Every now and then we catch up with authors we’ve published over the years. This time we talk to Matthew Kabik, author of ‘A View of the Moon from the Moon’ from issue ten. We liked the story a lot, and ended up nominating it for a Pushcart Prize.
‘A View of the Moon From the Moon’ is very atmospheric. Can you remember what sparked the story?
I typically write stories like this, what I call space stories, when I get very fed up with what I’m trying to write. I write more magical realism/gothic pieces, and it’s very easy to take yourself too seriously when creating work like that. ‘A View of the Moon From the Moon’ is kind of a release, and because it’s a release I took my time with just exploring the scenes. I didn’t feel like I needed, necessarily, to come up with a big reveal or anything—it’s freeing to have a lack of expectation.
That being said, this story took off as soon as I started it. It took maybe two days to put it together in first draft, and that’s only because I took a day to imagine what it’d be like to be a regular guy on the Moon—what it’d be like to be bored with it. When you take time like that, you get the chance to look around.
Why did you send it to us?
I did it on a chance. I saw a call for submissions on Twitter, and investigated the editor to see that he liked science-y sort of stuff. Honestly, I lucked out in just doing a bit of research and hoping for the best.
What have you been up to since, writing-wise?
I’ve had some more pieces published and started up an online lit mag. I’ve taken a break from writing, actually, though I’m expecting that the break is coming to an end, soon. I’ve tinkered a bit with introducing more fairytale like elements to my stories—or at least some more traditional elements to them—and I’m pretty excited to see where that takes me.
Can you tell us about more about your magazine?
Third Point Press is only online at this point, though we’re hoping to move to small collections and single-author books in a year or two. We have a pretty eclectic take on what we want, but overall it’s work that is challenging or non-traditional. We also try to promote local (that is, within a certain range of our home in Lancaster, PA) writers and artists.
Our first issue had a bit more than 20 pieces of fiction and poetry, and each of those also had work by artists all over. I think visual appeal is something that is paramount for an online pub, so having the first issue look the way it does means the world to me.
It’s been amazing to start up, and to witness the quick success of. It’s a good amount of work, but it’s also great to read so much work and to push hard for that work to be seen. Being an editor gives huge insight into the other side of the writing world, which is fun.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned from jumping to the other side of the writer-editor fence?
I’d say there are three very surprising things.
First, how scared people are of editors. By that I mean folks will flub a submission requirement or will have a single word misspelled and instead of just sending an email or note in Submittable, they’ll withdraw their submission and never resubmit. I understand that there is a feeling editors are too busy to put up with any mistake (and honestly, it’s kinda good for us that sort of idea exists), but in actuality we’re people. Believe it or not.
Second, and to the opposite point, how often people submit material that should have another few revisions. Some stories we reject would, absolutely, be accepted if the writer did a few more revisions. Patience is a key to writing, both with yourself and with the piece.
The last thing that surprises me is how much more I respect and understand editorial decisions. Beforehand I imagined that editors and readers, if they rejected my work, were doing so because my story was horrible. Now I realize that it’s often a matter of whether the story fits alongside the other stories they’ve already accepted—or the next issue as a whole. It’s made me look at rejections as something even less painful, which is fantastic.
What are you currently working on?
I’m revising a story I wrote a few months ago loosely centred around a hermit who lived in a cavern nearby my home town—or rather trying to bring his ghost back. I’m also tinkering around with a novel idea, which I think all of us are, right?