A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Woman

Patricia Highsmith, who printed twenty-two novels, together with “Deep Water” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” died in 1995, at the age of seventy-four. By the time of her demise, she had alienated many of the individuals in her life, espousing racist, anti-Semitic, and in any other case offensive views, however the eight thousand pages of diaries and notebooks she left behind—an edited model of which will probably be printed this November—depict an engaged, social, and optimistic youth. The following alternatives start in the spring of 1948, when the twenty-seven-year-old Highsmith had a two-month residency at the Yaddo artists’ colony. There, she met the British author Marc Brandel, with whom she started an on-again, off-again relationship, and completed writing her first novel, “Strangers on a Train.” To make cash, for a number of years Highsmith wrote for comics, together with these printed by Timely, which later turned Marvel. In December, 1948, she additionally discovered seasonal work in the toy division of Bloomingdale’s, the place she bought a doll to Mrs. E. R. Senn, the spouse of a rich businessman from New Jersey, who turned the inspiration for the character Carol, in her novel “The Price of Salt,” which was first printed, in 1952, beneath a pseudonym.

april 3, 1948: Have rented a typewriter, and begun, in good temper, one other ending on the Comp. [Woman’s Home Companion] story. It flows. Yet every day that goes by—the place is the writing I want to do? I really feel it in me. Shall I be like these individuals with out quantity who really feel a future to jot down magnificent works someday? Yet them I do know I’m totally different, and I put my belief in my depth—my huge want—which I don’t see in any respect in them. The fortune-teller’s comment to my mom in N.O. [New Orleans] haunts me: “You have one child—a son. No, a daughter. It should have been a boy, but it’s a girl.” All round me, the joyful, lighthearted, fortunately residing {couples} of the South. Courtship is very easy, the attainment really easy, their our bodies so lucky.

april 10, 1948: My mom woke up me at 9 with a name that I’ve been admitted to Yaddo. I’m thrilled and delighted. Such a aid, like a soldier, to have one’s life deliberate for the subsequent 10-12 weeks! My mom happy, too, and grandma impressed. Grandma learn all about Yaddo in the pamphlet. How vast in vary are her pursuits—how a lot grander a individual is she than all her offspring.

could 11-30, 1948: What to say of Yaddo? I shall always remember it. A singularly boring bunch, no huge names—although Marc Brandel is fascinating. Bob White, Clifford Wright, Irene Orgel, Gail Kubik, Chester Himes, and Vivien Okay[och] MacLeod, W. S. Graham, a Scots poet, Harold Shapero & spouse, Stan[ley] Levine, painter, Flannery O’Connor. Great want to drink, after 3 days. The drunkest night of my life after ten days. At the Maranese Restaurant btw. right here & city, the place we took dinner when the kitchen moved from storage to mansion. None of us ate a lot. We trooped into the bar & drank as if we had by no means had cocktails earlier than. Mixing was the order—for a thrill—Marc quickly succumbed, with carrot hair in his carrot soup. I exchanged a revealing phrase with C. Wright, the solitary homosexual individual right here, which was carried no farther. We each know. So what?

I should have had 5 Martinis or six. Plus two Manhattans. A close to blackout at Jimmy’s with Bob & Cliff, who had handed out at the Maranese, & needed to be carried by three of us into the cab. We propped him on a stool in Jimmy’s, whence he fell like an egg. We seated him in the taxi, however once we got here out he was gone! The taxi fare $7.50 for Bob & me by the time we completed Bob’s drawings in his studio. The driver consuming & wanting, too. When we refused, we had been whisked again to city, passing Cliff on the approach, staggering beneath the darkish elms of Union Avenue on his 2-mile trek again house. This night time has grow to be legendary as “the Night Clifford Fell in the Lake.”

Chester tried (in his room) to kiss me. Did I point out it already? Doesn’t matter.

There are six artists right here. We are all very totally different from each other, but remarkably sociable, I feel. What strikes me most forcibly is our primary similarity, in reality. It occurred to me final night time, if any of us noticed a white notice being slid beneath the crack of our door—with a sound like thunder in the silent depths of midmorning—every of us would drop his work and spring for it. With what hope? Perhaps a pal, some signal of private selection, of a singling out from the relaxation. And it adopted—private safety, ego assurance, a lover. These each artist wants and desires. Even the married artist is continually attuned to those wants. The mornings. Energy is simply too ample at ten. The world is simply too wealthy to be eaten. One sits in a whirl at one’s desk pondering of drawing, writing, strolling in the woods. The overwhelming flood of expertise dashing in from all sides. In the morning solely do I ever want a drink to scale back my vitality from 115% to 100%.

5/15/48: Please attempt to discover if each artist isn’t ruthless not directly. Even the sweetest of characters have completed one thing, usually as a result of of their artistic life, that to the relaxation of the world is inhuman. Some instances are extra apparent, others could also be extra hid. I do know mine exists, my cruelty. Though the place I can not exactly say, for I attempt at all times to purge myself of evil. Generally it’s selfishness in an artist. And as a result of he topics himself so cheerfully to all types of privations for his artwork, it’s troublesome for him to see whereby he has been responsible of selfishness. He sees it as selfishness for such an clearly worthy trigger, too. Generally, in a single kind or one other, it’s a self-preservative selfishness, in regard to his not giving sufficient of himself to the world or one other individual.

