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Adventures in Creativity

Sue Parman is an anthropologist and award-winning author and artist who writes in a number of genres, from poetry and anthropological travel memoirs to horror, science fiction, and fairy tales. Born in Connecticut, raised in Iowa and New Mexico, marooned for years in California, she now lives happily in Oregon where she hikes forested trails, stalks Powell's labyrinthine bookstore, and enjoys a sane public transportation system. Before Covid she traveled frequently, from the mysterious stone gardens of Bomarzo, Italy, to the Scottish Outer Hebrides where she studied a crofting community for over thirty years.

 

As an anthropologist she published six books (including Scottish Crofters, 2nd edition 2005) and numerous articles on diverse topics. Her favorite articles in anthropology focus on the intersection of science and the humanities, such as "An Evolutionary Theory of Dreaming and Play" first published in the book Forms of Play of Native North Americans edited by Edward Norbeck and Claire R. Farrer (1979) and revised for inclusion in her book The Dream in Western Culture (2021); and "Lot's Wife and the Old Salt: Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Attitudes toward Salt in Relation to Diet," Cross-Cultural Research (2002). For its sheer playfulness she is proud of the article that was published in Journeys: The International Journal of Travel and Travel Writing (2002) called "A Harrowing True Mysterious Pilgrimage Travel Adventure on the Road Less Traveled (by Bike/Camel/Motorcycle/Ultralight) into the Heart of a Dark Lost Island as Told by the Sole Survivor of a Zen Odyssey among Jaguars, Serpents, and Savages: Travel as Western Cultural Practice Revealed by the Titles of Travel Books."

 

Other aspects of her life—her years as Department Chair, president of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, author of a million-dollar grant for a research and teaching facility, chairman of the board of the Human Relations Area Files at Yale—are memories of dreams that signify little. Her current goals are much more ambitious: to contribute to beauty. She aspires to be like that awkward beast in C.S. Lewis's Perelandra who prefers to remain only a song in the wilderness.

 

 

 

ART
 
Art is accident, angle, an inward
explosion like a lightbulb, a forward
impulse, a meeting
of your own mind, suddenly,
as if you'd met a stranger,
a body naked seen from behind—
a fresh view, a new knowing,
an idea on its way to becoming
itself, only more intensely,
more fraut with the inwardly.
 
Art is the making of a riddle from a solution,
like a ball turned constantly in the hand
as if each turn brought to view a new land, a key
to the cabinet of curiosity
in which reside the bits and pieces of the self--
those jeweled splinters encased in the pitch of a chaotic sea,
all shimmer and float.  Art coats
a bird with incandescent plumage,
digs gold in the cloister with koi, and even
in the shadowy soil of dishwater shows us Eden.