Becca is one of my good friends from high school. We became friends because of our shared nerdiness: in middle school, we competed in the county spelling bee together (don’t talk to us about the words “apothecary” and “mantilla”), and were both on the quiz bowl team in junior high and high school. We also performed together in the community theatre production of The Hobbit. I played a small role as an elf, but Becca was basically the star of the show, performing an all-star rendition of Dwalin the Dwarf.
These days, Becca is a world-class librarian who can explain anything library-related, from how to curate a library print collection, to the importance of library community outreach programs (she especially appreciated my story of finding yoga at the library), to why libraries are superior to Google and Wikipedia. She will also gladly take you on a trip down to Austin, where she got her master’s degree at the University of Texas and also became an expert on breakfast tacos.
1. What were you like as a teenager? Around the age of 13, I was very into Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables and reading. I wore little necklaces that said stuff like “Superstar” and “Whatever.” And I had–do you remember those ankle stickers that were made of jewels that you could put on your leg? I had one of those. I basically thought I was fly as hell and hot as hell. Then around age 14 I went through puberty and started breaking out all over my entire face. At that point, I stopping thinking I was hot and fly and started thinking I was an ugly little monster. Then 15 through 17, I pretty much hung out with my mom all the time and watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. When I was 18, I became a lot more social and really blossomed. It was during that time that I decided to step outside my comfort zone and go to Hendrix instead of ASU. So basically I went from fly as hell, to hating myself, to thinking I’m alright.
2. What have you always wanted? I have always wanted to be a published writer. I was so obsessed with the Literary Festival in high school. I remember the stories that I wrote were always super dramatic, like Lurlene McDaniel-style stories. They were told from a young girl’s perspective, and her sister always had cancer or something. For whatever reason the people that judged it ate it up. They were like, “This is so good.” And I was like, “I am a frickin’ genius.” One year, I got first place in the whole literary festival for fiction. My story had a twist ending: I was out ice skating with my sister. We were skating, and–oh no, is that a thin patch of ice?! And the way the story is written, you’re convinced my sister is gonna fall through the ice: “Oh, the sister is no good at this ice-skating business. Something bad is going to happen to her.” And then I fall through the ice! That was the big twist at the end. I end up getting rescued, of course.
3. When were you most proud of yourself? When I scored a 34 on the ACT. That was probably the most excited I’ve ever been. It was at the beginning of the time when you could check your score online, and they had finally released the score. I had been trying really hard to get a 32 so that I could get the full scholarship to anywhere in Arkansas. But I just could not break that barrier. I got a 31 twice in a row. And I was like “Oh no.” But then I checked the score and was like, “Holy shit! I got a 34! Mom, come here!” I was screaming I was so happy.
4. What advice would you give to your ten-years-younger self? Don’t take your first relationship so seriously. Because it’s very myopic to think that your first relationship is the end-all, be-all of relationships. You should play the field a little more, Sister Child!
5. What is your personal motto? Well, my mantra right now is “Extend grace and compassion to yourself and others.” I say that whenever I’m being really hard on myself.
6. Who do you aspire to be like, and why? I’ve always aspired to be like Anne from Anne of Green Gables. Anne is amazing. She is temperamental. She doesn’t let people walk all over her. She gets angry. She has flaws. But she’s also really compassionate and imaginative and passionate about the things that she loves and the things that she hates. She really hates her red hair initially, but over the course of the series, she comes to love it and appreciate it. She’s vain. That’s one thing that I really like about Anne is that she has all these things that are messed up about her and that are “bad,” but you still adore her and want to be her.
7. What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you? My favorite compliments are always ones along the lines of “You’re unlike anyone else.” Things in that vein. So if someone seems to recognize a uniqueness in me, I really appreciate that, a lot more than somebody saying, “You’re pretty” or “You’re smart.”
8. What would you do if you knew you could not fail? I would definitely complete a manuscript and submit it to a publishing house. I feel like as of now, I’m always in the mindset of, “It needs more work, it needs more work before anyone would ever think about publishing this.” But if I knew that they would accept it in its imperfect state, then I would submit it.
9. What would you like to be remembered for? I admire people that are extremely compassionate. I’m not that, but, to me, that would be something to strive toward. I hope that someday I will be recognized and remembered as someone who really cared about other people.