[no date] After three weeks at Yaddo. The soul lusts for its personal corruption—after just one week. Desperately, via alcohol, it tries to reestablish contact with the relaxation of humanity. One’s everlasting and particular person loneliness is silhouetted sharply towards darkish inexperienced pine woods the place it appears no human determine has ever walked or will ever stroll. And, too, there’s the want born of loneliness additionally, to mingle spiritually with all the relaxation of the world of this yr 1948 which is now ravenous, preventing, writhing in agony of thirst and undressed wounds, whoring, dishonest, scheming, creating non-public, secret fondnesses for the stinking gutter. We need that, for it’s our future, too, and Yaddo is depriving us. There is the second of utter corruption, round eleven or eleven-thirty in the morning. One goes to urinate, washes their arms and appears into the rest room mirror. The clock in the workroom grows audible. One realizes the isolation and imprisonment of the physique, one realizes the hell of the physique, and never solely right here, all over the place and as lengthy as one lives, one longs for one more physique, bare and loving, a man or a girl, as it could be. One mixes a drink of rye and water, sips half of it truculently at a window, appears to be like at the sterile, made mattress and contemplates masturbating and turns from it in worry and scorn. One stalks about the room like a felony imprisoned, unregenerate, incorrigible. This is the second scrumptious, nihilitive, supreme, all-answering, the second of utter corruption.

june 2, 1948: Happiness overwhelms me. Twenty-three days at Yaddo. My life is common, nice, healthful on the apparent aircraft. (And how typically and the place in the previous eight years, since I lived with my mother and father, have I been capable of say this?) On the much less apparent aircraft, it restoreth my dignity, my self-confidence, it allows me to finish what I’ve by no means accomplished, that youngster of my spirit, my novel, and provides it beginning.

june 26, 1948: A turning level. Went with Marc to the lake and mentioned homosexuality fairly a bit. Amazingly tolerant he’s. And he satisfied me I have to abolish guilt for these impulses and emotions. (Can’t I keep in mind Gide? Must I at all times attempt to “improve” myself?) I returned with fairly a totally different perspective. I feel extra extremely of myself. I’ve opened myself a little to the world.

august 2, 1948: These days, I’ve been talking with Jeanne about the want for us to separate. Promised Marc I’d. She was unhappy, however understands. Mostly she was jealous, I feel. And later with Marc. I requested if he may spend the night time with me. Said sure. He was very candy, however nothing occurred, and I used to be upset once more.

8/5/48: Persistently, I’ve the imaginative and prescient of a home in the nation with the blond spouse whom I like, with the kids whom I like, on the land and with the timber I like. I do know it will by no means be, but will probably be partially, that tantalizing measure (of a man) which leads me on. My God, and my beloved, it might by no means be! And but I like, in flesh and bone and clothed in love, as all mankind.

september 10, 1948: Provincetown. Marc drunk after I arrived. Ann Smith [a painter, designer, and ex-Vogue model, a friend of Marc Brandel’s] visited us, I feel most likely to get a take a look at me. She pursuits me—younger, fairly, easy, and understanding. We needed to take a stroll (a few days later), and Marc accompanied us. Yes—I really feel like I’m in jail. Always must be like that—with a man.

11/23/48: Opening at Midtown of B.P.’s [Betty Parsons’s] gallery. All the historical acquaintances, pals of my pals of my twenty-first yr. Age has sagged a chin line, silvered a golden head, stamped its uniform signature of tiredness on a dozen faces. I feel of Proust, re-seeing the Guermantes clan in the final chapter of “À la Recherche du Temps Perdu.”

“Your favorite scene where he tramples the town’s small business is coming up, sir.”

Cartoon by Frank Cotham

december 6, 1948: First day at Bloomingdale’s. Training, and in the toy [department]. Very happy.

december 7, 1948: Hard work. Selling dolls, how ugly and costly! And then—at 5 p.m., somebody stole my meat for dinner! What type of wolves one works with!

december 8, 1948: Was this the day I noticed Mrs. E. R. Senn? How we checked out one another—this intelligent-looking girl! I wish to ship her a Christmas card, and am planning what I’ll write on it.

april 23, 1949: How a lot I resent about Marc lately—his by no means doing something however studying when he’s right here, whereas I try and play data, repair drinks, watch meat & canapés in the oven, concurrently repair dinner, wash dishes, do the mattress (and disgusting diaphragm) and, in the morning, put together breakfast. He hasn’t the specific sensitivity to appreciate that a individual in the rest room doesn’t want one other individual sitting at the desk simply outdoors the door. These and a thousand issues disturb my digestion, banish the beneficial properties made at different occasions.

could 7, 1949: [The fashion designer and painter] Mme. [Elizabeth] Lyne’s occasion tonight. The occasion a fiasco, as a result of expensive Marc thought two boys had been making passes at him. I bought my coat and left. Wish I’d stayed on or advised him off—one or the different, for I got here house in a silent, pent fury.

could 8, 1949: Very depressed from final night time. “You’d better make up your mind whom you love,” mentioned Ann, “because you’re wasting a hell of a lot of valuable time . . . irrevocable time.” I really feel she refers to my lack of achievement in my work, my age, and so on., and all of it overwhelmed me. Moreover, I really feel actually disadvantaged of one thing, now that I can not fall in love with anybody. However, it takes solely a lunch with Dione (and even a good drawing) and laughter to make me really feel, and know I’m, happier now, having fun with life extra now, than ever earlier than. Such a reality permits me to bear a nice deal—even the thought of going away with Marc. Though, truly, Saturday night time dissuaded me from that. I cannot be imprisoned so.

could 20, 1949: A gloomy, uneventful day, till Margot [Johnson, Highsmith’s agent] knowledgeable me that Harpers desires my guide! Everything occurs without delay! After all these months of plodding dullness, the guide and Europe. And—so I requested Marc to return over for dinner. He introduced champagne. And we determined to marry Christmas Day. Three excessive factors of my life—positively!

june 4, 1949: Rosalind [Constable, a friend and a writer], Marc, my mom noticed me off. A quick farewell, for the cabin shouldn’t be engaging (D deck!) and the Queen sailed promptly. I couldn’t see any of them from the deck. Who is with me most? Ann. I feel of her pondering of me as we speak. Everything a madhouse. One will get misplaced dozens of occasions a day. The meals are thrown at one, then snatched away. No one engaging in vacationer class, and we’re very successfully barred from fraternizing with the different two.

