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When his book came out, Truman immediately developed
a feud with another ridiculously young author named Gore
Vidal, a feud which has persisted over the years. I remember
one of Truman's famous lines, which won him another burst of
publicity. He said, “Gore Vidal calls himself a boy genius.
Nonsense! He's twenty if he's a day.” Now they both have
become great successes but they still pick away at each other.
Gore has often said, “I'll come to Random House if you
get rid of Capote.” When Truman gets fancy, I say, “We're
going to sign up Vidal,” and he goes into a mock rage. You
know, he's half kidding, but he'd really be furious if we
ever did sign Gore Vidal.
Well, the book came out, and the next time that I saw
Truman wafting into the office he said that Vogue Magazine
had called him up; they wanted him to go to Hollywood for
two weeks to write his impressions of Hollywood--by a young
writer who had never been there. They offered him $2,000 and
expenses for two weeks. Truman demanded cash immediately.
He wanted twenty one-hundred-dollar bills. Truman is that
way. He brought them in. He had them rolled up with a
rubber band around them, and he rolled them across the desk
to me. He said, “Look what I've got.” He said, “Wait until
they see the expense account that I'm going to run up.” He
went to Hollywood for the first time. I couldn't wait to
hear his story because by this time we had adopted Truman.
He was just beginning to know people. Everybody who met him
adopted him immediately. He came back after his two weeks
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