FALL 2011




Solidus Online

William Dameron

Interview by Meghan Burrows

For forty three years, I didn’t have a voice. And then one day, I said two words that freed all of the other words. “I’m Gay”. I write so that others who have not found their voice can gain courage to speak and join the other voices of those that have come out. And finally, to shout over the voices of those that would try to silence me. This blog is a collection of everyday stories and thoughts from my life. It is a celebration of what I have found. That living authentically is the only way out.

This passage comes from the bio page on William Dameron’s personal blog, the Authentic Life.

1) What do you do for work outside of writing?

I am an IT Director working for an economic consulting firm in the heart of Harvard Square. Every day I literally walk in the footsteps of famous Cambridge writers, such as e.e. Cummings, John Updike, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. It is humbling.

2) When did you start writing? Did your sexual orientation have anything to do with your aspiration to become a writer?

My very first attempt at writing seriously was for an essay contest in ninth grade. My essay was titled Wildlife Needs You. I was somewhat horrified when the school principal announced that I won first place during a school assembly. It was enough to keep me from writing for years.

Honestly, any good writer reveals himself/herself on the page. The best writing is authentic. I did not come out until I was forty three so my writing prior to that time never seemed genuine, because I was not genuine. My motivation to write is driven by my desire to illustrate my new found authentic life.

3) What’s your family life like? What influence do they have on your blogging?

My family life is just like any other modern day family, full of time challenges and logistics, but also full of love. My husband and I have a blended family of five children who often make an appearance in my writing. In many ways, my blog is a love letter to my family.

4) Do things in your day-to-day experience have an effect on your writing?

Most of my writing is non-fiction, so my daily life is the basis of what I write. The inspiration for what I write can spring from the simplest of things: a phrase that my husband uses, a rock on a beach, or even a table. I will often turn them into metaphors to illustrate universal themes.

5) What kind of a writer do you see yourself as?

I have been described as a relationship writer, an activist writer and a poet. But, I see myself as a creative non-fiction writer.

6) What exactly is your primary blog “The Authentic Life” about? What do you hope readers will take away from it?

My blog has evolved over time. In the beginning, I simply wanted others to know that there was a wonderful life beyond the closet. As I began to write more, I realized how much I loved the act of writing, of creating a world out of words. “The Authentic Life” blog is a vehicle to illustrate what a healthy gay relationship is and how fulfilling it can be. I hope that my readers are entertained, educated and moved by my posts.

7) How did you become a writer for the Huffington Post? Were you asked to write an article for them specifically?

On the Friday before father’s day a year ago, I wrote a piece titled “My Father, Myself” for “The Authentic Life” blog. It was a post about how my father’s actions and inactions shaped me and about how my husband Paul’s example as a good father turned me into a better father. I took a chance and sent the link to the editor of the Gay Voices vertical at the Huffington Post. Within five minutes I received a reply stating that he loved it and from then on, I have been publishing on the Huffington Post, about once or twice a month.

8) Do you anticipate getting published in any other literary magazine in the future? Any publishers in general?

I am excited to announce that my short memoir “Splintered Light on Clear Creek” will be published in the Saranac Review this fall, which has the largest circulation of any literary journal or magazine published by a state university in the United States. This piece focuses on a summer that I spent working as a tour guide at The Lost Gold Mine in Central City, Colorado when I was eighteen years old and lived with my aunt. It is my coming of age and coming out memoir. I am currently working on a book length memoir and hope to publish that in the future.

9) When do you think is the best time to write?

By far the best time for me to write is first thing in the morning, before the work day has begun. My mind is fresh and unfettered with all of the day’s activities.

10) Do you have any favorite writers?

David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs, Joan Didion, Annie Proulx, Paul Monette, and Isak Dinesen are a just a few of my favorite writers. If I could combine the humor, honesty, pain and lyricism of each of these writers into what I write, I would die happy.

11) Do you have a certain schedule that you follow for discipline, or do you just wing it?

I had a very set schedule for posting weekly blog posts on Sunday evenings, but that schedule has changed since I have started writing my memoir. Now, I write for an hour every morning and revise for an hour every evening, which means that the number of words I write in the morning could net to zero in the evening.

12) What problems have you encountered in your writing? Writer’s block? How do you get around it?

A friend told me that there really is no such thing as writer’s block. That if you are having trouble writing something, it is because you are not emotionally ready to deal with it. I think that is true in a way. If I experience writer’s block, I start writing about anything. I will write about the furniture in the room, for example and before I know it, there is a story, because a certain piece of furniture, its color or shape is becomes a symbol for something else.

Also, because I write non-fiction, I have to think about a person’s reaction to their portrayal in my pieces. That can be tough, especially when they are not portrayed in a flattering light. But, we all have flaws. That is what makes us unique and human.

13) Do you consider yourself to be an activist blogger?

Yes, but in a way I think that anyone who writes and publishes is an activist, because they are advocating a cause, trying to make you believe or feel something. If my writing does not elicit emotions, then I have failed. My Huffington Post pieces tend to have a much more political activist tone to them.

14) Do you consider your writing to be akin to prose, or even poetry, in a way? How so?

I particularly like to write descriptively and it sometimes can seem poetic. Someone once asked me if I really see the world the way I write. I was music major for the first two years in college. When I write, I hear music in my head and this translates onto the written page.


William Dameron came out as gay several years ago and is now currently living in Boston, Massachusetts with his husband of three years, Paul. Between their previous marriages, they have five children. William works as an IT director by day, but he’s a passionate writer whose articles I came across on the Huffington Post. I was fortunate enough to be in contact with William to conduct an interview, and have had the additional pleasure of meeting with him on several occasions in Wells, Maine and his apartment in Boston. While William’s writing may not be prose or poetry, there’s something distinctly poetic about his writing style that draws readers in. There is a story being told in each of his blog articles with their own, unique voice. For additional reading, I strongly recommend visiting his blog and looking for his articles on the Huffington Post.