Before I became a writer and tackled my first novel, I worked at a peep show, San Francisco’s World Famous Lusty Lady, a literal window into a gutter-glam world not everybody sees.
That particular day found me torn between my conservative work ethic–the guy had forked over $200 for a golden shower show–and my fear of spraying a fine mist of urine all over a tiny glass box I shared with a hundred other women. Still the new girl, I’d listened attentively to bitter dressing room complaints about bodily fluids left behind for other dancers to clean up.
Not everybody has been in that unique conundrum, but anyone can find herself stuck between a rock and a hard place with her pants down. Novelist Barbara Kingsolver says of fiction, “It cultivates empathy for a theoretical stranger by putting you inside his head, allowing you to experience life from his point of view. It can broaden your view of gender, ethnicity, place and time, power and vulnerability, all the elements that influence social interaction.” That’s what compels me to write fiction: the opportunity to tell a unique story that cultivates empathy in the world around me.