Website of Sabrina Orah Mark - included Links to sime Short Stories
You May Read “Wild Milk here
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
“When we say a story is like a fairy tale, what do we mean? Usually there is an evil stepmother, children on the verge of being eaten, spells, talking animals, forests, three wishes, three paths, three sons, magic eggs or beans or cakes. Usually there is hunger and a dead mother. Usually there is a witch. We turn to fairy tales not to escape but to go deeper into a terrain we’ve inherited: the vast and muddy terrain of the human psyche. Fairy tales, like glass coffins, like magic mirrors, give transparency to the reflection of the human gaze. Fairy tales are homemade stories turned inside out.” -
SABRINA ORAH MARK
Wild Milk, a debut collection of Short Stories by Sabrina Orah Mark, published by Dorothy, A Publishing Project, is drawing raves through the literary internet and in mainstream press reviews. I really wanted to read one of her stories.
Today i will try to say a few things about the title story in the collection, “Wild Milk”.
My reaction upon first reading (Reading time about five minutes or so) was “my this is strange”. The opening lines made me think of a dystopic future day care facility designed to turn babies into future drones in Trump's America, a world steeped in ignorance with no anchor values.
"On the first day of Live Oak Daycare, all the children are given shovels and a small bag of dirt. “We encourage the children—even the babies, especially the babies—to work hard, imaginatively.” Miss Birdy, my son’s teacher, winks. She sits my baby boy in the middle of the floor with his shovel and dirt. He is not even a year old. I look around. The babies are happy. I have never seen such happy babies. Chewing on their shovels. Spreading around their dirt. Miss Birdy gives me a hug. I wave goodbye to my boy, but he doesn’t see me. “Go, go,” says Miss Birdy. “He’s in good hands.” She shows me her hands. They remind me, for some reason, of my hands."
Schooling for the children in the 99 bottom percent is playing in the dirt, meaningless activity.
As I read on in the story I see many plays on words, it begins to seem like a lesson in saying what you mean, on staying sane in a very dumbed down world, Alice in Wonderlandish.
The story on rereading might be best enjoyed as a surrealistic riff, another writer recently brought into print by Dorothy Publishing, Leonora Carrington came to mind, though her stories are a bit more linear.
Miss Birdy tells the mother the milk, from her breast, is wild milk and cannot be used,. There is some much very interesting word play.
Now I think maybe the story is about how being a mother can drive you crazy.
I can see it as about trying to know what is real, seeing the social interaction of children, caregivers themselves very surreal and mothets.
"Wild Milk", which I did read four times, was above all a lot of fun.
I will be reading many more of her stories in 2019, I hope.
From the author's website
"Sabrina Orah Mark grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She earned a BA from Barnard College, Columbia University, an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in English from the University of Georgia. She is the author of the book-length poetry collections The Babies (2004), winner of the Saturnalia Book Prize chosen by Jane Miller, and Tsim Tsum (2009), as well as the chapbook Walter B.’s Extraordinary Cousin Arrives for a Visit & Other Tales from Woodland Editions. Her collection of stories, Wild Milk, will be published by Dorothy in 2018. Mark’s awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, and a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her poetry and stories most recently appear in American Short Fiction, The Bennington Review, Tin House (Open Bar), The Collagist, jubilat, The Believer, and have been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2007, Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (2006), and My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (2010). She has taught at Agnes Scott College, University of Georgia, Rutgers University, University of Iowa, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Goldwater Hospital and throughout the New York City and Iowa Public School System. She lives in Athens Georgia with her husband, Reginald McKnight, and their two sons."