6/7/49: I’m curious as to that half of the thoughts which psychology (which denies the soul) can not discover, or assist, or assuage, a lot much less banish—specifically, the soul. I’m curious as to the soul’s dissatisfactions, that ever unhappy portion of man, which might ever be one thing else, not essentially higher, however one thing else, not essentially richer, extra comfy, and even happier, however one thing else. It is that this I wish to write about subsequent.

june 11, 1949: A pleasant first-class carriage trip from Southampton to London, the place each Dennis [Cohen, Highsmith’s future U.K. publisher] & Kathryn [Cohen’s wife] met me at Waterloo Station. Dennis in a Rolls-Royce. And a lovely home to return house to—a Siamese cat, a very good lunch with Riesling. Kathryn is charming!

june 17, 1949: With Kathryn to Stratford. Poor Kathryn—she unburdens her coronary heart to me, I belief, about Dennis. She has cash to play with, however ardour—she can not spend at the second, and he or she has a treasure of that. A rushed chew of dinner at the Avon [Hotel], and to “Othello” with Diana Wynyard as Desdemona, John Slater as Iago, Geoffrey Tearle as Othello.

june 20, 1949: London. Increasingly I should be drugged to be artistic. Whether that is a stage, whether or not it’s flawed (it’s momentarily flawed) is the nice drawback. The worst letter from Ann. She writes me nearly day by day. “Why do you write to me. If you loved me, we should live together & there would be no question. It has been almost a year . . . I cannot keep the light touch much longer.” And from Marc, the first letter. Rather cool, in any other case all proper. I really feel so tenderly towards him. But which is I???? Extremely drained. I develop ever thinner.

6/20/49: There should be violence, to fulfill me, and subsequently drama & suspense. These are my rules.

june 22, 1949: Today eventually a grand resolution. It is inconceivable to suppose of marrying Marc—a sacrilege. I desire Ann. But as but I can not belief my feelings sufficient to consider I like her sufficient. Perhaps that may come—instantly—for her. But I do know I’d solely harm Marc and myself by marrying him.

[no date] How I miss the lengthy talks with Kathryn. What issues undergo my head. What a charming girl is she. And the pity. The unjustness. The male kind with out context: all over the place. Dennis incapable of loving her. How alive she nonetheless is. How worthy of adoration. What a lovely instrument to play on! What songs may she sing! How proud may she make her lover! I come to Paris pondering of the unusual kiss she gave me the night time earlier than I left, the approach she held me shut and wouldn’t let me go. And why? And why? And why was I not bolder? How a few years since somebody had kissed her—a modest kiss, however one with actuality—as I did that night time? I ought to have favored to carry her in my arms all night time, to offer her the feeling of being liked and desired, as a result of the feeling is extra essential than the deed.

july 18, 1949: I wrote to Marc—lastly—severing every thing, telling him I’m certain I can’t be to him what I ought to.

7/29/49: Europe for the first time at twenty-eight: it widens one’s pursuits once more, makes one numerous as at seventeen. This closing up! I hate it. It grows on one slowly from nineteen onward, as S. [Samuel] Johnson mentioned.

august 23, 1949: Roma—a soiled city. All the males masturbating or one thing, staring with idiotic fixity at me. Wired Okay. final night time & she telephoned at 6 final night time. Wants to affix me in Naples. Was so joyful all of the sudden—a correct date with English-speaking pal—and what a individual—I purchased Cognac, wore my sweater from Florence. How fortunate I’m. Though struggling backache (?) and sore abdomen, I really feel like a god as I lie alone in my room, too sick, too frightened (bodily) of what would possibly occur in Rome, ought to I fall sick, to maneuver out. Out lastly to eat a beefsteak & nothing else. Had had nothing however 2 omelets for two days. Forgive meals particulars, expensive diary, however they grow to be life particulars, maybe. Kathryn will be a part of me Friday. I spin out the days in Rome till then, subsequently, hating it.

september 8, 1949: I needed to embrace and kiss Kathryn. Depression—for what? I’m not in love along with her, solely afraid to indicate the least spontaneity in my feelings. Always afraid? Always afraid—not likely of offending—however of being offended by another person’s rejection. With her, I can solely suppose of my unhealthy factors, my untidy hair, unhealthy tooth, my untidy sneakers, maybe. We depart tonight for Palermo. The boat is gorgeous. Suddenly we each purr like kittens, responding to the cleanliness, the good service, above all the leaving of Naples, the change forward. Okay. will stick with me till I am going, then return to Rotterdam, lastly to London the place—every thing hellish awaits her—

