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


December 2017...
Mississippi now feels like "home"

changingweatherSince I arrived in Columbus at the end of May 2016 I have experienced two Mississippi summers, two falls, and will now be heading into my second winter and spring. September was a little hotter than it seemed it should be, except for about a week in the middle of the month when it got very cold; it seesawed back and forth into October, November, and now December—in all a weird fall, but I don't have enough experience with Mississippi weather yet to make predictions or really know what to expect. There was not much rain during the summer and most of the fall, which surprises me, since we're supposed to get 55 inches a year on average, and coming from the desert, I can't believe that I want more rain! It's December 4th and the grass is still green under the fallen leaves. Last year (I think) the grass turned brown much earlier.

myBackyardBut putting the weather aside...I was working in my backyard the other day, mostly cloudy but warm enough to soon shed one layer of clothing, and as I got on my knees to get a branch clipper close to the ground, the aroma of the rich black soil rose up and engulfed my senses. I looked around at all the fall cleanup I had ahead of me, visualized the backyard as trimmed and mowed and sighed with pleasure. At that moment, Mississippi felt like home, the backyard on the south side of Columbus was my backyard, my responsibility, and more than likely, I alone would enjoy the result of my labor.

My cats, Ellie and Mae enjoy playing in the backyard, but just as likely in the two adjoining neighbors' yards, as well. Part of me wants to keep the edges of my yard like a jungle, and the edges are what stump me. I don't want too much of a wild look, which it is now, but I don't want to get it so clean and trimmed that I get rid of the greenery that affords me some privacy from the neighbors. The back of my lot ends on the boundary of an 8-unit apartment building, and the upstairs tenants can look down in my yard unhampered, were it not for the bushes and branches of trees to block their view. The previous owner had what my neighbors describe as a garden of a backyard, but the property was three years uninhabited when I bought the house, and now only vestiges of her roses and flower beds remain. She used borders of "monkey grass" to frame them in, but grass has taken over inside the beds and the borders prevent me from getting in there with my mower, along with stumps and bricks and hidden hazards. I found two large seashells buried in the soil in the area where I worked and numerous wire sculptures that must have acted as frames upon which to hang flower baskets. I've been collecting them on a bench, and once the backyard is cleaner, I might hang flower baskets on the wire sculptures, as well. Slices-Life

When I'm not working in the yard, I'm usually taking day trips with Cliff, or eating meals with him, or at my computer working. My time in Columbus has certainly been productive. In 2016 I finished three books that concluded my "Common Threads in the Life" series. I also published a collection of my essays, which I call Slices of Real Life. I had intended to only bring the collection out as an e-book, but in 2017 I went ahead and published a hard copy edition, as well.

Many readers of the Common Threads in the Life series have often assumed that the seven novels in the series closely reflect my own life. They do not. Slices of Real Life (Autobiographical Essays) is a series of essays that tell my real story, and it is far different from my novels. What is reflected in the many works of fiction I have written are what I value most—family life, being part of the LGBT community, and always having the will to fight for equality. In these essays, I write about the time I first became conscious of self (around age four) until the present (2016). This collection is open-ended, because life is open-ended and will only end when my life comes to a close.

Common Threads in the Life...A Done Deal!
If you haven't yet looked into acquiring all seven books in this series, please consider the e-book collection from Amazon.
I suppose most authors finish a work and ask themselves what's next. As I've said elsewhere my readers keep asking for more of what they usually call "the Tom and Joel" books. And many readers of the now complete series still want more. My answer is Common Threads in the Life is finished. I have written about the 50 years in Tom and Joel's life from 1965 to the "present" (2015), and I'm done. But take heart, I am not finished writing. I'm subconsciously working on two new books. I usually let my subconscious work for awhile before I write anything.

Series Spin-offs
I will write spin-offs in the Common Threads series, but their focus will only be an echo of Tom and Joel's life. They'll be mentioned when necessary but not central to the stories. In Joe Welling and the Cowboys, I take a refugee from the gay subculture and move him farther and farther away from it, until he truly finds himself in a milieu of a different sort. And in Granny Mack and the Gas Station at the end of the Road
, we have another refugee of sorts who comes to the end of the road in the middle of nowhere and has only the barest of chances to hand off her grandson to the world before she takes her final bow on the stage of life. —Or maybe that's what these two novels will be about.

I want to remind you that since moving here, I have been blogging about my experiences living here, in Postcards from Mississippi. I'm continuing to discover Columbus and, when I get a chance to travel outside of town, I discover more of Mississippi.

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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 Runaway
A Season of Family
The Rest of Their Lives

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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