Writer Ellie Behling 's work was featured in issue #11 of Newtown Literary. We interviewed her about her writing, and her answers are below. You can follow Ellie on Instagram @epbehling and Twitter @EllieBehling.
What is your relationship to Queens?
I fell in love with Queens when I moved to New York 10 years ago. First I lived in Woodside, then Astoria. When you move to New York as a 22-year-old from Ohio, you might as well be moving from another country -- but something about the diversity of Queens made me feel at ease. In Queens, everyone is coming from everywhere.
What is your favorite memory of Queens?
I am a poet after all, so I’ll describe a sentimental moment when I got off the train in Queens for the first time. I was at the 61st Street-Woodside stop on the 7 train, taking in the sights and sounds of so many different types of people bustling on a Tuesday afternoon, going in and out of little specialized shops with gritty and vibrant personality. It wasn’t intimidating like Manhattan, but it still had that city magic. I knew I was going to love it.
How would you describe the writing you do?
I write free verse poetry that is angsty and personal. I usually preface my poetry with “just a warning, this is probably depressing.” But I like to think I’m hopeful, and that the imagery and metaphors will resonate. In my dreams, Fiona Apple will call tomorrow and say, “you know what, I am looking for some lyrics and I like your stuff.” Lately I’ve been working on lightening up, trying out some musings that are humorous and relatable. I think the fun stuff looks easier but is harder to do, so I wanted to challenge myself.
How did you come to writing?
I’m sure it must have had something to do with my English teacher mother (who writes amazing limericks, by the way. HI MOM!). Like many writers, I don’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I was (quite literally, you have no idea) obsessed with all of my creative writing assignments in the third grade, and then I started writing and compiling little poetry books when I was 10. I’ve been a journalist and content marketer for the last 10 years here in Queens, sneaking in poetry on the side. I was excited to debut my poetry in Newtown Literary.
What inspires you?
Still trying to figure that out. Oftentimes I think of poetry in quiet moments with my thoughts, which I don’t allow to happen enough. For example, sometimes I feel inspired on the subway (one of my poems in Newtown Literary issue #11 – “I Haven’t Forgotten About Poetry” -- happened that way). Also, like a lot of artists, the darkest times inspire me the most, which is inconvenient. Usually Fiona Apple is involved.
What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
My day job of writing can be pretty consuming (I manage a marketing blog and social media). It’s pretty awesome to write for a living, and I really enjoy the business side, but it also makes it hard to come home and write for fun. Mostly I just write a lot of iPhone Notes. Will I ever organize them? Man, I hope so. Look out for iPhone Notes coming to a bookshelf near you.
And, finally, my favorite question: What should I be asking you that I didn't?
You could ask me what I would most like to learn about as a writer. I would like to try to write lyrics, honestly, even if Fiona doesn’t ask me. I’d also like to try to write more fiction, which I haven't touched much since the third grade. People who write short stories seem to think poetry is harder, but of course I feel the opposite. I’d also like to write a nonfiction book. So there, lots of writing to get done. I feel lots of exciety about it -- which is an emotion I made up to describe the constant intersection of excitement and anxiety, especially common in writers.