THE DIARIES OF PAUL K LYONS - 1986
It is nearly 10 years since I first published some of my diaries online - covering the years 1974 to 1985. I wrote at the time - see the JOURNAL home page - that I was making my diaries public for two main reasons: 1) because I’m a writer and I like my writing to be read; 2) because I believe my diaries ‘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’.
I also wrote: ‘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.’ Thus, I made clear that I tried to keep the entries published online as close to the original as possible, 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’ve kept more in than I might have done otherwise. And one specific area of this was my writing about intimate matters. Guided by the fact that I love to read about other people’s private lives, and have always much admired the diaries of Anais Nin, for example, I have tried to include as much of what I wrote about love and sex as I felt comfortable with. But there is, inevitably, much I have left out. I have cut material that I felt was too dull, too self-absorbed, too off-the-wall to make any sense; and, though I have tried very hard not to cut things I had written as a much younger man 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 are daunting. This is for the simple reason that I became a father, and much of my diary henceforward is full of material 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, from 1986, I intend to edit them with due consideration for the feelings of my family - which is not to say I am going to leave 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)