Elaine's Personal Writing

Creative nonfiction, just because

So to Speak, October 2023

My mother developed some unusual habits while I was away at college. Most glaringly: after decades of teaching the rules of phonics to elementary school students, she started making up her own.

Take, for example, a name that somehow filtered into her consciousness, the fashion designer Liz Claiborne. Should be simple: short i Liz, followed by a long A for Clai; the silent e at the end turns the o vowel long, CLAY-bōrn. But that’s not where Ma went rogue. 

“Travels with My Vag”
Beyond Queer Words,
February 2023

Hard copy available here
Digital copy here

Home in the summer of 1980 was my parents’ house in Teaneck. During the last long vacation before I graduated from Smith, we all decided it was time for me to get a real job—one that would pay more than the $50 a week I’d earned doing summer theatre. And once I got hired, my parents would amscray…

“Dating as a Single Dyke in My 60s”
Autostraddle, November 2021


Back in the olden days — before the internet, I mean — I knew of only two ways to find a girlfriend: in person (at a bar or, during the ’80s, a disco) or by mail. If you were shy — and I was very, painfully, almost self-destructively shy — the first method didn’t work so well. And the second cost a lot of money, especially for someone in an entry-level job: first to place a personal ad in the back of the newspaper and second to rent a mailbox at the publisher’s offices to receive the responses.

“Seen and Unseen”
The Nasiona, April 2021


My wife’s heart rate looked like a roller-coaster. A particularly boring roller-coaster — only ups and downs — but running at a manic pace. I put my hand on Keane’s arm as she slept; the roller-coaster slowed. She needs me, I thought. And for the first time since I’d left her eight months earlier, I knew for sure I wanted us to be together again. The nurse popped into the recovery room, looking quizzically at the monitor. I moved my hand away and the roller-coaster started up again. See? I told the nurse silently as I replaced my hand. She knows we’re supposed to be together.

Awards & Fellowships:

Mass Cultural Council Grant, 2023
Queer-Writers’ Fellowship, 2021 Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing
Finalist 2021 Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize