by Adiba Jaigirdar

Andreas Levers via Creative Commons

The matchsticks in the broken drawer don’t tempt me now that you’re gone.

We sat on my bed and shared scorch marks like stories of old boyfriends. The one between your thumb and forefinger? Two years ago. Darkened to a deep shade of brown on your already dark skin. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t dream about it with my eyelids half closed, imagining you beside me, imagining me running my fingers along that scorch mark.

I like the one on your right shoulder the best. It’s nothing but a giant brown blob. There’s a strange beauty in it. Perhaps the most enticing thing about is the way you showed me, slowly rolling up the sleeves of your overly-long, baggy t-shirt.

My scorch marks seem like nothing in comparison. Even now.

Fire has lost its delight too, since you left. Like I never understood the spark, the heat, until you brushed your fingers along my collarbone.

Those two months, sharing stories on my bed, our limbs entangled in each other carelessly; those were the days I was on fire.

The matches, the bedroom, the lick of fire against my skin? Nothing without you in it. No spark.

Adiba JaigirdarAdiba Jaigirdar is a twenty-two year old writer and poet. She is of Bangladeshi descent but Irish by nationality. She has graduated from University College Dublin with a BA double major in English and History, along with an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent. She has previously been published in literary magazines such as About Place Journal, wordlegs and Outburst. You can find her on twitter at @adiba_j.

who are you?
Bianca de Blok via Creative Commons

…and Ellie groaned against the quickening contractions.

“It’s funny, right?” Barry said. “In labor on Labor Day.”

“Right,” Ellie said, “hilarious.” And it was funny, in its own predictable way.

But the hospital parking lot was full. The admissions desk drowned in scared and angry women, all suffering from violent wrenches of pain in their lower abdomens.

“It’s not possible,” Ellie heard the sweating receptionist say.

A doctor squeezed past and climbed on a table. “How many of you are actually pregnant?” His words quieted the crowd.

Only Ellie raised her hand.

“Okay, we’ll start with you.”

This week’s edition of Aspiring Voices finds us talking to the fascinating George Wells. George’s work has been featured in Spark: A Creative Anthology. We collided minds to talk about using personal experience as fuel for writing, using family and friends as blueprints for characters, how to establish a setting so that readers will accept implausible events and what inspired him to move south of the border.

Pared - Guadalajara México 2007
Lucy Nieto via Creative Commons

Paul: I saw from your website that you were told by teachers growing up that you were a writer, but it took until you were around forty years old to sort of own that label. What do you think made being a writer a thing that you feared and what allowed you to overcome it?

George: I’ve suffered from self-esteem problems and social anxiety disorder for most of my life, something that I still struggle with. I was a terrible student, but when I did do my assignments, my teachers praised the potential of my work. My reaction to that, given those problems, was a fear of the attention I was receiving. Instead of focusing on the positive attention, my mind went straight to “attention”, and I backed away quickly. 

When I went to college, I was doing a little better, and signed up for a creative writing class. I dropped out after a month. Again, I was getting a lot of positive feedback on the few opening scenes and character sketches, but I felt so under the microscope that my old anxieties were plaguing me again. I started to get sick just thinking about the class. I wouldn’t write another word of fiction for 20 years.

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