Spring 2021 Contributing Artist Statements

Elsa Williams

“I have had a lot of identities: nerd, queer, druggy, and now nerd again. I can never quite get the parts to fit together, but I can worry at the uneven seems until I find something true. I wrote “Research Subject” in response to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s call for essays on growing up with the AIDS crisis. I missed the deadline, but I still needed to tell the story.  In 1995 I had a disorienting double vision of being both researcher and researchee, with no safe way to talk about it. From a distance of 25 years, and under a pen name, I have the space to reexamine a time when I made terrible choices, and to see how many systems were failing me and my friends.

I left academia 6 years ago and now work in biotech. I live outside Boston with my husband and two kids. My essays have appeared in The Manifest-Station, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Red Fez, and The Bi Women’s Quarterly. I am an alum of the Grub Street Memoir Generator, and I am workshopping a memoir about my early 20s. My website is elsawilliams.net.”