Susan Pashman

Love My Philosopher's Garden


Writing is the destination I arrived at after a long journey.

I began as a Physics major, did my graduate work in Philosophy, and taught Philosophy at Adelphi University until, as a single mother, I realized I needed a more lucrative career. I became a lawyer, and worked on Wall Street -- doing Credit Default Swaps, if you can believe that -- until my sons' college careers were assured.

Finally released from my financial burden, I moved from New York to Sag Harbor, a snug old whaling village on the East End of Long Island where I had spent childhood summers. There, I joined a writing group and soon completed my first novel, The Speed of Light.

I have continued writing fiction and humorous essays, and have also returned to teaching Philosophy.

When the house I designed for myself was built, I decided I needed to know more about landscape design. I started commuting to Harvard's Landscape Institute in Cambridge and, in 2008, received my degree. Two years later, I completed a Master's degree in Landscape Aesthetics -- Philosophy again -- at The Inchbald School of Design at The University of Wales. Still had so much more to say ont he subject, so I entered STony Brook University's Philosophy Department and completed a doctoral dissertation in December, 2013, entitled "The Kinesthetic Basis of Lnadscape Art." As I transform this nto a book, I am working on short articles based on the dissertation.

A second non-fiction book is also in the works; a philosophical investigation of the moral basis for Sabbath-keeping in the present, secular, age. This is taking the form of a personal memoir, my own journey toward meaning in the practice of sabbath observance.

For those who are awaiting my new novel, "An Interpretation of Dreams," I can report that it is coming close to publication. WATCH THIS SITE!!!

Selected Works

Short Story
The narrator reflects on a photo in the Sunday newspaper showing his parents in a hilarious mood as they are interviewed about their new book, a guide for parents grieving the loss of a child. On the shelf behind them are photos of the son they lost, the brother of the narrator. As two social workers, they have made careers of their grief; their other son has somehow been lost along the way as their careers blossomed.
The quadruplets were headed for fame and fortune until the death of their youngest sister rendered them "an incomplete set."
Locating the record in my collection is easy; locating a 78 rpm record player proves far more difficult. Finally, one turns up in the cellar of a neighbor and I purchase online a device for creating digital files from old pressed records. “Hello, Susan, hello, Judy,” says an instantly familiar voice, speaking directly to me and my baby sister. “This is Grandpa Louie. I’m going to sing a song for you. In Yiddish. Rozhinkas Mit Mandelen.” Raisins With Almonds, an Eastern European lullaby. He stumbles over the words, hums the tune for a while, and ends with a series of nonsense syllables to bring the melody home. I play it over and over. The voice has many strands, all straining for the proper notes. It is the richest, fullest human voice I think I have ever heard and I would know it anywhere as Grandpa’s. As he hums, I am sorting through clams and deciphering the coded messages of the eel in the bucket as he contorts himself this way and that, spelling out secret words with his body. On the flip side, Grandpa makes no announcement, simply bursts into song: Hime, hime on der range, Vehr de deer and de antelope play. Vehr never you hoid, a discouraging woid…. Did my grandfather even know the meaning of “discouraging?” I play this song so many times I’m afraid the Itunes recording will fade. I am running around in my panties on the rough wood floor of the room behind the tailor shop where Grandpa has placed a steel washtub of scalding water topped by a foam of Ivory Flakes. I am making him chase after me, but it is inevitable that I will be caught, plunked into the tub, and scrubbed within an inch of my life with what Grandpa is calling “The Clutcher Claw!”
A lyrical tale of the lure of immortality for even the most educated and sophisticated of men.
As the temperature rises, brains of autistics, stored for experimentation, begin to fret.