Dear Michael Candy,

This is a difficult fan letter to write, because we worked together and well… And ahhh. How to explain it? Do you remember primary school and you were making your first friends? Did you ever have a silly argument and not talk to each other for a while? That is kind of what happened when our paths parted.

Still this is a letter that I have to write. You see, when I started building a family tree of influences I encountered someone who ignored (and even went out of their way to avoid) mentioning an important influence. I think these two had some sort of falling out, but the lack of acknowledgement really bothered me; way more than it should have. I didn’t want my series of love letters to fall into a similar trap.

So here goes.

I think you are the most important influence in how I work, and shape my career. For a brief moment in time our paths overlapped. The things we built were exhilarating. Most people have to jump out of planes to get the kind of adrenalin hit I got from the sheer terror I felt in the middle of our projects.

Photo of a prototype robot Michael Candy created, along with its 3d printed older brothers

Each time, they got bigger. More ambitious, and like clockwork, around the middle of the project I would hit a wall of self-doubt. “Shit. What if I can’t make it work?” But we always managed to scrape out the other side. Not always completely unscathed, but it gave me confidence. You gave me confidence, I can code things, I can make things.

When I’m in the workshop, building, I occasionally get stuck on a problem. My thought process still quickly switches to “What would the Candyman do?”. The answer often is just removing self-doubt and fear. Why can’t I drill here? Why can’t I cut that? What am I afraid of? Why don’t I just…

One day, I suspect you will be world renowned, and I really look forward to being ‘that guy’: Oh, Michael Candy? Yeah, I knew him before he was famous. No big deal. But we kinda hung out and talked about tools and built things.

I hope you are well. I still smile when I catch up with your blog and see what you are working on.

Love,

Clinton Freeman.