Today is the day I send my book manuscript in! It’s called This Is All a Dream We Dreamed: An Oral History of the Grateful Dead. I wrote it in collaboration with my friend and colleague (and neighbor) Blair Jackson. It is set to be published in the fall of 2015 by Flatiron Books.
This is the end of a three-year process that began with a different book. That one was cancelled when the publisher downsized. My agent shopped it around and got no takers (too esoteric), but Bob Miller, the head of Flatiron – who was the editor of my first book 30 years ago and has gone on to an illustrious career (founding head of Hyperion, among other achievements) said he’d love to work with me again and did I have anything else in mind? Blair and I had been kicking around the idea of an oral history, and my agent (who is also Blair’s agent) ordered us to do it.
I was able to use a lot of the material I had gathered for the other book, and Blair and I have nearly 80 years of Dead-related journalism between us. We gathered many new interviews over the last year to add to our existing resources. We spent several months working separately, grabbing stories from the interviews and putting them into buckets by year, and then we began stitching things together to weave the tale.
That process culminated with an intense period of work over the last week, finalizing everything. On Sunday 11/30, late at night after a long stretch of work, I took a big bong hit and blasted out a bunch of ideas for the intro and sent the file to Blair to respond and refine. That piece turned out to be a good deal closer to coherent and effective than I thought it was at the time, so it only took one or two bounces between us to call it a done deal.
The process has been amazingly friction-free. Blair and I have worked together off and on for nearly 40 years, and our editorial voices and sensibilities are similar enough that we have not had any problems creating a unified tone in the work.
I just sent the package off to our agent and our editor. There are a few little bits to finish here and there, and we need to come up with eleven photos, but 99% of it is done and we are happy with it.