I wrote my first report about Madam Walker when I was a senior in high school in 1970.
One of the key things for me about Madame Walker's life is that she really does represent this first generation out of slavery when black people were reinventing themselves, and as a woman who was the first child in her family born free, she was trying to figure out a way, and she moved from Delta, Louisiana.
Madam Walker, as part of the first generation out of slavery, really was inventing the way that she operated in the world.
Money has to be an explosion of excitement and opportunity, yet we already secretly know that it doesn't do what it promises. Nothing has ever given us as much pleasure as our pocket money when we were 12, or our first wage at the end of that first exhausting week, paid in folded cash.
The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.
I am sure of this: that no one can write a book which children will like unless he write it for himself first.
I only published my first novel at the age of 40. Till then, I wrote short stories.
I remember, in my first show in New York, they asked, 'Where is the Indian-ness in your work?'... Now, the same people, after having watched the body of my work, say, 'There is too much Indian philosophy in your work.' They're looking for a superficial skin-level Indian-ness, which I'm not about.
This is not the first time in my life where you know going into a job that you're going to hear in stereo what was wrong with what you did.
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.