I don’t have any kind of filter that protects me from whatever emotional state other people are in, and am easily empathetic when around them. In choosing which POV to use for “Lucky Strikes,” I decided to tell it from the waitress’s so that she could be the conduit for everybody’s emotions. She interacts with the mother and daughter, and with the dishwashers, and then she has a sense of what’s going on, and her own reactions to cope with. Anybody who has witnessed something like this knows just how it feels, because in one way or another, we have all been there.
I wrote this originally as a poem, then rearranged and changed it to fit the structure of fiction.