Not to tease too much, but I’m getting really excited ’bout this secret project I’m wrapping up. Details to come shortly, I promise—all should be public right after the New Year, if not a little sooner. In the meantime, though, I can only hint at the nature of the yarn: It involves a son of Appalachia who started off life as a child coal miner, and ended up a much-revered musical legend.
Given how my protagonist spent his formative years, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the hardships faced by coal miners in the early twentieth century. That line of inquiry alerted me to the existence of Misère au Borinage, a silent 1933 documentary often touted as the best coal-mining film of all time. Not sure I agree with that assessment, but it is fascinating to see how Wallonian miners operated during the Great Depression. Suffice to say that ever since seeing clips of this movie, I have felt super-guilty about the relative luxury of my own working life. I’m sure these miners would have killed for paying gigs that entailed sitting in padded chairs and lifting nothing heavier than a 13-inch MacBook Pro.
A comprehensive list of coal-mining films can be found here. Not many comedies on that list.