Poet Sabrina Orah Mark is the author of Wild Milk , a collection of surreal short stories that marks her debut in fiction. Though short, these stories are deep as the ocean blue. You can drown or swim in them and enjoy yourself either way.
Jana Horn: I recently read your book Wild Milk. I think it rocks. And it totally surprised me, which is my favorite feeling as reader. Although the stories maintain a certain semblance of reality, they seem to actually exist in a plane that rests in various heights above and below the tangible world. Or are these stories imagined—to be taken as their own world with their own logic?
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Sabrina Orah Mark: If reality is at the center, then my stories exist one step off by a notch, a letter, a hair, a slant. It asks me to consider how the imagination hatches the real, and how the real can often slip into the imaginary. For instance, the title story takes place in a daycare, which is a familiar setting, but when Miss Birdy, the teacher, opens her mouth, her speech is unraveled, almost nonsensical.
Could you speak about how you create, develop, and think about character? Like a spool of thread. Sometimes a name will start bringing a character into focus, sometimes an utterance.
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JH: Miss Birdy is the realest blizzard! I love it. Or is it pre-planned? She then follows the Rabbi out of the goat phew and into an apartment where she is slowly dying, becoming very famous, and married with others who are also following him. To what extent do these scenarios, so derailed, come out of the actual writing of the scenario? Or do you know where things are going beforehand? Many of his paintings include Hebrew letters, lines from the Torah.
He told me when he paints he pays as much attention to the space between the letters as he does to the letters themselves. Gorgeous creatures. They too had shape.
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They too told stories. Poets often work in these hidden spaces with their ears pressed to the cracks in the walls.
As a poet now writing fiction, I pay close attention to those silent spots in a line of prose. They happen as the lines unspool, and the letters form. JH: You mention a switch from poetry to fiction.
Was that organic? Has your process changed as well? What attracted you to writing fiction? So I would stop, and start, and stop again. Fair enough. Use an ashtray. Still no superheroes.
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Do you know why that is? Immigrants should be allowed to wear what they like. I got ten just the other day. Eight of them from my girlfriend.
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I was lying to get sex. His secretary was surprisingly nice about it. I got the bike. That's why our new email newsletter will deliver a mobile-friendly snapshot of inews.
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