Clad in a pink hoodie and sitting in his dorm room, junior theatre major Chase Williams looks like a typical college student. However, unlike the typical college student, Williams is a published author who has released multiple books of poetry.
“I needed someone to talk to,” Williams said. “I needed an outlet that wasn’t going to judge me because at that time I was pretty far deep in the closet.”
According to Williams, high school was a stressful four years. However, he said he made a goal to come out by the end of his senior year. He also said he has always been intrigued by writing and first tried to write a book in the fourth grade. Williams used his interest in writing as he said he came out as LGBTQIA+ in his first book, “The Sweetest of Apples,” which was released in May of 2018.
“It wasn’t a very loud or public coming out, but it was the coming out that made me feel the safest,” Williams said. “I think that really was like my initial drive to make the book. Just to tell people, ‘I’m like you. I’m just like you. I’m just like everybody else. And no, you’re not the only person that [is] going through these things at such an early age.’”
Since releasing his first book, Williams said he has published two other books of poetry titled “Bloom” and “The Sweetest Bite.” According to Williams, “Bloom” is a self-care book, while “The Sweetest Bite” ties back into “The Sweetest of Apples” thematically.
“I think all of the books represent very different, vivid times in my life,” Williams said.
Part of Williams’s creative process involves reaching out to his close friend, Anne Cosner, he said. Williams said he and Cosner first became friends at Beech Grove High School, where they bonded over activities like choir and a shared love of poetry.
“[Williams] grew up and realized a lot quicker than everyone else that he had his heart set on something, and that was his books and his poetry,” Cosner said. “He was like, ‘This is what I want to do.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, I think you should do it.’”
Cosner said that when Williams released his first book, she helped spread the word by hanging up posters, providing students with links so that they could find it, and buying her own copy. Now available on Amazon, all three of Williams’s published works have garnered quality ratings.
Williams said everyone has a story worth telling. Different backgrounds do not divide; rather, they bring people closer together, he said.
“I think if we all shared a little bit of what we’ve all been through, we could all come collectively to a better place,” Williams said.