550
550
4

Help JM finish book and tour

$30,755 of $21,500 goal

Raised by 550 people in 7 months
Created June 11, 2018
JM
Dear Friends,

I'm writing from the road, with great reluctance,  to ask for your help.  If you were planning to donate to a friend's medical emergency, disaster relief, legal aid for refugees, or an anti-Trump cause, please do that instead. 

But if you'd like to help me out, here's the situation.

For 15 years, I've been lucky enough to cobble together a living from the arts—writing words and music, releasing albums and touring with Loma, Shearwater, Okkervil River, and others; and for the past five years I've also been working on a non-fiction book, The Feathered People, that's due by December of this year.  

But like many people I know who've stayed in this field over the long term, these projects have come with debts that only seem to grow. And in the current tour of the US and Europe, they've come to a head—even with generous support from our record label.

Every tour is a gamble by nature, and most lose money; but this one, though musically rewarding, has been especially hard financially.  To make sure all the musicians, agents, and rental agencies (excluding me) are paid, I have to raise  $6500 in the next ten days—a burden I can't carry, having run my credit to the limit. I don't think I could count the number of times people have urged me to keep going; but when I've had to put $10,000 on a credit card to support a tour where musicians are paid well under minimum wage,  I wonder not if it's worth it—it certainly is—but if it's possible at all. 

Then there's the book.  

I'm nearly finished with a draft of The Feathered People. It's a wild yarn—a travel/natural history epic about a strange group of social, intelligent birds of prey that live only in South America; it's also about a biological mystery that stumped Darwin, and a nearly-forgotten South American writer who changed the way we think about animals.  As soon as I return home, I'm going to be focused on completing it, so that I can finally share it with you (and start working on some new music).  

But to do that, and to spend the dedicated time I need to make it happen, I have to find a way to make the rest of the year's rent and basic living expenses. $5000 would go a long way toward that goal. 

So that's why the big number at the top of this page, which is much larger than I'd like it to be; and honestly, I'd much rather not be making this request at all. 

But I've run out of options; and so I'm asking for your help to bring these projects into port, and to continue to share them with you. My life in the arts has been tough but wonderful, and I've been lucky enough to share it with many talented and hard-working people I don't want to let down.  And if you, or someone you know, is able to help me through this bottleneck of a time, you'll help ensure that there are more words and music from me for years to come. 
 
All best, and with deepest thanks - 

JM
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Update 2
Posted by Jonathan Meiburg
7 months ago
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Dear Friends,

I woke up today feeling that a weight had been lifted, and that a path had been cleared.

You didn't just meet my long-shot goal, you blew past it. In a single day.

Thanks to you, the tour debts will be paid. The agents and backline companies will receive their fees. The other musicians will be able to pay their rent for the months they were away from home; and I'll return without having to scramble immediately to make my own. Ten days from now, when I climb the stairs to my apartment, I can open the door, set down my bag, clear off my desk, and open my manuscript again without wondering how I'm going to make it through the next few months.

That you did all of this in 24 hours, and with such bewildering expressions of moral and financial support, has completely floored me, to put it mildly. It's making me reassess how I might be able to go forward in life and work. (I'd have had to sell about 50,000 physical albums, for example—a colossal and nearly unreachable number in this day and age—to see anything like this return). So I'll be thinking about this for a bit. I won't be sending out another plea like this anytime soon (or ever, I hope); but I'll be thinking hard to find a way to proceed in this work that doesn't skate so close to the edge, or at least not all the time.

Many of you have privately urged me to extend the goal; so even though that feels a bit weird to me, I'm going to go for it, and leave the campaign open until next Wednesday. Every bit above the initial goal will bring the end of the book that much closer, and new Loma/Shearwater music easier to begin; and it lets me dream a little more. I could retire some tour debts that have been a drag on the band since 2012. I could even devote some time to starting that screenplay I've been thinking about, for a film that would be unlike anything I've seen.

But this is strictly a bonus round now. You've already turned up for me when I needed it most, and then some. I'll try to live up to your gift, and return it as best I can. I certainly won't forget it.

In deepest gratitude, love, and thanks -

JM
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Update 1
Posted by Jonathan Meiburg
7 months ago
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Dear friends, known and unknown - I’m 15 minutes from going on stage with Loma in Rotterdam, but am so stunned by your response to my request that I’m not sure I’ll even be able to remember the songs. You’ve rescued me (and my colleagues) from what felt like an impossible situation—and in only fourteen hours. (!!!!).

I’ll write at more length tomorrow, but please know that I’m overwhelmed and teary with gratitude, not least for the incredibly kind and supportive words you’ve left in the comments. This must be what crowd-surfing feels like.

Love to all. I wish I could hug you.

JM
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$30,755 of $21,500 goal

Raised by 550 people in 7 months
Created June 11, 2018
JM
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