WILLIAMS | Between Seasons, From Green Town to Boston

Douglas Spaulding is alive. All at once, he feels the grass “[whisper] under his body,” the wind “[sigh] over his shelled ears”: “He heard the twin hearts beating in each ear, the third heart beating in his throat, the two hearts throbbing his wrists, the real heart pounding his chest. The million pores on his body opened. I’m really alive! he thought.

WILLIAMS | Light in Boston

I was depressed in Chicago when I did the interview. I sat bleary-eyed in front of my computer screen trying, and so desperately failing, to look as animated as possible. The position was as an assistant for a high school journalism program at an Ivy League university. My job would be to invite speakers from the journalism industry, coordinate travel and lunches, shepherd the students around campus and ultimately scaffold the program from conception to execution. “What stories have you been following in the news?” the interviewers asked.

WILLIAMS | Art Humanizes Currently and Formerly Incarcerated People

Isaac Scott has an unconventional resume. As a young man (born and raised) in Harlem, NY, searching for a father figure, he turned to drug dealing and street life. He cycled through home, streets and school until he gained his associate’s in 2004, but could not afford the small cost for his cap and gown. Frustrated, hurt, he turned back to the streets and spent 9 years in prison, where he learned vocational trades but was also introduced to visual art as a means of financial sustenance and emotional coping. When he left prison in 2014, he founded an arts and advocacy group called Isaac’s Quarterly, majored in Visual Arts at Columbia University, became an ordained minister and is currently working toward his masters of divinity in youth and family ministries at Liberty University.

WILLIAMS | Beyond Burnout: The Untold Story of Queer Intimacy on Dating Apps

I didn’t think C was the love of my life. I didn’t even think she was going to be my girlfriend. But I was happy to be there, walking side by side beneath the warm lights of Chicago’s French Market, still giggling and swaying under the influence of a first date’s customarily sweet awkwardness. Those who suffer from dating burnout, a term describing the hopelessness and cynicism daters often feel about finding long-lasting love — especially in the age of dating apps — might wonder at my willingness to go out with a woman from Tinder, even while thinking that she would not be my person. For many, that knowledge contradicts the purpose of going on the date in the first place — to receive a return on the investment of a perfectly curated profile, a couple of days of messaging beforehand, a well-groomed appearance on the day of the date and ultimately to settle down.