THE DIARIES OF PAUL K LYONS
I have written diary entries regularly since 1974. For a short while, when I was travelling, in 1974 and 1975, I tried to write an entry every day. For most of my life, however, I’ve written more freely, reflecting in retrospect on my actions and behaviour and thoughts, on average, over the years, probably about twice a week. From 1973 until 1987, I kept hand-written journals, usually in hard-back books. Over time I have transcribed these onto a computer. Since 1989, I've written most of my entries directly onto a computer. I do still hand-write journals sometimes, when on holiday abroad.
Each published file here relates to a particular month. Although these files are edited (and reduced), I am not making any changes to the originals, other than to remove errors, and make the text more accessible and/or readable. It’s not unusual for me to be asked why I net-publish my diaries. The obvious answer would be that I, like most writers, want to be read (even though, of course, my diaries were never written to be read, or with an audience in mind). I do wish to make it clear, though, that I am not net-publishing because I think my diaries are good writing or valuable in a literary way. Thirty years ago my writing was poor and immature (it took me several attempts to pass English Language O-level).
In fact, I hope my writing has developed over the decades, and I do not wish to disregard or disguise this development. On the contrary, one of the main reasons for publishing these diary entries is to demonstrate and reveal change, whether this is through the writing itself, or, much more broadly, through what I have to say about my own life, and how I've coped with the physical, emotional and psychological trials and joys of being alive, of being a conscious human being.
Paul K. Lyons (September 2007)
It is nearly 10 years since I first published some of my diaries online - covering the years 1974 to 1985. At the time, I stated that my published diaries, here on the Pikle website, were reduced and only edited for corrections or readability. But, I did not explain why parts of the diary were edited out altogether.
Consideration of other people’s privacy, of course, was one motive for cutting text, though by using pseudonyms and initials I kept more in than I might have done otherwise. One specific area of concern was my writing about intimate matters. Guided by the fact that I, personally, like to read about other people’s private lives, and have always much admired the diaries of Anais Nin, for example, I tried to include as much of what I wrote about love and sex as I felt comfortable with. But there is, inevitably, much I left out. I cut material that I felt was too dull, too self-absorbed, too off-the-wall to make any sense; and, though I tried very hard not to delete writing that made me out to be arrogant, childish, foolish, uncaring, etc., I did not always succeed.
Ten years on, the difficulties with publishing anything about the next chronological period of my life were daunting. This was for the simple reason that I became a father, and so there is much in my diary about my son (Adam), about my relationship with him, and with his mother (Barbara or B). While there is little that I personally would be unwilling to publish, there is much, I imagine, which would be considered private by the others involved. Over the years I have had various conversations with both Adam and Barbara about making my diaries public, and neither of them like the idea, and I have no problem understanding their points of view.
Thus, in taking the decision to make public my diaries from this point on, i.e. from 1986, I have edited them with due consideration for the feelings of my family - which is not to say I have left them out, for without them nothing would make sense. Being a father to my children (as I write this I have a new family and two young boys) has been such an enormous privilege and such a great joy I cannot imagine what would have become of me without them.
Paul K. Lyons (April 2015)