Ronald L. Donaghe Winner of The Jim Duggins' Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist award, 2008 SASFEST New Orleans


November 2016...

I've been living in Mississippi now for five full months, and during that time, I've managed to finish and publish four books. The last three books in the Common Threads in the Life series (seven volumes) came out as eBooks in September and I'm waiting for them to be typeset for hard copy books—soon.

SlicesLifeSlices of Real Life by Ronald L. Donaghe
Amazon Kindle Book
Price: $3.99
Publication Date: October 31, 2016

But my news this month is that I've just completed a book of essays (some published elsewhere, some published especially for this collection) in Slices of Real Life. Several of these essays show that my personal life is not at all like the fictional lives I write about in the Common Threads in the Life series. Former classmates, family members, and perfect strangers (no, if they're strangers I don't know that they're perfect) seem to assume that some aspects of my stories are autobiographical. One of my positive critics has said that what I show in the essay titled "High School and the Nameless Love" reveals my evolution toward realizing I'm "gay" in what he says was a gentle realization, and I think that's true. But of course I was looking back on a slice of my life from a perspective of fifty years. I also remember that some of my fears during that time were not so gentle, nor was my emotional involvement very gentle in the crush I had, the anxiety and nervousness I felt in even being around a certain guy. The newest essays are devoted to what turned out to be a long and continuing relationship with the love of my life, and yet...and yet we're currently living in two different states. But how could that be?

ColumbusMSContinuing...My partner will move to Columbus, Mississippi, once he sells some property in New Mexico. He currently lives in Mesilla, New Mexico. But how did we get separated? We took our first trip to Mississippi in October of 2014, fell in love with the Mississippi Hills region, the people, and the god the homes, the vestiges of the glorious antebellum South, with Victorians, Italianate (even Craftsman style), and of course the antebellum homes. So we returned again in February 2016. Mississippi is a notoriously poor state, but New Mexico is too. The difference is that Mississippi is green and lush and the people are friendly and the historic homes are indescribably beautiful. Although Cliff had his eye on a property here, it had been sold just one day before we put an offer on it, and I ended up putting an offer on a house, instead, and got loan approval through the VA. So here I am.

Our 2016 trip turned out to be our turning point, from thinking of buying here to actually doing it. I moved to my new house at the end of May 2016, when I had to take possession of it, and I've been here ever since, still waiting for Cliff's house to sell in Mesilla.
NatchezLike the rest of the South, Mississippi is changing. Yes, it's got a reputation for being anti-gay, fundamentalist in its religions, and hateful to gay couples like my partner and me. But we didn't feel that in our stay in Aberdeen, Mississippi, where we first looked at homes. Aberdeen is Billy Brasfield's hometown. He's a makeup artist to the stars and currently lives in New York City, but he has continued to return to his hometown to help renovate their beautiful stock of historic homes. Aberdeen is only about thirty miles from Columbus, Mississippi, but we feel that Columbus has more to offer in the way of potential employment. But never doubt that Aberdeen is a gem of a town, full of nice, welcoming people, many of them retirees from other parts of the country. We were pegged as a gay couple as soon as we rolled into town, and people still wanted us to move there.


But I digress. about 24,000 people. It is second only to Natchez, Mississippi, in its wealth of historic homes and buildings, and it has a vibrant downtown with wonderful restaurants, and for those who simply must have big box chain stores, there's an area of the town that has them. Luckily for Columbus, however, the vast majority of businesses in the downtown area still thrive. There's an active Arts Council on Fifth Street and Main, within walking distance to a number of fine restaurants and coffee shops. Mississippi University for Women sits close by, with a student population of about 3,500 students—and best of all it's a very gay-friendly university with LGBT "safe-zone" signs on the doors of the departments and professor's offices (I would say especially the English department).

MUWTennesseeWilliamsFor me there is an active writer's group that meets at the Arts Council downtown and a writer's program at the university, in which I will attempt to wedge my foot, once we move there. I've put an offer on a house in the historic south Columbus area that is full of said historic homes in an area that is rapidly being gentrified and renovated, mere steps from the west side of the university. For my partner there is the history. It is the birthplace of Tennessee Williams, as well, and has a marvelous, active historic homes tour each year, along with a blues festival, an active farmer's market.

Since moving here, I have been blogging about my experiences in Postcards from Mississippi. This will be my first time to vote in Mississippi, and I intend to vote a straight democratic ticket. Currently Mississippi has a Republican super majority in both houses and the governor is also a Republican. Together they are responsible for passing HB1523, a so-called religious freedom bill, but it just turns out to be virulently anti-gay. Luckily it was stopped from taking effect by a circuit court.

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Currently, ten of my novels are available on the Amazon Kindle e-reader...
Common Sons
The Blind Season
The Salvation Mongers

The Gathering

Uncle Sean


All Over Him

The Thinking Man—Blog

I've been working on a blog for a few years, but I've never done anything to show it to the world. So, here it is. It's called "The Thinking Man," and in it, I write about subjects that strike me as interesting. I invite comments, and I have no idea if the thing allows me to censor/filter/or even respond to the comments. Here's the link:


My Work
Common Threads
in the Life







Now Published in Kindle

The Journals of
Will Barnett


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