Lipton’s Journal/January 27, 1955/316

From Project Mailer

But what is also interesting is that I welcomed the depression. It was reassuring in a way, it was almost pleasant to return to the old neurotic state which I think signifies for me the state of work, hard work, depressed work, but of course honorable work. I don’t know whether to take this journal seriously. At times I think I’m getting into wonderful things, other times I just wonder if I’m losing my grip and bathing in clichés and other people’s ideas.

We went to a party last night at Malaquais’,[1] and in the cab I said to Adele[2] in a very profound voice, “You know, when people go away on vacations, it’s not a casual act—it’s of deep significance. They’re hoping that something will happen which changes their lives.” And Adele after a moment of shock at the seriousness I gave it, said, “But, of course, darling, everybody knows that.” Perhaps it is just that she has known it all her life, but I was startled and upset. It had seemed such a perception to me. I had been thinking of the peculiar frozen look almost all people have when they come into a resort hotel and their baggage surrounds them with the stamp of the novice. And how relieved they are when they find friends, and the terrible depression under the surface if they cannot cozy up to new acquaintances. Like a repetition of the childhood trauma-adventure of moving to a new neighborhood.

Anyway, for the first time in many weeks I had a lot to drink at Malaquais’. Not to excess but four or five ryes on the rocks which I enjoyed. What I really enjoyed was the old neurotic tension of a party with its fatigues, its aggressions, its enthusiasms. The old depression with the feeling of “force” beneath it, of masculinity, was reassuring. We came home, had one of our enjoyable mock-spats for Adele drunk is always full of beans, and fell asleep. I woke up about four hours later, and had a deep perception which I can barely remember, but it made me realize the beauty in myself and in Adele, and I decided that the extraordinary contradiction of my personality, the saint in morality, the potential psychopath sexually was what gave me my strength as a writer. Sort of: the greater the contradiction in a person, the wider the range of his potential experience and intuitions. Only it was very beautiful as I saw it, so beautiful that I woke Adele up and we made love which was very pleasant, and then I almost fell asleep but didn’t, and finally got up with four hours of sleep, and have been moving slowly all day, feeling drained, or more exactly drawn to too fine a pitch. Part of it is getting off Seconal which I had taken three nights in a row. Anyway, the obvious occurs to me which is that S forces contain a great deal of their strength because they conserve the body too, or give us the illusion that they do. When the H is open and riding for several days in a row there is exaltation but there is also terror—one feels close to death all the time. S gives me feelings of depression and force, as I have written above.



notes

  1. 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.
  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.