Lipton’s Journal/February 21, 1955/642

From Project Mailer

I realized during lunch why I grow stimulated under Lipton’s. Essential to my entire mechanism (psychic that is) is my essential basic and enormous passivity. Very deep in me is the sensitivity of the womb. And indeed, the room which is the Other-Life equivalent of the womb is the way I picture my brain—as indeed an enormous room with fantastic life going on in it. Given my passivity—which as a child was so great that I wouldn’t go out of the house for days at a time—I have been able to overcome that wombishness (womanishness) only by being a giver.

So whenever I sense the deep feminine element in me getting ready to receive, I start to give. I enforce a quick give on an enormous take. I smoke, I talk, I pace about, I wave my hands, I generate energy to keep me out of the womb. Indeed my sexual anxiety has always been the one of being able to go so far, so deep into sex, that I should never return. Cunts have never been frightening to me as cunts—they have always seemed appealing. To lick a cunt has always been a delight for me. The partial impotencies I had with various women and the psychic impotencies I had with others came from the fear that I would truly fall in, become the little boy of this giant woman.

I was able to give myself to Adele[1] because when I first knew her I had contempt for his her social face—I figured such a woman could never hold me, so I could go, I could explore. But of course another part of me must have known what a woman there was in Adele, and today I can know that I love her because the thought of losing her, through death, through the army, through jail, through whatever, is unbearable to me. A void opens. I know that without her I would be a cripple. With her, able to nourish myself in the womb of our relation, but now finally accepting that need, giving myself to it instead of fighting it, I can act more decisively with other. (Incidentally, driving a car fast and long is a solution to people like me, or as I used to be. One gets in the womb and one travels—one does both at once. But now I have less desire to drive because I recognize the reasons.)

Anyway, taking the clue that I give when I am terrified of the big take, my stimulation under Lipton’s becomes understandable. It generates all my giving capacities in order to keep from becoming the enormous open mouth swallowing the universe. But there is a touch of the hysteric in me, the imperfect maker. Under Lipton’s I make less well than otherwise because my giving tends to short-circuit the making process, the danger of great take is so intense. Truly, with perceptions I get in five minutes under Lipton’s, I would have enough to make a life’s work of books. Patience and an easy relation to time and work are the most difficult things for me to achieve because my entering and taking apparatus is so enormous.

But this gives a clue to stimulants and depressants. I am truly like a plane which has burst through the sound barrier and so has to use reverse English on the controls. Takes have become gives for me, gives are takes (I get my best thoughts from the act of the stranger in me talking to someone else—the friend I always see as myself). Thus, sedatives are often stimulants for me—I fight them by giving even more. Stimulants, once in a while, act as sedatives. I know that they are givers, so I can afford to accept my take.

As viz the other night when enormously stimulated I went out for a walk at seven in the morning, had breakfast, had a black coffee, and then went home and fell right asleep. I think the idea of the coffee-stimulant in me relaxed the giver in me enough so that the taker of sleep could draw me in. But to be scientific I have to admit that I slept only four hours and that lightly. On the other hand, I was so stimulated, so excited, that I probably would otherwise have stayed up for another twenty-four hours.


  1. 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.