Zito's transcript of the first question and my answer, edited for clarity, is below. Photo © Mary Lyn Maiscott.
You said that John's diaries were taken away from you. Did you have enough material at that time to write Nowhere Man or did you eventually get the diaries back? What happened?
I was sent out of town. While I was gone my apartment was ransacked. Everything I'd been working on for like a year was taken from me. I was in a state of shock. I couldn't believe that's how the thing ended. I didn't know what to do. Two weeks passed and I started waking up in the morning and realized that passages from the diary were running through my head. I had passages memorized. A lot of the stuff John had written was just so vivid. I started writing down what I remembered, and the more I remembered the more I remembered. This went on for some time and eventually I had large portions of the diaries re-created. I turned that into a book proposal. That's when I started trying to publish the book. This was late 1982, early 1983, and I was met with a lot of rejection for the reasons I was talking about before—you can't prove that this is true; there's going to be lawsuits. When I finally got the deal 18 years later there were no lawsuits and the more time went on the more people realized that what I'd written was true. More information about John's life had begun coming out, and now, 23 years later, pretty much everything I said has been confirmed in one way or another. There was a copyright infringement trial in 2002 and I was subpoenaed to testify by Yoko Ono's lawyers. A lot of what I wrote in the book I eventually told under oath. That's what happened.
A short video clip of my reading from the "Money" chapter of Nowhere Man. Video © Laurel Zito.
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