She was born Sarah Breedlove on a plantation in Delta, Louisiana, where her parents had been slaves. At 14, she married to get a home of her own, to get away from a cruel brother-in-law with whom she was living. At 17, she had her only child, A'Lelia, who I'm named after.
When I first wrote 'Papa Hemingway,' there were too many people still alive, and the lawyers for Random House didn't want to OK it. But now all that's been filtered away by the passage of all these people. And having the fortune of surviving, I now feel that I am the custodian of what Ernest wanted the world to know about him and these women.
I did four movies where I gained, like, fifty pounds. I had curly hair, and I had all of this facial hair. I had put on all this weight for these movies, and I did four or five of them back-to-back. Then I cut the weight and I got fit again. I cut my beard and I took away the mustache, and people were like, 'What are you doing?'
A lot of cable television is shot on a single camera. Our eyes are more trained to that. It takes the camera off the crane, away from observing the action, to becoming a character in the story along with everyone else. People are getting used to that.
A Louisiana politician can't afford to let his animosities carry him away, and still less his principles, although there is seldom difficulty in that department.
Southern political personalities, like sweet corn, travel badly. They lose flavor with every hundred yards away from the patch. By the time they reach New York, they are like Golden Bantam that has been trucked up from Texas - stale and unprofitable. The consumer forgets that the corn tastes different where it grows.
My mother's belief in spiritual healers grew stronger after our family went through a rough patch following my father's death. Sufi saint Karimullah Shah Kadri changed our lives, and all of us converted to Sufism. But it wasn't an instantaneous decision - it took us 10 years to convert. The change in religion was like washing away the past.
My kids miss me when I'm away, but I don't mind living out of a suitcase. The U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Iraq... it's such a thrill meeting people of different cultures, learning about and from them. It's changed my perception about life, humanity and spirituality.
I think I can get away, sometimes, with walking in the streets and not getting noticed. I like that. I want my work to get noticed, not me. And it's slowly getting there, which is good.
I developed a mania for Fitzgerald - by the time I'd graduated from high school I'd read everything he'd written. I started with 'The Great Gatsby' and moved on to 'Tender Is the Night,' which just swept me away. Then I read 'This Side of Paradise,' his novel about Princeton - I literally slept with that book under my pillow for two years.