Lipton’s Journal/January 26, 1955/275

From Project Mailer

I am coming to believe that there are excellent therapeutic qualities to Lipton’s if administered properly, especially when it is followed by Seconal[1] for a couple of days. I had Lipton’s last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, and one capsule of Seconal on Friday, one on Sunday, two Monday night, two last night. For Monday, Tuesday, and today, my state has been one of enormous internal excitement and sensitivity without nervous tension. I find it hard to sleep but that is because my mind is so full of ideas. My insomnia instead of being depressed is elated, and if I suffer from anything it is an overabundance of ideas. I hardly know which ones to put down first, and for the last two days I have been working from five to eight hours on this Journal with no real fatigue, intense concentration, and great excitement—to my knowledge this is the first time I’ve been able to do mental work this way since I was an adolescent. Also, I have not felt driven—the most immediate expression is that I look at the clock sadly—I must quit work—rather than anxiously. Moreover, I have no desire these few days to take more Lipton’s—I have all I can do to handle the sensitivity I have.

What I suspect from having seen so many people take Lipton’s is that a psychic process equivalent to the first six months of analysis (roughly) where the analyst must break down the patient’s first resistance to the therapy seems to be accomplished in much less time. At least for me. Just as certain people fight analysis for a year, two years, so certain of my friends with very rigid characters—Danny,[2] Jean,[3] others—fight Lipton’s. Others accept it quickly.

One general theorem I suspect is that bisexuals take to Lipton’s more readily than unisexuals, near-alcoholics, and heavy drinkers. These people have never to my memory been able to accept Lipton’s. Indeed, I took Lipton’s for the first time over three years ago and merely got ill—the five or six times I took it in the next three years were all unsatisfactory—I either felt anxiety so great it knocked me almost unconscious, or I became ill, or suffered violent paranoid experiences.

But in Mexico, after that period when I had stopped drinking, Lipton’s began to hit. It was also the time when I wrote my article for One magazine. Shortly after coming to New York I began to understand my profound bi-sexuality. Then bam with The Deer Park, and I was off on trying to understand myself.

All this is preface to a Lipton’s corollary: Alcohol makes one appear more masculine. Lipton’s makes one feel more feminine. So men with a low threshold of active homosexual tendencies generally find Lipton’s unbearable. Bisexuals like myself who are safely ensconced in heterosexual habits and express their feminine side in powerfully emotional friendships with men can accept Lipton’s provided of course they are in a period where H is pressing powerfully forward and their S is crumbling.

For use in analysis I have the feeling that Lipton’s used with certain people could speed up the analysis greatly, used both in and out of the analytic hours depending on results. For other people it could of course be disastrous, or at minimum time-wasting and ultimately S-enforcing. The above is very sketchy but at least it is a first approach to the problem.


  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. A close friend of Mailer’s in the 1950s, Daniel Wolf (1915 – 1996), the co-founder of the Village Voice, introduced Mailer to his second wife, Adele Morales.
  3. A Polish Jew (real name Vladimir Malacki) whose parents perished in the Holocaust, Jean Malaquais (1909-98) was a veteran of the Spanish Civil War. Mailer has often said that Malaquais influenced him intellectually more than anyone else. They met in Paris in 1947 and became close friends a year later when Malaquais was translating The Naked and the Dead into French. Malaquais and his first wife Galy lived with the Mailers when they spent a year in Hollywood, 1949-50. During their time together, Malaquais, who wrote several novels, informally tutored Mailer on leftist thought and the history of the Russian Revolution. See Mailer’s “My Friend, Jean Malaquais,” an introduction to Malaquais’s 1954 novel, The Joker, rpt., Pieces and Pontifications.