Newtown Literary contributor: Chris Antzoulis
What is your relationship to Queens?
My relationship with Queens is strange. My parents, children of immigrants, met in Astoria, and we moved to Chesapeake, Virginia, when I was five years old. It wasn't until I started my MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College, at the age of 24, that I moved back to the area. I consider Virginia to be my home. In many ways I don't fit my own image of what it means to be a New Yorker. For instance, I don't have the fast-paced walk down. I prefer to mosey. But, I do feel a more spiritual connection with Queens (and NYC as a whole). In the way that many people feel a bond to their country(ies) of ancestry, which for me would be Italy and Greece; I feel it for New York City. I don't know if it's just the nature of the city and its tolerance for difference, or the way it always seems to recover from crisis, but I find a beauty in the way it exists...a very exhausting type of beauty.
What is your favorite memory of Queens?
When I was very little, approximately 5, I would walk with my mother and my brother down Ditmars Blvd in the summer. There was a small pastry shop (that's still open today) called La Guli. My grandmother used to work there. Anyway, my mom would bring us in to buy Italian ices, which they only served in the summer. Either that or she tricked us into thinking they were only served in the summer. Those little moments stand out as brief instances where everything felt balanced.
How would you describe the writing you do?
Fun. Cathartic. The image of the tormented writer is always one that kind of baffled me. If you're going to suffer you may as well make some money while you're doing. However, if you're going to write, embrace the fact that you're following passion and try to enjoy it. This is the fuel that I try to put into my writing.
How did you come to writing?
I was always a decent student with a good memory. Most things came easy. When I was in middle school we read "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Poe. That was the first time I remember feeling anxious because of a story. I remember my palms sweating. I remember how much I didn't want the man in the story to die, even though I knew very little about him. I remember realizing how fragile life is. But, perhaps most importantly, I made a connection with Poe. He made me feel those things. I thought that was pretty damn cool. I've been writing ever since.
What inspires you?
That moment in Rocky 2 when Adrian wakes from a coma and tells Rocky to win.
What does it mean to be a writer in Queens?
It means that I don't have to be a writer in Brooklyn. *jazz hands*
What writing projects are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on four projects. A manuscript for a book of poetry, and another for a chapbook. I'm also working on a script for a new sci-fi comic book series, and one for a horror/comedy webcomic that I'm co-writing with my best friend.
What should I be asking you that I didn't?
How interesting my browser history is. *wink*