Lipton’s Journal/March 4, 1955/702

From Project Mailer

Laughton came to town over a week ago and I spent seven days in a row talking about Naked to him. Now’s not the time to go into all that, although it was very rich (I wrote rocy—rocky) and then left me with a bad depression which I’m just beginning to some out of.

Today I felt a deep strong need to work at this Journal as if it is not enough for me to think or even to speak silently, but that instead I must write down what I think, and thereby find the release. This undoubtedly has something to do with the difficulty of self-analysis. One must emphasize it. It is not enough merely to consider oneself passively, to “think” about oneself. Instead one must have the muscular expression (I wrote ex ression—excretion). (Do intellectuals hate sports, sweet, etc. because muscular expressions are excretions to them or is this true only for me?)

Anyway—there must be a physical overt act be it speech or it writing (finger movement) before anxiety is released. I have done an enormous amount of thinking in the last few weeks, or rather in the two weeks or ten days since I’ve last worked on the Journal, but I’ve also been in the worst depression yet these last couple of days and I suspect that a good part of it was due to the fact that moving my fingers, “writing,” is an exceptionally important and anxiety-releasing muscular activity for me. More than that, writers finding themselves unable to work on the typewriter return to an earlier finger activity, to wit they hand-write.[1]


  1. After Mailer completed work on The Deer Park (he typed the final draft himself), he began to write his work almost exclusively by hand, and continued to do so for the next half-century.