september 21, 1949: To the Grotta Azzurra with Okay. Very cluttered with rowboats, so definitely 50% of the gentle was obscured. What a disgrace. Caught the 4:10 bus again to Napoli. Then the parting. And the dashing. Grapes. And a final dinner with Okay. I in my white go well with, which I’d needed to put on the first night along with her. We dined—indifferently—at the vine balcony restaurant of our first lunch. Okay. typically holds me, appears to be like earnestly into my face, and kisses me on the lips. What does she want me to say additional? (I’ve mentioned nothing.) She doesn’t want something. But mightn’t I? Plans—does Okay. need them? I do know it’s I who are not looking for them. That Okay. may extra simply bear than I may say, I shall come to London subsequent yr and we will reside collectively. No, I don’t know what I need. With excellent equanimity, I can ponder nothing however transient affairs—promiscuous ones—in N.Y. And but I hope for a jolt (of time, in time) to crystallize my needs. I lengthy to jot down, and dream of its popping out simply as a spider’s net. Now I do know why I maintain a diary. I’m not at peace till I proceed the thread into the current. I’m excited about analyzing myself, in making an attempt to find the the reason why I do such & such. I can not do that with out dropping dried peas behind me to assist me retrace my course, to level a straight line in the darkness.

october 2, 1949: Does Okay. suppose of me on this lengthy silence? I do know she does. We have a unusual psychic communication, we two. I started my novel, “Argument of Tantalus” [later titled “The Price of Salt”]. Seven or eight pages that went together with that ease and fluency (of vocabulary) that usually means nothing a lot want be modified later. Naturally, I’m very joyful as we speak. The happiest since leaving Kathryn.

october 5, 1949: Page 28 of “Tantalus.” I’ve no clear element of what occurs as soon as Therese meets Carol. But it goes romping alongside, a lot as I do. All is my very own response to issues—with solely, at the extremes, some extensions to comply with extra intently the attitudes of my predominant character. The sea is rolling relatively closely tonight. Could stay awake till 2 a.m.

october 9, 1949: Have by no means felt such outpouring of myself—in all kinds of writing. A nice gush. I wish to get this guide out of me in the shortest attainable time, not even stopping to earn a bit of cash.

october 19, 1949: Marc referred to as yesterday, to my shock. We had drinks and dinner tonight, says he nonetheless feels the similar, nonetheless talks of marriage, “not in two years or even more, but you’re still the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.” Marc stayed the night time, making an attempt to please me, however being too self-effacing even.

october 22, 1949: Date with Marc. Went to dinner—unhealthy at Le Moal’s—and film. He stayed. I used to be excessively drained, after which (in reality, except I’m drunk) he’s a lot lifeless weight in my mattress. Oh Christ, I need Kathryn in my mattress! I belief her. I like the reality she is older than me. I feel she is gorgeous and clever. I had one other letter from her. More affectionate, I’d say, extra half mentioned, than the different.

november 6, 1949: Typed nearly all my [story] “Instantly and Forever” as we speak. All I can say is, I’ve seen such issues printed. Marc got here up with a title [for the first novel] this morning. “Strangers on a Train.” I prefer it very a lot & hope they do. God bless him. He helps me a lot. Am very grateful.

november 11, 1949: Lunch with Harpers. Joan Kahn & Mr. Sheehan, an editor, junior, who says he likes my guide tremendously, thinks it’s great. (Later spoke with Mme. Lyne, who mentioned Sheehan dropped in, raved about the guide, with out figuring out she knew me.) Kahn: Will permit me to complete “Tantalus” with out exhibiting even a piece of it. And some cash may be organized, too. Wants McCullers, and so on., to learn “Strangers” and remark for jacket.

november 23, 1949: Thanksgiving morn: 2:45 a.m. No letter from Kathryn. She doesn’t love me. I had my probability, and I muffed it. (Will that be engraved upon my tombstone?) There is nothing in the world I need a lot at this second as a phrase from her. A new phrase. One can not go on without end rereading the similar letter. I’m sick, and ravenous, from residing on what one at all times lives on. Hope. The future that by no means comes, as a result of one by no means makes it. That is, I don’t. I have to inform her that I like her. I need her. I’m hers. I need solely to be along with her. I have to ask her, does she need it, too.

11/23/49: Continually I toy with my “if—ifs.” For occasion, if my expertise must be shut off now, sexually, emotionally (not intellectually), however mundanely, virtually, I really feel I ought to have sufficient. I’ve stretched an hour into eternity. It is all inside me. I’ve however to attract upon it. I’ve not been to sea for a lot of months, however neither have I been immured. And but I do know, as I write this, that in a week I shall condemn it as sterile, decadent, merely silly. Thank God, I’m not the single individual, not even worshipping the Intellect and the Soul with single thoughts, like Melville! For Melville turned insane, and I shall not. This afternoon in Hastings [New York], I raked leaves, in the solar and the air and the smoke. And I liked my love with all my coronary heart. Therefore, I felt and I knew that I used to be not completely the priggish individual I had been half an hour earlier than, immersed in Melville’s “Pierre” and following his vagaries of soul with the most personally concerned fascination. Therefore, I do know I shall not ever go mad. Which is one of the issues for which I give thanks this Thanksgiving Day.

“Is it possible you made the appointment under another name—like, say, Handsome Prince?”

