PAUL K LYONS
JOURNAL - 1980 - OCTOBER
Tuesday 2 October
Now feels like a good time to write introspectively, despite the fact that Peter may come home wearing his hard smile and his ragged clothes of sarcasm; despite the fact that the sun is shining brilliantly through the kitchen windows of 21 Iverson Road. I lay my book on the mirror table, my legs crossed under it covered in woollen dancing tights. Trains run by every few minutes, and there is always the clatter from the garages nearby.
Peter is on my mind. How some people live a show. In advance of a dinner party, he buys up Safeway and cleans the flat; but for months previously he'll neither hoover or wash his socks. Human nature constantly surprises me.
What happens to the man who lives by a philosophy and discovers not only that it is wrong but that he cannot change it either. Bit like walking around for the rest of a life with the wrong size shoes.
I listened to such an ordinary play on the radio this afternoon that examined the problems facing an intelligent couple who are bringing up a child but want to continue their careers. It made me realise that what I write about is not very mainstream. Here am I living with virtually nil responsibility, no property, no wife, no child, thus I find it hard to compute the problems of everyday life. I don't have them. They all seem so petty to me. I simply haven't taken on the responsibility that would bring me face to face with such problems. But, perhaps the truth is I have foreseen the problems and unconsciously avoided them. This, unfortunately, also leaves me a strong sense of missing out. And it certainly means I cannot write with authority on everyday troubles. The nearest I got to it with a radio play was with 'Brittle Rhapsody'. 'Eddie's Eggies' was an examination of the fundamental vacuum in our lives, while 'The Vegetable Auction' (which is not even worth proof-reading) is about freedom. Radio wants stuff closer to home, it's not a medium for the innovative beginner.
I try to decide if I can afford to go to Ibiza this winter. David would view it as flight. Perhaps it would be. I, however, find it hard to completely give in to my paranoias about the future. Life is still for living and Ibiza would be a regeneration of sun, air, sea, nature and the sensual life as opposed to the mental life. Good contacts with people, especially women, are always made abroad, not in London. This is a fact worth considering. My social ineptitude is less evident on foreign soil. But going away for two monhts could make things too difficult for my return. That's the point, would David drop me? Perhaps I will go to Paris this weekend, and talk to Manu.
Saturday 4 October, Paris
I always seem to reread my own work when in Paris, old letters, poems, stories. I still find my old poems unusually surreal, without meaning, but interesting. This book draws to a close, par fin, at last, will this blackness, this is a black-covered book, that covers me finally lift.
Monday 6 October
It was a fine weekend in Paris - happy and content. I was protected in the circle of old friends. A night spent with Jan, sweet love. There is always some lack of communication with Jan, but it does not detract from the pleasure of touching and trusting each other. For me, after a month, it was a welcome hug and snuggle. Uncomplicated. Harold and I were more quiet than before. We did go out, but not too much. Manu wasn't there, so I doubt about Ibiza.
I am very conscious of nearly finishing this book. I'm aware that it charts the worst period within my memory, and that it must chart the profile of a neurotic child. It is time to start a new diary.
M wrote telling me about her role in a new production. She is very proud. Yesterday, Rosina rang, she is potting and sweet as ever. Jorge and Juan are here, tall and smelly within my rooms.
I watched a fascinating Horizon programme. It showed maggots eating a dead mouse, but speeded up. Instead of eating randomly, it appears that the maggots work together in order. They secrete fluid that helps to break down the protein, and, on the film, it looked like a jelly with a thousand moving maggots within it. The jelly moved from the head of the body to the tail. Only when just the skin and bones were left, did the maggots go their own way and mill around all over the body. Who would ever have thought that maggots work together like that.
DIARY 15: October 1980 - July 1981
18 October, Brighton
What contrasts are to be found within the space of an afternoon. First I find Peter embraced by his armchair, attempting to pull himself out of dark and deep depressions. He is small and humble and apologetic for his explosion of behaviour earlier in the year. He seems to have paid dearly for his splurge into racy dynamism. His room is a mess, quite characterless apart from poetry books that fill every corner. He is badly in debt but has been unable to go out into the world to work or face his fellow man. He looked well though and on the road to recovery. Next door, Fulvie is in her green room with postcards of impressionist paintings pinned up above the bed; rubber plants flourish more healthily than either of the flat's inhabitants. From her windows you can see the sea. She says she is going to begin a six-year course in fashion design. She has far to go.
Then from the pathos of their lives I go to see Annabel and Julek. Their house is a hive of ideas, buzzing buzzing buzzing between them and Julek's partner Alexis. They want to publish a book, go to California, work on a scale model of a patented drilling platform, do something with shoes, find millionaires to finance their schemes.
And from the buzzing back to my bicycle, through the cold and the dark and the night to my own reality. I pass files of choirboys and girls crossing the road - theirs is yet another world. I am always just the observer.
This is surely the winter of my discontent.
My head still works overtime, arranging, sorting, examining; it's full of self-analysis arising from self-doubt.
I listen to Handel's 'Water Music', and watch 'Doctor Who'.
I smoke some grass before sleeping, this relaxes my body well, and my mind takes to examining the way it works and the effect on itself. Thoughts take on a direction and I have the feeling that the direction is more wholly experienced, more fully covered. The brain is less anxious to skip from one subject to another, so, just as my body stays longer in one position relaxed, so my mind delays on one pattern.
Ros came visiting but didn't stay very long. And Harvey came the other night after I'd smoked. I wanted to tell him to go for it was difficult to be with him, to manage myself, as it always is for me with people when I've smoked. This annoys me. I am too self-conscious, too aware and naive about other's awareness. It upsets me that I cannot relax with people. I fear that I'll end up boasting about something. But that doesn't make sense, why should I be more tense than the next person?
I'm not sure I've got anything to say. Things still go down hill, down and down they go. I see myself becoming increasingly unstable, grabbing at anything that smells of hope but trying so hard not to hope. I can still fly, scream and dance, and even charm, but minutes later I am churning out the tears. I feel so hopeless. I need blinkers. I know why I need my niche, my rincon (corner) so badly - because from a corner one has limited visibility.
Paul K Lyons
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