rldbookslogoRonald L. Donaghe

Who I am and what I stand for—at least a tidbit.

Who I Am

I grew up in the house(s) my father built. He and my paternal grandfather built the first house in Deming, New Mexico, when I was about four years old. It was made of adobe bricks. At the time, my father was a carpenter and worked on a large crew that built one of Deming's largest 1950s subdivisions. Then when I was about seven, we moved out into the country to a farm that my father owned. He had been renting it out and working in town. So he took up farming, and I took up residence with my three sisters. When I was fourteen, my parents had another son and then a year later, another daughter.

So I grew up in a large family, did chores on the farm, went to a country school of about 110 children from first grade to eighth grade. We had an eighth grade graduation ceremony. Then I went to high school in Deming, where I took "college prep" courses. I also "came out of the closet" to myself in high school, mainly because I had a crush on a boy there my age. I dated girls and was one of the "popular" students among the girls, though among the student body as a whole, I was also kind of an odd-ball, though I didn't realize it. A friend and I formed Deming High's first chess club, and it is still going almost 40 years later!

Went to college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico, where I studied English and majored in education. Came out of the closet to others and, for about six months frequented the gay bars in El Paso, Texas, 45 south of Las Cruces. There, I had a couple of stormy, youthful affairs, and then in 1970, like taking a wrong turn into the Twilight Zone, I married a woman I had barely met. Within another six months, I realized my horrible mistake and joined the Air Force during the waning days of Vietnam.

During my short time in the Air Force, I came out again, this time to everybody in my flight (in the Army, it's called "company"), met a fellow airman and went into a 14 year relationship with him. I finished my bachelor's at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Later, I returned to Las Cruces, went in and out of the bookstore business, went to graduate school at New Mexico State, where I majored in technical writing and computer science.

Got a job as a technical writer in 1980, broke up with my male lover in 1986, worked all over the U.S., and my first novel, Common Sons, was published in 1989.

I've basically been a writer of fiction ever since, while also maintaining my day job as a technical writer. Writing, my husband Cliff, my two cats and—did I say writing?—is my life. I'm enjoying every moment of it, too.

What I Stand For

I stand up for the underdog, because one of my own life experiences was being an underdog in the country school I attended. I was picked on probably every day of school until I graduated from the eighth grade. Rather than being bitter about that, it has given me compassion and understanding for those who endure similar treatment. While I was never terrorized for being gay, I realize that those who are, now, must be protected from such violence by teachers and administrators. There must be gay-straight alliances in the schools and hate crimes legislation for the rest of us. But I also believe each of us must stand up for oneself, which is why I've been "out" most of my adult life. I applaud those who, in more difficult circumstances than my own, stand up for themselves, despite the threat of violence.

I am politically an "independent" belonging to no political party. I exercise my right to vote on the issues and the candidates. I don't necessarily share one mind with my fellow "queers" on every subject. I am one of those "assimilationists," because I do want the right to marry my same-sex partner. I do want to be an integral part of American society. I do not feel that my assimilationist viewpoint in any way prevents others from standing on the fringe of society and community if that's what they want. If that's what they need.

Rush Limbaugh really is a "big fat idiot" as that comedian says. But he's not the most dangerous. I even listen to his talk show, as I do other conservative talk show hosts. I temper that by also listening to National Public Radio and liberal viewpoints when I can find them.

The Constitution of the United States of America does not grant me rights. It was written to acknowledge that inalienable rights exist, with or without a document such as the Constitution to declare it. Instead, the Constitution was written to protect those rights. The first 10 amendments innumerate basic rights, but in no way does that list limit my rights as a human. So I stand for doing what I want to do with my body and mind, and no man-made law abridges that in any way. The only limit on my rights is if I interfere with those same rights for someone else. Therefore, murder is not a right; nor is rape, robbery, and any other activity that limits the same in others.

I don't expect anyone else to automatically agree with me, nor do I demand automatic respect from anyone. I stand up for myself as a unique and self-contained being. I don't ask anyone to help me feed and cloth myself, except by agreement that I will get paid for doing work for them, bartering exchanged services. I take advantage of the quality of life provided by the laws and regulations of the United States by agreeing to follow them—except where I disagree on the basis of a lost inalienable right, and one of these is to love whom I love. No government entity shall ever interfere with that, not by regulation, law, or denial of due process.
—Ronald L. Donaghe, Las Cruces, NM
Vital Statistics
(in case you're interested)

Born: May 6, 1948
Deming, New Mexico

Sex: uh...male

Father: Clifford L. Donaghe

Mother: Birtha Jewel Donaghe

Four Sisters

Two Brothers (one died in infancy)


High School: Deming High


New Mexico State University

San Antonio College

SW Texas State University

FloridasWhat those of us living in Southwestern New Mexico understand is that the landscape defines us in many ways. While this is a picture of the Florida Mountains  east-southeast of Deming, where I was born, just sixty miles east of Deming is Las Cruces and the Organ mountains, and seventy miles east of there is Alamogordo, with the Sacramento Mountains. In between the towns are vast stretches of desert. The same is true as you head west. West of Deming is Lordsburg, with a range of mountains beyond that town, and on into Arizona. If you could see four hundred miles, you would eventually understand the terrain, the vastness, the clarity, the soul-cleansing nature of the desert and its stark mountains.
HomeArticles • Autobiography: My Year, Letters • Book Reviews • Book Series: Common Threads, Will Barnett • BookStores • LinksNewsletterWriters' Resources