New book explores insights from Australian sojourn

PORT ANGELES — A new book, Inside Out Down Under: Stories from a Spiritual Sabbatical, has been published by a Port Angeles woman, Diana Somerville

Somerville, a freelance writer and editor who has been active in women’s issues on the North Olympic Peninsula, interweaves her internal journey of discovery with stories gleaned in a year of living, studying and traveling in Australia.

Sue Patton Thoele, a Boulder, Colo., psychotherapist and author of Heart Centered Marriaage, The Courage To Be Yourself and other books, describes Inside Out Down Under as “a bit like a woman’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance set in Australia.

“The story moves between past and present, dreams and ideas, and offers a soulful look at the uneasy intersection where the timeless ways of Australian Aborigines meet today’s world.”

The book, designed and produced by Ruth Marcus, a Sequim counselor, writer and artist, features a painting on its cover by an Australian Aboriginal artist, Carmel Middletent, who now lives in Clallam Bay, and was

Here’s a Q&A with Someville:

Q. What prompted the book?

A. As my 50th year approached, I knew I wanted to mark the occasion with something memorable, but I didn’t want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or embark on earning a Ph.D in religious studies or try sky diving.

After pondering the possibilities, what made sense was to turn my life upside down gently, like shaking a snow globe to see how things looked different.

Australia called to me, both because it meant living upside down in “the land down under,” and because my brother had moved there nearly 20 years before.

Q. How long did it take you to write it?

A. I kept a sort of journal, wrote letters back home about my experiences and what I was learning about the indigenous people and their connection to the land.

I was stunned to discover how powerfully the Australian landscape speaks — perhaps because over thousands of years the natives have walked virtually every inch of the surface, singing its songs, telling its stories, dancing it into life.

The sifting, sorting and shaping [for the book] — woven into the vagaries of life — has taken more than 10 years.

During that time I’ve also written hundreds of magazine articles, been a newspaper columnist, relocated to Port Angeles, took a fling at running a restaurant and import shop with the Mermaid Cafe [now Crazy Fish — Baja & Beyond, in downtown Port Angeles] and on and on.

Q. When were you in Australia?

A. I lived there from 1992 to 1993.

Q. What kind of reaction have you gotten so far?

A. People have a sense of taking the journey with me. They love the stories I’ve gathered.

Many were surprised to learn, for example, that many indigenous people consider “Aborigine” a derogatory term. (I try to remember to talk about the Koori people — a new term that’s grown out of a movement for political unity among the tribes — even though it requires some explaining.)

But what’s most surprising to me is how many readers say they enjoyed the chance to get to know me better.

That’s not at all what I expected.

Q. Where is Inside Out Down Under available for purchase on the North Olympic Peninsula?

A. Right now the book is available from Port Book and News and Odyssey bookstores in downtown Port Angeles for $18.95 plus tax.

But any bookstore can order it for you — and save your paying the shipping costs. It’s handled by Baker and Taylor and Ingrams, two of the country’s largest book distributors.

It’s available on line at — where an order includes tax and $1.25 shipping.

It’s also available on line from and — but as an independent myself, I always prefer to give my business to the independent booksellers.

(Somerville can be contacted at 360-452-1212, or e-mail [email protected])

More in Life

Sea star gazing classes at Fort Worden

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center will host sea… Continue reading

Bag of Books sale this week in Port Angeles

The Port Angeles Friends of the Library will host… Continue reading

Cyclists with Bike and Build to join community dessert

Cyclists with Bike and Build will join a community… Continue reading

Walk and talk about seals on the beach set

Deisy Bach will lead a beach walk and discuss… Continue reading

Pictured, from left to right in the front row are John Yano, Darlene Gahring, Pat Gilbert, Kathy McCormick and Beverly Dawson. 

In the middle row, from left to right are Janet Russell, Wendy Blondin, Mary Kelsoe, Pam Ehtee, Jane Marks, Marcia Kellerand Melissa Hsu 

In the back row, from left to right, Leiann Niccoli, Mary Jacoby and Emily Murphy
Summer Green Thumb award winner named

The Port Angeles Garden Club has awarded its summer Green Thumb award… Continue reading

Karen Griffiths/For Peninsula Daily News
A fine mesh fly sheet from OPEN’S used tack shop that covers the body, belly and neck, plus a fly mask, has proved the best combatant for my horse Lacey’s allergic reaction to the saliva from flying insect bites. The sheet and mask are sprayed with horse insect repellent before putting them on her. Her companion Sunny has no allergic reaction, so she just wears a fly mask to keep the flies out of her eyes.
HORSEPLAY: Horses can be allergic to bug bites, too

DON’T YOU JUST hate to go outside at dusk and get attacked… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: 8 ways to make your yard a midsummer dream

AS WE ARE now just entering the mid-season of summer, many things… Continue reading

Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News

The Sturgeon Moon, the last full supermoon of the year, emerges behind Port Townsend's Marrowstone Island and the distant Cascades, on Thursday night. The reddish color is due to the smoke from the fires in eastern Washington.
Sturgeon Moon over Marrowstone Island

The Sturgeon Moon, the last full supermoon of the year, emerges behind… Continue reading

Forest management topic of Green Thumbs presentation

Are you a landowner with a forested property? Check… Continue reading

Most Read