It turns out that dragging yourself out of the grave takes time, and we’re so grateful you stuck with us as The Golden Key has worked over the past several months to slowly, surely bring ourselves back to life. It feels fitting that, although this issue was delayed from our initial schedule, we’re finally starting to publish as the world (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least) is beginning to wake itself from winter’s long, cold sleep. We’re excited about this second chance at life, and invigorated by the possibilities we see ahead of us. We’re also delighted by the work we’ve selected for this issue, each piece a lovely and unsettling take on resurrection.
One thing you may notice as you read these pieces: when you come back from the dead, strange things follow. Whether it’s the curious outpouring of detritus from a dead wolf’s stomach, as in Shahé Mankerian’s “Second Birth”, or the revenant spirit of an opera singer in Gordon Brown’s “The Ghost’s Story”, the return has unexpected consequences.
Sometimes, resurrection is a fluke, an improbable occurrence beyond belief, as is the case in Maria Mills’ “The Coldest Woman Still Alive”. Other times, as in Ann DeVilbiss’ “Medium”, that journey in and out of death is a ritual entered into again and again.
In Shelby Tuthill’s “I Followed Lydia Into the Great Thaw”, this journey is mysterious and charged with dark sensuality. The resurrection in Lisa Baird’s “Aftermath” is hopeful, while it’s humorous in Mark Danowsky’s “Before and After the Battle of Los Angeles”, which sketches the strange second life and adventures of an iconic figure of contemporary American mythology.
Though many of the pieces in this issue treat our theme literally, resurrection is not always one of literally death and rebirth. Sometimes it is one of radical transformation, as in Renjana S.’s “Serpentes Love” and Jeffrey MacLachlan’s “When Tigers Used to Smoke”. This is certainly true for The Golden Key, which lives on, but in a different form. This kind of change can be frightening and challenging, but it is also exhilarating. Exhilarating is certainly a good word for the pieces in this issue — they sing out in surprising phrases and open onto stunning views. They are alive to the world’s possibilities, because of — and not despite — the darkness waiting on the other side.
We hope you’re as excited as we are for all the wonderful things to come over the next several weeks, as we begin to publish the stories and poems in this issue. We’ll be sharing the first piece from Issue 7: Resurrected Things next week, and every other week subsequently.
— Lindsay Fowler & Carlea Holl-Jensen