Tuesday 3 February 1981

Creep, creep, creep. The insidious creeping of time. January is gone. Nothing changes. Nothing happens to me. I make nothing happen. I don't know how to. I remain very alone. I slept most of this afternoon, my mind tired and lax, not thinking about the story I should have been writing. I have no energy, no will, just a constant decline. Why is life so uphill, so wretchedly uphill.

Tonight I'm to interview three women as far away as the Battersea Arts Centre. Nervous. What will I ask them? Are they going to muck me about? Will I show my amateurishness? I do have so many things I should be working on. I don't have time to fall asleep in front of the fire.

The cleaning lady in the MORI building recognised me. That made me feel good. She is young and fat and black, and gave me such a wide smile.

5 February

It is difficult to stand up in the morning with any dignity. It is now a year that I have lived in this deplorably wretched manner. This morning I received a job application rejection, and a card from a girl friend confining me to lunchtime meetings (i.e. our dinner dates were fun but that was it). A morning of rejections.

14 February

Bel is here with her white skin and freckles. Vonny sends me an artist's card and Tish pretends to be the queen on an old postcard. Marielle rang last night while I did crossword puzzles at the Tricycle. The tape recorder lies in pieces on my bedroom floor. Patrick hasn't returned my bicycle.

Last week, I sent out application forms to Which, to Ilea (for a mathematics induction course, though I really don't believe I want to teach maths) and to the Oxford Star. This week I go into MORI twice, I work as a barman at the Tricycle Theatre three times a week. I spend a lot of time on an article about the Three Women group for Performance Magazine. Vonny and I go to the V&A.

I ought to knuckle down to some writing. I haven't done anything on Divine, Keith Douglas or Labyrinth - all that research I put into Labyrinth. I went to the Museum of Mankind to check out the latest Inca excavations in Peru.

19 February

Believe it or not I have six possible jobs in the air.

Candles by mirrors, Mike Westbrook playing, my room is very red tonight. I could wish it slightly warmer. The paraffin heater monopolises the centre of the floor but only trickles out heat. My knees are cold.

Clive and June become dependant on each other, but, as with most of my stuff, there is little tension, little actual happening. No action. To describe the development of a relationship is not the same as the development taking place in terms of action. Character in action. All my work is flat. Also with Divine I'm terribly muddled about from what angle I'm writing the story. One moment it's from Clive's point of view, and the next it's June's. It can't work. I think to write three different versions of the action, but in a way I feel that would be a cop out. As a matter of interest, Labyrinth has gone on the scrap heap. I worked and worked at it one morning and got nowhere. Finally, I had to say there is nothing there, and gave up.

I leave for New York on Saturday. Big Apple. M hasn't rung. Her mother says she has arrived in New York. Why hasn't she rung? I'm suppsed to meet her and her fiance there to be present at their wedding. Frederic rang on Sunday night just to say hello and to check if I was really coming to New York. He offered me a place to stay and even 'small amounts of money'. Speaking to one's father for the first time in 23 years deserves a mention in the journal doesn't it?

Harold rings. We play Rachmaninov together (Piano Concerto 2). But it's not quite the same as when it was ringing through the halls of 68 Fordwych Road.

Sunday 28 February, New York

Should I list the things I do like or the things I don't like? Should I list the places I've seen or the places I've been? Perhaps the relative heights of midtown to downtown is important.

Reet (being Harold's sister) likes James Galway, and Abe is whisking instant granules with sugar to get a frothy coffee. Sun streams in through the criss-crossed windows, high-lighting the dust and plants and net curtains, and giving my yeast the chance to rise.

Should I talk of Fred or M first? Of New York or New York?

Abe eats pickled herring and a boiled egg for breakfast while Reet makes and unmakes arrangements. The kitchen table always supports a variety of brown paper bags, full of bread or fruit or some other recent purchase. Piles of mail remain unopened - all those chances of star prizes passed up, all those free offers coyly hiding in obvious envelopes.

And what shall I do today - ring Vera or Marsha first? 

Paul K Lyons

March 1981


Copyright © PiKLe PuBLiSHiNG

1974 1975

1976 1977

1978 1979

1980 1981

1982 1983

1984 1985

1986 1987

1988 1989

1990 1991

1992 1993

1994 1995

1996 1997

1998 1999

2000 2001

2002 2003

2004 2005

INTRO to diaries