Stories about Purgatorium: Kevin Craig on Dubious Pickles
Welcome to the first blog in this series, where we'll explore the stories behind the stories in ID Press' inaugural anthology, Purgatorium - The Element of Horror.
The anthology will be released on January 22nd at the Copper Branch Restaurant in Brooklin (see the invite here), and is currently available for purchase through Amazon (in both hard copy and e-copy formats), as well as Kobo.
In this series, we'll be talking about the stories in the order in which they appear in the anthology. First up is Kevin Craig and his story, Dubious Pickles and the Curiosity of Arbour Levesque.
Kevin explains where Dubious Pickles came from...
Where did it come from?
Dubious Pickles is one of those characters who just would not die. He has seen several incarnations, including one as the playful slightly insane hero of the full-length mid-grade novel Dubious Pickles & the Space Between the Walls. I originally set out to write an homage story to the late great Roald Dahl. The grandeur of Dahl inspired the grandeur of Dubious. I wanted a world that was somewhat turned on its ear, or fallen ass-over-tea-kettle over itself, as my grandmother would say. Each incarnation featured an eccentric house filled with secrets and impossibilities. The house was always, in fact, one of the story's main characters.
After writing the novel, I felt it wasn't quite right to bring into the light of day. I didn't polish it. I didn't attempt to submit it. The farthest I got was to write a synopsis. In it, I had such catchy lines as 'Arbour witnesses a walking talking plastic man, a flying cat and a staircase that does everything twice' and 'When drowning the boys in a room of pearls doesn't do the trick, he tosses them into a cavernous abyss that takes them all to Nowhere Fast.'
Yes, Nowhere Fast was actually a place in the novel. It was arrived at by entering a portal found inside the indoor pool room of Dubious's mansion. It was a nasty place, Nowhere Fast, a cold barren land where nothing could live for very long. I had no business forcing the kids to go there.
Dubious was just too big for me. He scared me. The way the boys disappeared into his mansion and later befriended him. The way his evil was merely a manifestation of his lifetime of being shunned by society. The way he later saved the town he shared with the boys and their parents, who were none other than the ones who had made his life a living hell in the first place. It was all just too much.
When Purgatorium came around, there was only one character whispering sweet nothings in my ear...the much used, much maligned, much misunderstood Dubious Pickles. It was time to take this silly man out of the drawer in which I had tightly jammed him. He told me he could be all bad, if need be. He was happy to give up the idea of being the eccentric hero in a twisted Dahl-esque novel for a staring role as the ghost of boogieman in a short story. And so I wrote Dubious Pickles and the Curiosity of Arbour Levesque.
Kevin Craig writes. But he is so much more than writer. His tombstone, were he to pick its words himself, might say something like:
Here lies a human who felt all the things, walked all the paths, tasted all the colours. Kevin loved his children deeply, idolized his grandchildren madly, adored his partner, and cherished the life he had been given. He was a traveler of places and an explorer of the human condition. He never believed in bios. He will remember this lifetime forever and he will fight for eternity to rise again.
Watch this space for additional stories about the stories.
Find out more about Purgatorium here.
Find out more about ID Press here.