Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 4, 2012.

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Woody Guthrie was born in 1912. I've spent 2012 chasing his legacy & the people carrying his torch, telling their stories.

Last New Years Eve, my friend Scott Allen wrote about Woody Guthrie's upcoming centennial. When I read it, I was in the passenger seat of my family's car, headed to a party. "We should do something for his bday," I said to Scott on Twitter. "Maybe get other music writers to read 'Bound for Glory' and write about it?"

The idea survived the night of revelry; it was my first waking thought of 2012. How to get people to look at Woody Guthrie beyond "This Land is Your Land," because he was so much more than that.

I started a blog, Bound for Glory 100, and encouraged people to read the book and write their responses. I read the book and started looking at Guthrie's words in a new light.

In March, the first Woody at 100 event was held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Why not cover the symposium and tribute concert for St. Louis' Riverfront Times? Sure! While I'm at it, how about writing a cover story for the Monterey County Weekly about the connection between Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck, and how their influence continues today? Sure! Two Chicago trips to see local musicians paired with Tom Morello on the eve of the NATO summit, and another to hear Billy Bragg discuss the work involved in carrying on Guthrie's legacy? Of course! And who wouldn't want to go to Guthrie's hometown of Okemah, Oklahoma on the eve of his birthday, and see Billy Bragg perform a bunch of Guthrie's songs? Of course I went. Then I hustled back home to St. Louis for two Guthrie tributes: one in photos, the other in song

This isn't about writing book reports about "Bound for Glory" anymore. This is about chasing Woody Guthrie one hundred years after his birth to first-hand experience his influence. Talk to the people who are directly carrying his legacy, from street buskers to Guthrie's daughter Nora. And explore how his influence has shaped my life, which I didn't realize until I fell backwards into Woody's world. 

The blog is no longer the ends. It's the beginning - the rough first draft of the book I'm writing about my year with Woody Guthrie. If you'd like to see the outline or proposal, feel free to ask.

"Are you getting paid to do this?"

I've been asked this question repeatedly. By strangers. Not that it's any of their business, but the answer is usually no. I got paid for the first few articles I wrote for the Riverfront Times and the Monterey County Weekly, and I've been able to use my press credentials to obtain passes to some events. Mostly, this project has been a personal investment of time and my own money. Both are finite resources.

I'm nearing the end of my research ... and my resources. In order to complete my project I need to fund research at the final Woody at 100 events (one day at symposiums in Brooklyn, two days at symposiums in Washington D.C.), as well as the time necessary to complete the manuscript and shop for a literary agent. These are full-time jobs in and of themselves.

As a freelance writer, I have passed on many paying jobs in order to pursue this research, knowing these opportunities won't present themselves again. It's been well worth the sacrifice. But now I need your help to bring my project to completion. 

Thank you.

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    14 backers

    If you're in the St. Louis area or I'm in your neck of the woods, I'll photograph you holding the piece of Woody Guthrie's childhood home I stole in July. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    33 backers

    Don't know where to begin on Woody Guthrie's music? Let me teach you. We'll talk about your taste in music, and I'll customize a guide to Guthrie's music that will take you from him to the bands you currently love. This will include playlists, recommendations, and CDs. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    10 backers

    I'll send you an assortment of small souvenirs (books, stickers, programs) from the Brooklyn and Washington DC "Woody at 100" events. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    8 backers

    Without Woody, we wouldn't have Bob Dylan. Love Dylan? I'll hand-knit you my interpretation of his iconic black and white checkered scarf from the cover of "Blonde on Blonde". You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    6 backers

    Need something written? Something you dread, like a cover letter and resume, query letter, mass mailing to all your relatives disclosing some dark secret from your past, a Dear John letter? Whatever it is, I'll do the dirty work and write it for you. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    2 backers

    For the sadistic giver: I can't sing. I'm afraid to sing. Chalk it up to a very traumatic public singing incident at the sixth grade talent show involving George Michael and being laughed off stage. But for your $150 donation, I will sing the Woody Guthrie song of your choosing, make a video, and publicly post it on YouTube and my website for all the world to see. You'll be given a special section in the acknowledgements.

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    1 backer

    Got a busking guitarist in your life? Donate $200 and I'll make them a hand-knit busker's survival kit that includes fingerless gloves with extra give for flexibility, a key ring guitar pick holder, guitar strap cozy, and this awesome earflap hat for those frigid days: http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwbis11/PATTharrison.php. And the previously-mentioned Dylan scarf. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    I'll host a listening party for you and 10 of your friends. Food and drinks provided. Don't live in St. Louis? Skype or FaceTime me in. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    A massive Woody Guthrie goodie package: t-shirt from the Woody at 100 event, copies of the books "Bound for Glory" and Robert Santelli's beautiful "This Land Is Your Land: Woody Guthrie and the Journey of an American Folk Song" (hopefully signed by the author). Stickers, programs, stickers, buttons. I'll also include the customized playlist mentioned in the $25 donation, any one of the hand-knit items, and an invitation for you and a friend to the $300-level listening party. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    Brothers Lazaroff will throw a house concert at your place in the St. Louis metro area for you and thirty friends. A night of one of St. Louis' best bands, playing Guthrie's best songs. Here's a peek of what you can expect: http://youtu.be/Q9sp-xqtRbw I'll cater the event. Don't worry - I used to do that for a living. I'll also commission a limited-edition print commemorating this awesome night. You'll also get mentioned in the book's acknowledgements and a signed copy if/when it's published.

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    You'll get a signed first edition of the book. And the dedication.

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