Smoking With Aaron McQuiston

Read the Story March 15, 2004

Did you find it difficult to write about addiction?

Not really. When I quit smoking (the only real addiction I’ve ever had to quit), I could remember wanting to do anything for one more cigarette.
This is mild in comparison with other drugs, but it is some of the best energy I have.

A major image in the story is reflected in the title, “Streetlights in Rome.” Did you have a certain city or location in mind when writing this piece?

I watched a documentary on the Roman Empire, and on my way to work the next day, I drove past a gas station. Something clicked inside my head and gave me the whole story.

What grabs you as a reader and how is it reflected in your own writing?

Stories with impact are my favorite. When I read the last line, say “Holy shit,” and hold the page for a few seconds before putting it down. That is what I try to do when I write. I try to write “Holy shit” moments.

Have you ever worked in a gas station? Did you find it challenging to literally write from within “the glass box?”

No gas stations for me, but I’m nocturnal so I have seen the man in the box on more than one occasion. I always think it would be pretty lonely.

If you couldn’t write, what would be your creative outlet?

If I couldn’t write, I would turn into that guy on the AM radio that calls in with sixteen pages of comments and cuts off the host when he or she tries to get a word in. Those guys are the best.

About the Author:

Aaron McQuiston is a twenty-six-year-old business owner, factory worker, union member, writer and professional slacker. His small list of credits includes writing commercials, articles for the Central Indiana Professional Writers newsletter and grocery lists.