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Smoking With Aaron McQuiston

(Read the Story) March 15, 2004

Aaron McQuiston

Art by Marty D. Ison

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.

About the Artist

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison’s work here.

This interview appeared in Issue Three of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Three

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