Matthew Kabik’s short story, “The Hermit of Wilson Cave,” was published in our Fall & Winter ‘ 15 Issue, and can be read here.
Tell us a little about “The Hermit of Wilson Cave.”
I grew up near Indian Echo Caverns, a problematic name for a series of caverns that most of us as children visited and played mini golf. I knew a little bit about William Wilson (who did, in fact, live in the caverns), but not very much.
Recently Chris DiCicco (a fellow writer who has a collection coming out soon) lobbed me information on William Wilson again, and pushed me to write a story featuring him. I generally write stories around the odd, almost magic of youthful experience, and I put that treatment on this story as well.
What was the most difficult part of this particular piece?
The most difficult part was adding in the backstory of Wilson while still keeping the story in the present. There were a number of versions which either put all of the backstory in the beginning or had the characters talk about it outright, and it just didn’t work that way. By making the backstory part of the ritual the characters go through, I was able to introduce enough (hopefully) that the reader got the point without being assaulted by it.
I also had some difficulty in figuring out how to stage the story—how to parse it between the sections I created and what that means for the reader. I don’t like wasting time on action that isn’t essential, and the various parts allow me to bounce around without the reader getting terribly lost.
Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.
Again, Chris DiCicco’s upcoming collection from Hypertrophic Press, So My Mother, She Lives In The Clouds, is going to be outstanding. I had the chance to read and blurb the collection recently and I can’t believe how different it is from other work being published, and how hard it was to stop reading.
I’d also (yes, you asked for one but I’m giving two) would recommend Helen McClory’s On the Edges of Vision. It just came out and the stories are weird and patient and full, and altogether a joy to read.
If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?
Whoever would buy me the drink. I think Saunders would do that—buy me the first drink and then be understanding when I didn’t buy him the next and just left the bar, but who knows. Anyway, if not Saunders, then Patrick DeWitt, only because that’d be like drinking with a cowboy, which is enjoyable, probably.
What are you working on now? What’s next?
I’ve kinda lost the will to write—I get frustrated very quickly with it. The last thing I wrote was a flash piece that got picked up by NANO Fiction, but that was a month or so ago. I don’t know. I feel the itch but don’t want to scratch it.
What takes up most of my time is Third Point Press, which is a pleasure to be editor in chief of. It’s hard to justify writing anything when you can just read so much good work and help writers get that good work out into the open. I suspect I’ll be doing more and more work on that side—the helping other writers side—than anything I’ll be doing for myself.
Our thanks to Matthew for taking the time to answer a few questions and share his work. Read Matthew’s short story here: www.sequestrum.org/the-hermit-of-wilson-cave.
Matthew Kabik is the editor in chief of Third Point Press. He earned his MFA from Arcadia University and lives in Lancaster PA. His work appears in Structo Lit Mag, Duende, Pithead Chapel, and Luna Luna Mag, among others. Follow him on Twitter @mlkabik or visit his website for a complete pub listing: www.matchstickcircus.com.