Cartoon by Michael Maslin

november 26, 1949: Another letter from Kathryn. The first in two weeks, however nicely [worth] ready for. It transforms every thing. She misses me. It was a very intimate letter. I’ve by no means been so joyful in my life. I have to actually relaxation a whereas every day, lest I drop lifeless with the absurd ailment of Euphoria. Not that I’m excited. I’m calm, serene, my focus is even good. But I’m blessed, and I do know it. All these years of repression, sacrifice, disillusionment, frustration have come to be of worth, for they assist me to measure my excessive happiness now.

november 26, 1949: Lyne informs me Sheehan of Harpers was mainly fascinated by my guide’s [“Strangers on a Train” ’s] “homosexual theme” and presumably material. I used to be astounded, a little disturbed. Felt great this night, going downtown after one Martini right here, my pinstripe go well with. I desire my hair straight. Frightfully, dangerously drained after I went to mattress at 4 a.m. I’m at all times afraid of dropping lifeless, of course.

december 8, 1949: I learn my notebooks all night. A actual thesaurus! I lay nearer plans of “Tantalus.” I consider it’ll go nicely. I have to not be too free, that’s all! I’m joyful tonight. And if I don’t have a letter from Okay. tomorrow, the fourteenth day? I shall be dissatisfied, sorry, however not sad. For betrayal of religion and belief is the very theme of “Tantalus,” which tomorrow I hope to start to jot down as soon as extra.

december 10, 1949: Worked. How nicely all of it goes. How grateful I’m eventually not—as Lil says—to spoil my finest thematic materials by transposing it to a false male-female relationship!

1/10/50: Loneliness. Not a mysterious visitation, not a illness. It relies upon what one has been doing final, what one will do subsequent, whether or not it comes or not. This has nothing to do with “distraction,” both. I imply loneliness has to do with the psyche’s rhythm alone. Distraction by no means retains loneliness [at bay], of course. I honor loneliness: it’s austere, proud, untouchable, besides by what it will be touched by. Melancholy on the different hand can rapidly be touched by distraction. For it’s a extra logical factor. (And I may also see myself writing the very reverse of all this someday.)

1/10/50: A notice on listening to “America.” From sea to shining sea. The many small cities I’ve pushed via. The many lighted home windows on the second flooring of small properties, the place younger ladies stand brushing their golden hair. The homes sure individuals name house. The rooms which might be sure individuals’s personal rooms, unforgettable. And maybe the rooms they may have all their lives. And the shaded window with the crimson cross over the sill, that I handed each morning on the strategy to highschool in Ft. Worth. The bread they eat, and the boyfriends who name them, the automobiles they drive to hamburger stands in, the summer time evenings when the boys are house from faculties, and the betrothals are made. The kids which might be born to guide the similar easy lives externally. And, at all times, the loneliness, the unhappy striving that’s under the floor, a lot or little under. The lady who’s unhappy, and but has not the vitality or maybe the braveness to flee. She desires of one thing higher, one thing totally different, one thing that may problem and expend the aspiration that she feels clamoring inside her, that can’t be glad by the males she meets, the shops she buys her garments at, the motion pictures she desires in, even the meals she eats.

january 13, 1950: Bad luck. I owe the authorities $122, which I received’t pay. Margot says that I’ve to proceed working for the comics trade for a number of months not less than. Well, then, I shall do this. At least I don’t have a hangover this morning. Ann got here to see me. She’s not going to Europe this summer time. Ann is simply too slim, not as engaging as earlier than. My God, what number of girls do I need?

january 19, 1950: My birthday. 29. Work—I believed that the comics could be stimulating now. Unfortunately not. However, the checks will likely be. But the tales—! With the household tonight. Martinis, good French wine, presents. And a examine over $20 for a macintosh. Couldn’t sleep tonight. I feel of Lyne—who tickles my curiosity, that’s all. And I used to be additionally excited about my life. I must be writing now. I can not presumably justify these two months I plan to work on comics. I don’t get any youthful.

1/25/50: Education. How we must always love these years of formal schooling, particularly in the college. To the reflective individual, it’s the final time he’ll keep in mind that the world made sense, the world promised to proceed to make sense. It is the solely time when all he’s crammed and anxious with actually considerations life. No marvel he’s joyful! No marvel every day is heroic journey! No marvel he doesn’t wish to go to mattress at night time!

1/26/50: Insanity. When one has glimpses of it, it isn’t in the kind of random irrational ideas, however as the complete construction of one’s info slipping. It is as if the crust of the complete world slips a bit, in order that one simply imagines the North Pole at the South Pole someday.

february 1, 1950: Thus, I am going via life, subsisting on one drug or one other.

2/2/50: I do certainly develop drained and depressed by realism in literature—particularly à la O’Hara, and even à la Steinbeck. I need a full new world. Painters are doing it. Why not writers? I don’t imply the pixie-like fantasy of Robert Nathan. I imply a new world that’s without delay not actual, and without delay fascinating and full of message, that’s artwork, too, as merely, timelessly, and unrealistically as the finest of the cave dwellers’ wall work.

february 9, 1950: Margot likes “Tantalus.” What extra can I say? I’m alive as soon as extra. I’m in love with Kathryn. I’m an angel, a satan, a genius. I should have nothing extra to do with Lyne, who won’t grant me her mattress, as merely and partially as I ought to take it. (Idiot, she is!) I like Kathryn. My eyes are on the stars and past. My spirit wanders in the galaxies, and beneath the oceans. My breath is in the coming spring winds. My fertility is in the dry, residing seeds as but unplanted. My meals is my love itself, higher than any feast! The body of my life is the body of my work. Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

2/27/50: The complete sample of my life has been and is: She has rejected me. The solely factor I can say for myself at the age of twenty-nine, that huge age, is that I can face it. I can meet it head on. I can survive. I may even fight it. It won’t knock me down once more, a lot much less knock me out. In reality, I’ve discovered to reject first. The essential factor is to apply this. That my limping crutches should not educated to do. Ah, how insignificant all of it is! And how important! To yet one more love, goodbye. Adieu. But no— God won’t be with you, not you. But fare thee nicely, all the similar. God is aware of, I maintain thee excessive.

