GRANGEVILLE – “These writings grew out of a time of trauma, after my father died,” author Paula Coomer spoke to a book club of 10 participants Thursday, Oct. 24, at The Gallery.
The group read and discussed Coomer’s newest book of intertwined short stories, “Somebody Should Have Scolded the Girl.”
Coomer, who lives in Garfield, Wash., said she had no idea as she was writing the stories that they would ever become anything; however, as time went on, each story fell in place like a puzzle piece that made the book.
“Some stories are based on personal experiences, some on things I have heard, and all are from little pings of things I know,” she explained, adding much imaginative writing rubs up against trauma as its base.
The author said she felt the need to really “pour myself into the stories,” to deal with what was going on in her life.
She explained there are many taboos in each culturae – even talking about certain ethnicities within ones family tree, or feelings of longing or dealing with death – and she wanted to take those prohibited topics away.
“I became my family’s truth teller, uncovering all those hidden things,” she said.
Coomer said the work unintentionally became a “feminist work.”
However, not everyone agreed with this.
“I didn’t see them as feminist stories, but more of resilience,” Laura Embry said.
Meleah McCulley called them “refreshing.”
“It certainly shows you can choose what to let bother you in life,” added Marlene O’Neill.
The group agreed the characters in Coomer’s books were ones that “stick with you. Ones you cannot quite get over.”
Coomer loaned 20 copies of her book to the Grangeville Centennial Library that were checked out to those who wished to read it. Coomer signed copies of books for those who purchased them.
Coomer’s other books include Jagged Edge of the Sky, Dove Creek, Summer of Government Cheese, Nurses Who Love English and Blue Moon Vegetarian. A long-time teacher of writing, she has been a nominee for the Pulitzer, the Pushcart, and a number of other awards. She coaches writers and organizes and facilitates Clearwater Writers, a retreat program on the Wild and Scenic Clearwater River near Syringa. Somebody Should Have Scolded the Girl is her second collection of short stories.