Like thousands of restless men left unmoored in the wake of the 2008 economic crash, Michael Patrick Smith arrived in the fracking boomtown of Williston, North Dakota five years later homeless, unemployed, and desperate for a job. Renting a mattress on a dirty flophouse floor, he slept boot to beard with migrant men who came from all across America and as far away as Jamaica, Africa and the Philippines. They ate together, drank together, argued like crows and searched for jobs they couldn’t get back home. Smith’s goal was to find the hardest work he could do – to find out if he could do it.
His book this time in his life is "The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown."
Michael Patrick F. Smith is a folksinger and playwright currently based in central Kentucky. His plays, including Woody Guthrie Dreams and Ain’t No Sin, have been staged in Baltimore and New York. As a musician, he has shared the stage with folk luminaries such as Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, as well as several prominent indie rock bands. Smith has also worked as a stage actor, a bartender, junk hauler, furniture mover, book store clerk, contractor, receptionist, event producer, driver, office temp, stage hand, waiter, security guard, set fabricator, legal assistant, grocer, oil field hand, and now writer.