march 28, 1950: Lyne advised Marc all I want[ed] was a man to “make me feel like a woman.” Her traditional, refreshing tack, and to hell with Freud, and even previous historical past. Pat’s not queer, Lyne says. She’s bought this flawed. Spent night time with Marc. I’m simpler with him, however a lot revolt left, I can really feel. And if Kathryn writes me favorably? I envisage 2 months now with Marc, after I shall write my guide, adopted by film cash, Europe, and I hope Kathryn. If I had been to do what I really feel like doing, it will be Kathryn & Europe, and never these 2 months (up to now as pleasure goes) with Marc even. Feel like a girl? He makes me really feel like a male pervert, a sailor in the Navy, a naughty little boy at college. He has a knack of not figuring out what I need.

4/2/50: A notice after rereading all my notebooks—relatively, glancing via all of them, for who may presumably learn them? Impressed solely by the vary of curiosity, the horrible striving in all instructions. Depressed by the monotonous notice of despair, and the affinity of melancholy. Impressed very hardly ever by cleverness, by poetry. But generally, I feel, by an occasional good perception. A few usable issues in literature. But this I have to say: the sackcloth ashes age has handed. The adolescent aloneness (reluctance to affix with humanity) has handed. So melancholy now, on the lonely grey seas, is tempered with sight of shore. I’ve my pals. More than that I’ve Life, and know how you can restore to it always, beneath any circumstances. Things which as soon as had been so bewildering and sophisticated, marriage and intercourse, for instance, should not so now. They have been torn down a bit. Become extra lovable, in reality. I have to get all of it to move. To let it dam up until it’s an unbearable drive, that must be knocked out by liquor and dissipation to tire the physique. In quick—as I’ve ivy-towerishly preached since adolescence—I have to study to seek out life in my work, residing there, with its dramas, hardships, pleasures, and rewards. For I’ve yet one more lengthy highway to go, earlier than I can discover in one other individual these appropriate parts, which can allow all this to move. I’ve merely discovered, up to now, to keep away from these individuals who would cease it.

april 3, 1950: Margot bought my guide [“Strangers on a Train”] to Hitchcock for $6,000 + $1,500 for Hollywood work or not at time of filming—6-9 months therefore. Celebrated wildly with Lyne (broke date with Jeanne). Then referred to as Ann at 3 a.m. & was stupidly inveigled into inviting her right here. Dismal, and I really feel it’s the final time.

april 7, 1950: Hysterical, as a result of Lyne made me wait an hour for her. I’ve a chilly & fever, however that’s small excuse. The level is, the sample resumes. The level is, I’ve a probability out of it now (a bit of cash), and my imprisoned soul (in such unhealthy form that an A.S.P.C.A. would have guillotined me years in the past, had they identified, and God himself should be wishing, o profoundly wishing, he hadn’t made such a creature or let such a creature be made). How about the insect in the nation brook, born to reside 30 seconds as a consequence of pure enemy residing in the proximity? I feel such a creature even could be thought of happier. At any fee, drunk and sober tonight, I really feel myself approaching the finish of phoniness. I’ve lived as a phony too lengthy. The trustworthy cash in my pocket is crying out towards it. What do I cry? What is the cry of my soul? Kathryn. (Result of ready for Lyne 45 minutes, plus 102 fever, plus awful dinner in a nightclub, + 3½ Martinis + a crying jag.)

april 17, 1950: I’ve borne heavier crosses than Kathryn. The letter got here as we speak (written Thursday April 13) and it isn’t good, I suppose. She is extremely burdened with all types of issues simply now. “I have to learn to walk alone,” she wrote, “before I’ll be of any use to myself or to anyone else.” And that she wish to see me at any time when attainable. What ever stays however pals?

Marc bought my unfavourable letter as we speak, too. Thus we each get it in the neck the similar day.

april 20, 1950: [Port Jefferson] One inconvenience after one other. No gasoline. Parents left at midday, and I sat huddled by a fireplace the relaxation of the chill, wet day, studying Greene’s “The Man Within.” How good it’s. How like Kathryn is Elizabeth. And Andrews like me in my most cowardly, indecisive moments. (My cowardice, if any, lies in indecision alone.) I wept at the finish. Real tears, à la “David Copperfield” after I was a youngster, tears now as a result of I’m grown up, and so are these individuals.

could 3, 1950: Ah, life may be lovely. Chapter Nine completed. P. 111. And the subsequent chapter deliberate at the second. Symbolism popping out superb. I’ve my sloppy shirt-paper notes pinned beside my desk. I’d go all day with out chatting with anybody right here, besides maybe for my mail.

could 4, 1950: This is such a painful novel I’m doing. I’m recording my very own beginning. My 8-page stint is typically agony. So far, usually, I really feel joyful at night time, nevertheless, after the pages are completed.

5/4/50: To hell with the psychoanalyst’s explanations of Dostoyevsky’s playing as sexual launch. Dostoyevsky needed to destroy himself, to expertise his personal destruction. Purge of the soul! Dostoyevsky knew. Touch backside earlier than you possibly can thrust to the heights! Touch backside, certainly, merely for the sake of figuring out backside. I do know all this so nicely, I really feel it, I enact it, too.

could 5, 1950: A letter from Kathryn. A good one. Very good. She favored my postcards, letters, congratulates me on the film. “You are neither an irrit[ation] or a distraction, but someone whom I feel very close . . .” Excoriating letter from Marc, telling me I cling to my disgusting, childish sicknesses like a little lady clings to a doll, ending “and let’s get married.”

