Lipton’s Journal/February 22, 1955/657

From Project Mailer

Today, I’m completely down. The sup depression came on last night after rereading the journal for the day and being struck forcibly by the fact that it all seemed far less profound and much more “gushy” than I had thought. Particularly the enthusiasm about having my ass whipped. In bed last night that seemed really de trop. And today, I regret the note about Bob,[1] although of course it served its purpose. I vented the spleen I felt, and today I like him as much as ever. But will he like me? The balance between obeying one’s swings and social consideration is of course the great difficulty.

Anyway, there is a difference. Because I expected the depression, because I did not try to fight it off, it was actually very mild, and this morning on six hours of sleep I feel calm and in a good mood. It’s a little sad perhaps to be back in the world with its slow wasteful pace, but on the other hand I recognize a peculiar thing about writing. It’s almost a law. The more depressed I am while I write, the better is the quality. The more enthusiastic while I write, the worse the quality. It is almost as if I have to express myself through intense sup resistance in order to give texture, and ergo absorb the sup beating. Which means that for good sustained writing I will have to stay off Lipton’s. Unless I try writing quick wild first drafts on L-1 and L-2, and then reworking them calmly. Well, there’s nothing new in all this.


  1. A prominent Baltimore psychoanalyst and writer, Robert Lindner (1914 – 1956) became acquainted with Mailer after reading Lindner’s 1952 sharp critique of current psychoanalytic practice, Prescription for Rebellion (1952), published by Mailer’s publisher, Rinehart. The letter, which contained both praise and criticism for Lindner’s ideas, led to a close friendship over the next four years, including many visits and the sharing of work, including Lipton’s. See extended note on entry 56.