I am half-way to my Kickstarter goal for the “Merlyn Project” The biography of my dear friend and fabled northern bush pilot. 12 days into it with 24 to go. I am surprised by how energized I have become by the interest and support of this project.
The biggest boosts are the positive comments and the encouragement from people who knew Merlyn and who have been patiently waiting for someone to write a biography and to do it right. There have also been notes from backers that have read my first two books and are just anxious for another good read (I hope I don’t disappoint). The backing from former students has also touched my heart, (some with young families are being too generous). I have also been surprised by the reach of the Internet. A contribution came in from Schenectadian Chip Sutton. Chip was my best pal when I was in grade 4 and I had not talked with him for over a half-century. Backing from fellow paddlers and friends that have joined me on arctic expeditions, Boundary Waters trips and Rio Grande adventures, and who know Merlyn only through my stories, have also been gratifying. As has support from arctic adventurers who have experienced the courage and character of northern bush pilots. Then there are others that have just caught the enthusiasm for this project and want to be part of it. I appreciate all of it. More than anything, the broad base of support has galvanized my commitment to writing a book that is extraordinary.
The Kickstarter process is all or nothing. I must reach or exceed my goal, or there is no funding. So please keep spreading the word. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/41581646/merlyn-carter-the-biography-of-an-uncommon-bushpil
Even more important than financial backing will be the stories. Talking with Jeanie the other day she spoke sadly that so many of Merlyn’s good friends have passed. Hopefully, even some of these stories can be rescued by second party accounts. So please, if you are holding a piece of northern history that includes Merlyn Carter, whether you were there or whether the story was shared with you by a parent or friend or maybe you just overheard it in a bar, please reach out to me. E-mail would be best firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to meet with you and record the story. As I have said, face to face, is my priority. But if distance or time make that impossible we could talk over the phone, or you could e-mail me what you have.
Some prospective backers have asked me, “Why not do your interviewing by phone or skype, and then you will not need that expense money?” That would be expedient, but I just cannot believe that I would get the same depth of story over a phone. My vision is to be in a coffee shop, sitting by a wood stove, and spend some real time fleshing out the story. I also need to stand on a frozen lake when it’s 50 below and remember Merlyn rolling a 45-gallon drum or slinging boxes of whitefish into CZP. I believe the “voice” of the book will be as important as the content.
Some backers are worried about the high cost of Northern airfare and that $6,500 won’t be nearly enough. I am going to solve a lot of that problem by driving my car north and using it for transport as much as possible. Having my vehicle will give me the freedom to follow leads and extend or shorten my stays as needed. It will also help me appreciate the vast distances of territory which Merlyn crisscrossed for so many years. If I run short of financing, I will find a way. Nine years in the North taught me one thing, when there is a will, there is a way.
First let’s hit that goal.https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/41581646/merlyn-carter-the-biography-of-an-uncommon-bushpil
List of backers so far, starting with most recent:
Henry T. Wang
Bull Moose Patrol
Fred Shermock aka Jacque
Mary Jean Blaisdell