5/6/50: This received’t come once more (some issues I do know, as I knew after I was twenty-three, and twenty-one, that the similar sensations can’t be reduplicated as a result of of the very age factor), the sheeplike clouds on a nice night in May, with the citadel close by, all black and darkish and large, the place I shall work alone. And whereas my pals are leaving in the automobile. It is all nice, I welcome it, and I’m not afraid, and but love goes with them, the human voice, the contact of the flesh in any respect, and the chance of one thing failing, some little factor, whereas the group goes out to get into the automobile, whereas one or all of us search for a place which sells newspapers after ten o’clock in the night. No, this won’t come once more, I standing in the darkish driveway, lighting a cigarette to consolation me, whereas the car purrs away in the darkness. I staring to a totally different world and one which I like higher. Living life I do distrust, however pals and lovers one has at all times. One has at all times, not less than, the remembrance of how the lovers had been, which certainly is not any totally different from the approach the pals are. For I do undertaking into pals the imaginative virtues, capabilities, which I undertaking into lovers. Both are created. And a man does love by an phantasm.

5/17/50: Writing, of course, is a substitute for the life I can not reside, am unable to reside. All life, to me, is a seek for the balanced weight-reduction plan, which doesn’t exist. For me. Alas, I’m twenty-nine, and I can not stand greater than 5 days of the life I’ve invented as the most superb.

could 23, 1950: In a burst of confidence, I confirmed Ethel [Sturtevant, who was Highsmith’s creative-writing instructor at Barnard] chapter six, during which Carol seems, picks up Therese. “But this is love!” Ethel exclaimed upon studying half of the first web page. I admitted it was one thing like that however in later dialogue mentioned T. had a schoolgirl crush, needed again to the womb relationship, which Ethel mentioned was borne out by the milk episode, however not of their assembly. “That’s a sexual awakening. Your genius ran away with you here . . . Now this packs a wallop! This is an excellent piece of writing, Pat.”

5/28/50: I’ve simply heard a outstanding fashionable music referred to as “Let’s go to church on Sunday (we’ll meet a friend on the way)” [“Let’s Go to Church (Next Sunday Morning),” performed by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely]. They will meet a pal on the approach. Next Saturday night time, the younger man will maintain up a sweet retailer and the lady will sleep with the man who will necessitate an abortion. These two will marry in lower than a yr and produce 5 extra Catholics. They will vote in the Catholic senators and boycott the finest artists and writers. They will present sons for the subsequent warfare and dedicate the subsequent superwar mondial to the unknown soldier. They will forestall individuals from parking on their block and they’ll flip the stomachs of the relaxation of us once they seem in bathing fits on public seashores. They will probably be honored as a result of they keep it up the race. But they won’t be the individuals by whom this century will probably be identified.

Cartoon by Mort Gerberg

could 31, 1950: Went to Wanamaker’s on luxurious woman of leisure purchasing tour, & picked up maps from R.C.A. for Carol & Therese’s journey. I reside so utterly with them now, I don’t even suppose I can ponder an amour.

6/6/50: Today I fell head over heels in love with my Carol. What finer factor can there be however to fling the sharpest level of my energy into her creation day after day? And at night time, be exhausted. I wish to spend all my time, all my evenings along with her. I wish to be trustworthy to her. How can I be in any other case?

june 14, 1950: Carol has mentioned no now. Oh God, how this story emerges from my very own bones! The tragedy, the tears, the infinite grief which is unavailing! I noticed Marc for a beer. Very indifferent, unreal feeling tonight.

6/16/50: (One day earlier than ending my second novel.)

I’ve discovered the commerce of writing relatively late. I’m later nonetheless studying the artwork of life. I got here house and solely occurred to look into Emily Dickinson, and was reminded afresh of that poor girl’s (and wealthy poet’s) destiny of loving a man she noticed so briefly—and of what she made of it, of what she gave the world and herself in magnificence.

june 30, 1950: Today, feeling fairly odd—like a assassin in a novel, I boarded the prepare for Ridgewood, New Jersey. It shook me bodily, and left me limp. Had she [Mrs. E. R. Senn] ever taken the similar prepare? (I doubt it. She’d use a automobile.) Was compelled to drink two ryes earlier than I took the 92 bus, the flawed one, towards Murray Ave. I requested the driver, and all of the sudden, to my dismay and horror, I heard the complete bus shouting “Murray Avenue?”—and giving me instructions! Murray Avenue is a comparatively small lane going into thickly wooded land, on one facet of Godwin Avenue. There is a constructing on the left, a huge, quiet, superb home on the proper, the place two automobiles stood, and ladies sat on the porch, speaking. The quantity was 345—and I pushed on, seeing 39—on the subsequent home, and pondering the numbers had been going the flawed approach, for hers is 315. Besides the road was so residential, there have been no sidewalks, and I used to be a conspicuous determine. I dared not go any additional up the avenue the place the timber grew nearer and nearer, and hers may need been the solely remaining home (I caught no glimpse of it!) and the place she simply may need been on the garden or porch, and I may need betrayed myself with halting too abruptly. I walked on the reverse avenue, which was not even referred to as Murray. (And felt safer as a result of it was not hers.) And then as I got here again to Godwin a pale aqua car was popping out of Murray Avenue, pushed by a girl with darkish glasses and quick blond hair, alone, and I feel in a pale blue or aqua costume with quick sleeves. Might she have glanced at me? O time, thou artwork unusual! My coronary heart leapt, however not very excessive. She had hair that blew wider about her head. O Christ, what can I keep in mind from that encounter of two or three minutes a yr and a half in the past. Ridgewood is so distant! When shall I ever see her in New York once more? Shall I am going to a occasion one night and discover her there?

