The Harbor has been known to be an inspiration for artists of all kinds. Painters, photographers, writers and so many others draw upon the area’s fascinating history, stories, architecture, and most commonly, natural beauty to create their art. For one individual, Tom Brosman, the story is no different, as Grays Harbor County has been a source of his writing for many years.
Born and raised in Eastern Washington, Brosman grew up on a farm hunting, fishing, writing, and enjoying the solace of his upbringing. With the nearest town of Addy being made up of only 99 people, he experienced an idyllic childhood that many encounter living in rural parts of Grays Harbor.
While attending Jenkins High School in Chewelah, Brosman played football with teammate and now well-known Harbor local, Randy Ross, who played quarterback while Brosman was the starting center. As the years progressed, the two got to know one another on and off the field, all while Brosman worked to expand his writing.
Upon graduation from high school, Brosman attended Washington State University (WSU) and simultaneously farmed for his dad and fought forest fires in the summer. “I thoroughly enjoyed fighting forest fires and the food on the big fires was excellent,” states Brosman. “I was raised without a mother and the bachelor Bosmans, my dad, uncle, and brother, were lousy cooks.”
In 1977, after graduating from WSU with a degree in English literature and education, Brosman began work as a teacher. “It dawned on me, only after graduating, that actually I didn’t really like kids,” explains Brosman. While exiting the education workforce, he went on to work various other jobs including as a field technician for Verizon Wireless and for a phone company in Richland where he diligently hung on poles working on phone cables around the country.
With deregulation, the phone company laid off a third of their workforce, forcing Brosman, who explained the job loss upset him as though he was a jilted lover, to search for a new career. “Fortunately,” states Brosman, “I have worked for the Washington State Patrol as a senior radio technician for almost 20 years and like it a lot. I maintain mountain radio sites with snowcats in the winter and 911 centers. The patrol is the first place I have worked where they want you to make a career of it.”
Over the years while working and continuing to write along the way, Brosman has lived many places, two of those being Montesano and Aberdeen. From Grays Harbor, Tom drew incredible inspiration that led him to write many short stories and poems for the State Patrol, two of which were published in The Washington State Troopers Association Magazine. One of the stories, “The Trooper and the Trapper,” paints a picture of an unlikely friendship born from a trooper being rescued by a kind professional fur trapper who lived in Neilton. The second story, entitled “The Last Stop of the Night,” details a touching full circle story of a trooper saving a mother and daughter who later enter his life in an unexpected way.
Brosman’s love of writing stretches beyond State Patrol-inspired stories diving into love, mystery and many other story lines. “Silver Heart” is a short story transporting readers directly into life in Grays Harbor. The below is an excerpt:
Three Coho salmon with dark green backs and chrome colored sides rested in the clear water of Charlie Creek. They were less than a mile from home, where they would spawn. They could smell their “home waters” where they began their lives. Charlie Creek was eight feet across. It drained with the outgoing tide into Grays Harbor and at full tide it was several feet deep. The three great fish had made the perilous trip home from the ocean into Grays Harbor and found the smell of Charlie Creek like the welcoming porch light to a weary traveler. It was a journey to spawn and start more journeys.
“Other than these,” says Brosman, “I have written many other short stories and poems for the State Patrol. I also wrote a novel called “Soul Dance” that focuses on the loss of hope. The main character is a forester who lives in Aberdeen and has been deeply abused by women. Then a man-hating waitress moves to town and goes to work at the forester’s favorite diner. The story is about great forests of timber, a prison breakout and the stories of the people who came to live their lives in Grays Harbor, the most beautiful place on earth.” Throughout part one of his novel, there is hunting, fishing and a Native American spin on several chapters.
In part two of “Soul Dance,” readers will be faced with a prison break where the waitress’s child was abducted by the escapees. The forester, Will, led a quiet life, until the child, Tad, was abducted. No one had a clue that in the Vietnam War, Will, the forester, was a decorated Marine Sniper. Brosman continues to explain that this story features an abundance of both heartache and joy, lots of wildlife and the forest references, and a Blackfoot warrior who grew up on the banks of the Musselshell River. “Soul Dance” part one and part two can be found on Amazon.
Brosman’s love of Grays Harbor and writing can be found in all his stories written on the area and are a joy to read and consume.