Newtown Literary contributor: Alexander Moser
When you think of Queens, what first comes to mind?
So, I actually grew up right on the border of Queens and Long Island. Queens to me was that entrance, that gateway to the big city. I have this memory I can't shake, of riding the Long Island Rail Road, and looking over the dense rows of houses before arriving at Jamaica Station. It's what I think of when I think of Queens.
How does Queens influence your writing?
Queens reminds me of everything New York stands for these days. It's a diverse place, with multiple diverse communities. Even if Long Island City and Flushing have different demographic backgrounds, they both share this identity that brings them together.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar?
I don't have a good answer to this one. There's always that idea of how we see ourselves versus how others see us. I may want to be an owl or a wolf, but maybe an animal that best represents me would be a dog, or something like that.
What is the last piece of writing you read that made you laugh or cry?
In Andrea Lawlor's Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, the narrator describes when he first wanted to be a girl. I have a family member who has gone through a transition, and that part reminded me of how she's struggled for so long.
What inspires you?
I'm inspired by anyone who makes a commitment to their craft. Sometimes, it's the way David Lynch or Wes Anderson creates the films that are undeniably their own. But other times, it's the way Lionel Messi plays soccer, doing things we've never seen anyone else do.
What does your writing process/routine look like?
I usually draft out the big strokes of a story. The big events. Maybe jot down some details on the main character, or characters. I do most of my work in Google Docs, so sometimes I work on a computer, and sometimes I work on my phone. Once that's done, I write out the story. The most important thing is to keep going, chug along until it's done. A lot of the time I'll be excessive, repeating myself, making scenes that are redundant. Then, I edit. A lot. I think the story that's in this issue of Newtown Literary was close to twice as long, and I cut a lot of stuff that didn't need to be in there. I try to get in 1,000 words a day, more or less. And when I edit, I don't exactly give myself a set guide of how much to do. I spend a few hours a day on this stuff, most days.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do?
I regularly train for half marathons. I did the full NYC marathon a few years ago. Part of me wants to sign up for another marathon, but in another city, maybe in Seattle, or San Francisco.
What writing project(s) are you currently working on?
I'm happy to announce that I'll be attending The City College of New York for an MFA in Creative Writing. I'll be starting this fall. I have a lot of stories that I will polish up, and new ones to write. I'm planning to come out with a collection of stories, or perhaps a novel within a few years.
What should I have asked you that I didn't?
A lot of people ask me why I started writing. I got tired of going to parties and talking about "other people's art." So I decided it was time to make my own. Thanks, Alexander!