We recently published Erik Fuhrer’s magical “Spider Plant.”

Here, we ask him two questions about his story.


1) I love how your writing makes the unusual seem so … not mundane or commonplace, but not unexpected either. Like you’ve created this world where of course a magician removes their head and leaves it behind. How do you manage that trick of making the unreal seem so natural?

I usually start each story I write with an image that gets stuck in my head. For this story, it was the image of hair growing like a spider plant. Once I have the image, I begin to build a narrative around it. I must have also had an episode of the X-Files, in which a magician rotates his head 360 degrees as a final act, in my thoughts while writing, as I am reminded of this episode every time I reread the piece. Television shows like the X-Files often balance absurdity with reality so masterfully that I usually totally buy unrealistic premises like the one described above. I think my writing is very much influenced by this type of visual storytelling.

2) The magician’s body walks home in the rain, and there’s that great moment, “each drop feels to the magician like swallowing used to feel.” Was that always the description for that moment, or had you considered anything else?

This line was always the description there. I am very interested in the juxtaposition of sound and image when I write. This line grew from this juxtaposition. I can also feel the image viscerally in my throat when I reread the piece. It’s as if my entire body played a part in the creation of this line.