7/1/50: I’m excited about the assassin’s psychology, and in addition in the opposing planes, drives of good and evil (development and destruction). How by a slight defection one may be made the different, and all the energy of a sturdy thoughts and physique be deflected to homicide or destruction! It is just fascinating!

And to do that primarily, once more, as leisure. How even perhaps love, by having its head persistently bruised, can grow to be hate. For the curious factor yesterday I felt fairly near homicide, too, as I went to see the home of the girl who nearly made me love her after I noticed her a second in December, 1948. Murder is a type of making love, a type of possessing. (Is it not consideration, for a second, from the object of one’s affections?) To arrest her all of the sudden, my arms up on her throat (which I ought to actually wish to kiss) as if I took a {photograph}, to make her immediately cool and inflexible as a statue. And yesterday, individuals stared at me curiously wherever I went, in the trains, the bus, on the sidewalk. I believed, does it present in my face? But I felt very calm and composed. And certainly, at a gesture from the girl I sought, I ought to have cringed and retreated.

7/21/50: The night time. I dream of earthquakes, the earth shaking and tipping out the window, whereas the home stands nonetheless! One half awakens—greater than half!—sits up in mattress with the dream clinging closely to the edges of one’s mind, tipping the complete mind like a home itself, caught in an earthquake. I name out somebody’s identify, as a result of I don’t know what mattress I’m in, or what home. I see and listen to myself doing it, figuring out I’m each asleep and awake, and the limbo is horrible! I stroll into the kitchen, pondering of getting some sizzling water and milk to drink, however my mind grasps even this straightforward concept like the clumsy arms of a primitive monster. And the primitive monster is myself. I chew voraciously at a half-eaten chop which I actually are not looking for, and put it down once more. The earth shakes, and I doubt even gravity. I’m all of the sudden anyone else, one other creature I have no idea. (I do know, although, that I lived a hundred million years in the past.)

9/22/50: Of my guide, in conclusion, two weeks earlier than ending the rewrite: this isn’t a image of the writer sweating. The bookstores at this second occur to be glutted with tracts excusing and apologizing for homosexuality, depicting their very rugged male heroes writhing with heterosexual disgust as they attempt to throw off the hideous coils that bind them, whereas in the final scene their beloved is with out purpose killed, lest anyone in the Bible Belt despise the reality they might proceed residing collectively in a cohabitation he has been hammered into countenancing, however which can bitter in his thoughts a week later. This is the story of a girl weak as a result of of social weaknesses in her society, having nothing to do with perversion. And a lady starved for a mom, in whom the synthetic upbringing of an orphanage’s house, nevertheless scientific, has not sufficed as parental love. It is simply a story that may have occurred, with no axe to grind.

october 12, 1950: In livid temper. Walked furiously up 2nd Avenue. And at 4 p.m. bought the curse! First time since finish of May or June. Because I completed my guide as we speak, too, maybe. A good writing streak, with the finish during which Therese doesn’t return with Carol—however refuses her, and is alone at the final. Shall present M.J. [Margot Johnson] each variations, and am certain she is going to desire the “lift” ending during which T. & C. return collectively. In the course of the night bought horribly blind drunk! Blackouts and every thing else. Including spending all the cash in my pockets. Lyne finally poured me into a taxi at 3 a.m.

october 18, 1950: Walter [Marlowe, a friend and a writer] & I mentioned my guide. I advised him I didn’t thoughts shelving it for 5 years. He all of the sudden agreed, and mentioned Sheehan advised him—“I’m glad Pat tackles a subject like this, because it’s something she really knows about, but for her career I think it’s very bad.” To get a label. And I’ve already one as a thriller story author!

october 19, 1950: So that’s the huge information—I shall attempt to persuade Margot J. that the guide shouldn’t be printed now. And she is going to likely argue in any other case. Everyone will. But it’s my profession, my life.

10/20/50: Now, now, now, to fall in love with my guide—this similar day I’ve determined to not publish it, not for an indefinite size of time. But I shall proceed to work on it for some weeks to return, to shine and excellent it. I shall fall in love with it now, in a totally different approach from the approach I liked it earlier than. This love is infinite, disinterested, unselfish, impersonal even.

october 29, 1950: Margot has completed my guide. “I’m very pleased, Pat,” however not with an excessive amount of enthusiasm, I believed. “What do you think of getting it published under another name?” she requested. I don’t thoughts. Temporary, partial aid from disgrace. We should get the opinions of a number of “independent readers.”

december 21, 1950: What shall I write about subsequent, I feel right here on this diary the place I feel aloud. O extra positively than ever this twenty ninth yr, this third yr and I at all times change on the thirds, has seen a lot metamorphosis. It will come to me. My love of life grows stronger each month. My powers of recuperation are splendidly swift and elastic. I feel of writing a startler, a actual shocker in the psychological thriller line. I may do it adeptly. ♦

(Diary entries are dated in lengthy kind, pocket book entries numerically. A few entries right here had been written or partly written in French or German and had been translated by Sophie Duvernoy and Elisabeth Lauffer.)

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