Finding Inspiration in Coal Dust

Sometimes it takes a little push to get inspired.

I was stuck in a creative rut — doing what I needed to do but nothing truly inspired — for months. Then, I found inspiration from an unlikely source — an abandoned coal breaker in Luzerne County.

A colleague invited me to join a small crew of storytellers in exploring the Huber Breaker in Ashley, Pa. Abandoned since 1976, the breaker is currently part of a bankruptcy suit that will, in all likelihood, see the property sold and the breaker demolished.

We’re telling the breaker’s story through a series of interviews, photographs, videos and first-hand documentation of our journey. Every trip to Ashley seems to expand the project’s scope — which is, at times, both overwhelming and exhilarating.

The outside-the-box-and-comfort-zone way of thinking has boosted my creativity in all things, especially blogging. is our project’s home base. I’ll post periodic updates to Communication Art. In the meantime, check out two of my recent posts, The Shadow of Blue Coal and In Search of  Ashley’s Planes.


About Alana J. Mauger

A writer by both profession and passion, Alana J. Mauger has 15+ years of experience in the areas of journalism, corporate communications, social media, voice narration, and radio. Her non-writing interests include abstract art, music (the harder, the better), politics, ice hockey (go Flyers!) and many types of activism. Alana holds degrees in humanities, professional writing (undergraduate) and education (graduate) and is a vegan. Follow her on Twitter @alanajanelle. View all posts by Alana J. Mauger

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