. Adele Morales (1925 – 2015), who he married in April 1954, was Mailer’s second wife. The mother of his daughters Danielle (b. 1957), and Elizabeth Anne (b. 1959), she separated from Mailer in early 1961 a few months after he stabbed her with a penknife, just missing her heart. He pled guilty to felonious assault and was given a suspended sentence. They divorced in 1962.
  3. Beatrice Silverman (1922 – 2016) was Mailer’s first wife. They met when she was a student at Boston University and he was at Harvard. They married in 1944 and their only child Susan, was born in 1949. After their divorce in January 1952, Silverman moved to Mexico, married Steve Chavez, and became an M.D. psychiatrist.