In a poignant essay for Electric Literature, memoirist Lori Jakiela (Belief is it’s Own Kind of Truth, Maybe) looks back on the time she spent working the church kitchen on bingo nights, and what it taught her about life and writing:

Empathy, like writing, can be about kindness or it can be an aggressive act, both. To assume to know things about strangers without really knowing them is a kind of violence, I think. It’s using other people as stand-ins. It comes across as something selfless, when it can be just the opposite. I’ve done it both ways. I might be doing it both ways now.

Kelly Lynn Thomas reads, writes, and sometimes sews in Pittsburgh, PA. Her creative work has appeared in Sou’wester, Thin Air Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, metazen, and others, and she received her MFA in Creative Writing from Chatham University. She is hopelessly obsessed with Star Wars and can always be found with a large mug of tea. She also runs the very small Wild Age Press. Read more at More from this author →