These days if a writer is smitten with the idea of writing a new book—a new analysis—of any supposedly well-known person, the obstacles to her research will be enormous.
We are all too complicated and contradictory to be explained.
My surprise almost outweighed my satisfaction when I found that in one letter, written in middle age, Doris referred to the patriarchy.
Sometimes a choice of a name without family connotations means an attempt to break loose from the past.
Changing the title of my biography of Doris Duke, especially after more than six years of work, is a big deal.
I wonder what Doris would think if she could sit at the breakfast table with my editor and me and talk about who the book’s readers will be.
I am now reading, and occasionally wrestling with, what might be call the collision—or the creative cooperation—of two minds, essentially different: the mind of the writer and the mind of the editor.
Almost the only question people asked me about her is, “Did Doris Duke marry her butler?” No, she did not. But does that question really matter, in a long, complex and accomplished life?
Doris Duke practiced with Martha Graham’s company in New York and proudly wore their black satin jacket with her name and the company’s name on the back.
I sometimes think that love never touched her, although she knew many lovers. Always she seemed to be asking as she did of one of them, “Are you doing what you’re doing to please ME?”