In Blackwood, Michael Farris Smith takes us down a creepy, kudzu-covered trail where a vicious predator prowls, and sometimes the truth seems better unseen. The best times in Red Bluff, Mississippi, are long gone. Vacant and crumbling, the town’s offer of free housing fails to attract anyone, except for Colburn, a sculptor and drifter who lived in Red Bluff long ago. As a child, Colburn experienced the horrific trauma of witnessing his father’s death. But as the story unfolds, the events leading to his father’s demise deliver a series of gut punches that are nearly impossible to shake off. Smith weaves the fatalistic tale with sensitivity but leaves us unsettled. As we read Colburn’s painful ruminations, echoed by a rotting house smothered in kudzu, we learn of his despair. His loneliness. His unshakeable fear that reminds him he’s alive. Psychic threads connect the characters like tangled vines. Colburn and the boy pay retribution to their miserable fathers. Savage huma
Early mornings, nights, and weekends, I write fiction. But my day job is writing fundraising copy. It's a great gig, and I feel fortunate that my words help people in need. Here are some tips that I wrote for my agency — they're geared toward fundraising copy, but my process is the same for fiction, too.