On January 17, 1999, the following message was posted to rec.music.phish:
Hey, all! It’s the New Year…a time for celebration and joy. It’s also the time of year where you always wind up hearing from people and getting those updates on their lives and what they’ve been up to lately. So, I thought I’d take a quick minute and update everyone on the state of the Mockingbird Project, especially since so many people asked me about it on the fall tour.
The project is moving along really nicely. Thanks to your help (because this truly is YOUR book), we’ve compiled a fantastic manuscript. It includes wonderful essays and show reviews that all of you wrote, song histories for every song ever played (though we’re still finishing this section up), pages upon pages of Phish stats, great pictures and artwork (though we could always use more), and the most complete and accurate setlist file known to man. This year we ran our first tape tree, handed out crossword puzzles at shows that kept many fans entertained at setbreak, and worked hard towards creating a book that we can all be proud of.
That isn’t to say, though, that it’s been the smoothest ride. We all love doing this, but it’s not our lives; it’s a hobby. Work and “real life” often interfere. I even resigned from the project for about three months because I was so burned out from devoting my free time to it. But it’s all for the best. When I came back in late August, I was more energized than ever and I remain so to this day.
So where are we? We’re trying to find a publisher. Believe me, it’s not the easiest task in the world. We’ve discussed self-publishing. or self-publishing the first edition and trying to find a commercial publisher later on down the line. There’s advantages there, and drawbacks as well. We have also had conversations with a few publishers and literary agents, and we’re following up on leads that turned up, but we don’t have anything concrete in that area. It’s hard trying to shop a book around, because we need to find a publisher who doesn’t expect our work to fit into some cookie-cutter genre or niche.
The main thing we need right now is more leads on publishers and literary agents. If you know of any, or if you are one and have an interest in helping, please email me or Ellis Godard and let him know.
So we play the waiting game. Personally, I think it’s for the best because this book is a lot like a stew, created by all of us adding a little something, and the longer a stew sits the better it tastes because it is always improving. We continue to find ways to make the bphook even better, or clearer, or better organized. But there will be a book. It seems to be the most frequently asked question I hear on tour: “Craig, haven’t you guys finished yet? Does this mean the book won’t happen?” Of course not. I think you all know that we have too many stubborn SOBs involved in this project to give up after all the hard work we’ve put in ;^)
So please be patient with us. We’ve all worked really hard, and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished, and it will all come to fruition really soon.
Have a safe and happy new year, everyone, and I’ll hopefully see you and meet more of you this coming summer.