My friend, Erik Secker, has reached that most special of milestones for a writer: his first published story, “The Red Door.” You can find it in the current online edition of Farrago’s Wainscot, a “Gallery of Weirds.”
I love this story, not just for its clean, neatly colored writing, its excellent sense of place and time, but for its history. I read one of the early drafts of this story, when it sprawled with ideas I couldn’t quite collect into a coalescent whole.
The published version has come a long way, transforming along the way into a surrealist parable evocative of one of Baudelaire’s prose poems from Paris Spleen, or even into a moment of deadpan absurdity right out of Alfred Jarry. The definition of a surrealist writing — if I can channel Andre Breton for a moment — is its reliance on the strength, subjective clarity, and complete insupportability of knowledge and experience culled from the dream state. We dream a thing. It feels real. It has meaning. But it’s not real. And its meaning is open to interpretation, based almost entirely on the presentation, order, and gravity of its imagery.
If you think you know what’s behind the red door, you’re probably right. Aren’t you?