Sunday, August 11, 2013

"A Moment in the Sun" entrenches us in much of American history at the turn of the 20th century

A Moment in the Sun

It took me time to read this book, close to 1000 pages. This epic takes 
the reader from the gold rush in the Yukon to America's incursions in 
Cuba and then the Phillipines, with lengthy stays in Wilmington, NC, 
New York  City, and other parts of the United States around the turn 
of  the 20th century. Sayles captures the lives of regular people, 
communicating in authentic voices and reflecting their times. I can 
only say that it is an incredible look  at history  through individuals 
and  families caught up in the times. 

I particularly was intrigued by the Lunceford family.  Driven from 
Wilmington by racists, Dr. Lunceford attempts to start life anew in 
New York peddling cures door-to-door, while his son Junior joins 
the Army, and pianist Jessie ends up working in a factory in 
dehumanizing conditions. Grimness, pain, and sorrow abound, but
 there is some joy as well. As I read the final chapters, I was sorry 
these tales of many were coming to an end. 

The final pages of the book shock and lead to much reflection about 
what was just read. For those interested in authentic historical 
fiction peopled by well-rounded characters (interspersed with true 
figures from history),  this book is highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Photo courtesy of :Walter Sargent, UM-Farmington -- Homestead and its mill in the 1890s

The time spent writing and refining my script on the 1892 bloody battle between steelworkers against Pinkertons hired by Carnegie Steel Company has been worthwhile.  Of course, the script isn't just about the battle. I've developed a storyline that focuses on two families (Welsh and Romanian), the union leaders, and Henry Clay Frick's role.  Andrew Carnegie is the backstory as, I believe, he always intended to be when he took his trip to Scotland as the tensions grew between the union and Frick.   I visited Homestead several times in the 1990s, before the last remnants of the mill were destroyed and a shopping center arose.  Typical.  There is a monument to the workers on the land, but nothing that recounts the incredible and shocking events.  I read journals and books written during the 1890s and early 1900s.  There were congressional hearings, and those transcripts provided some valuable background.   I hope that now is the time, with "Lincoln," doing well,  historically based scripts may sell.

So, I'm now in the marketing stage.  Here's hoping I can finally get some serious interest in this story. I have some contacts and methods for getting some looks, but if anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them.