The irony of life is that we’re drawn to the unusual — not because it’s unusual, but because other people will think it’s unusual. Being a software engineer by day, a stripper by night, well, it makes for good copy, doesn’t it? Obviously those guys were shocked by beauty and brains all in “one package.” It’s like the best form of software, technically amazing with great packaging. What you’ve discovered, Yiling, is personal commercialism. I was approached by a stripper (online) asking about my novel. How do I write? How do I find the time? I told her it’s all subject matter. “Has stripping given you a story?” I asked. Like you, she said it helped her find herself. “Terrific,” I said. “The next step is finding others, the ones who become story characters.” She said she had to go to work. I didn’t hear from her again. Hopefully, she sees that finding oneself — and showing oneself to be more than a stripper — is only the start. It has to lead to something beyond self discovery. We all look “in,” the trick is looking “out.”

I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.

I did a poor imitation of Don Draper for 40 years before writing my first novel. I'm currently in the final stages of a children's book. Lucky me.