Lipton’s Journal/January 31, 1955/359

From Project Mailer

The inter-fecundation is starting. A letter from Bob[1] says, “Occasionally . . . I find myself leaping ahead in my mind—or arguing fiercely as if you were present.”[2] It has to be. So many of my ideas are expansions of Bob’s ideas—in turn many of mine will be expanded by Bob. Yet, I’m ashamed to say that I was not entirely pleased when I read the above. There’s a part of me which is such a holder. I really hate to give up a part of me, and I usually give best when I will not be totally accepted (Bob was right about this). I’m so afraid things will be stolen—which of course is the way of saying things will be improved. What causes the rich man so much anguish when his joint is looted is that deep in him he suspects that the thief will enjoy his property more than he did.

There is one other fear about Bob which is justifiable perhaps. I’m not at all sure he’s the revolutionary—he is so capable of turning back to be the mere reformer. Which means my ideas will be abused. But this is quibbling. I have jumped on a stray lack of elation. The fact is that I would have been much less delighted, much more depressed if my ideas had not stimulated him because the modest part of me knows that everything created is a dead end unless it serves to stimulate the artist[3] and others to go beyond. And Bob can go places I cannot go, just as the same is true for me. Once I get rid of more S, my H may be more content with being a part of the whole instead of the whole.


  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.
  2. See the letter dated January 27, 1955 in the Correspondence of Robert Lindner and Norman Mailer.
  3. Mailer never stopped stating that it was the work of other artists that gave him new ideas and impetus, and that he hoped that his had a similar effect.