2011 Guest Spotlight: Interview with Becky Harks

Intervention guest Becky Harks is to blogging what Gene Roddenberry is to the science fiction genre. Despite only possessing (I assume) two hands, those hands have been in every blogging-related pot out there. From her own award-winning personal blog, Mommy Wants Vodka, to her side project blogs that encourage the contributions of outsiders, the very funny Harks has made a name for herself in the realm of online writing.

I had the opportunity to interview Mrs. Harks about her work. Warning: her answer to my interview’s first question will shock hardcore fans of her personal blog “Mommy Wants Vodka.”

Intervention: I’m certain Mommy has had her vodka at one point or another over the years. Which is your favorite to drink? What do you like to mix it with?

Becky Harks: While it may be shocking to hear (you all should sit down), my favorite drink is actually bourbon. I know, I feel like a fraud. But “Mommy Wants Bourbon” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “Mommy Wants Vodka.” And “Mommy Wants Vicodin” sounded too suburban.

I: When you began blogging, you initially weren’t a huge fan of the practice. What is your current attitude towards blogs? How can they improve?

BH: Well, now that I’ve actually had a chance to spend hours every day chronicling my every un-pithy thought, I’ve decided that blogs = full of the awesome. Mostly because I can be as self-absorbed and narcissistic as possible.

I: Do you believe that an anonymous Net handle (Aunt Becky) is important to have? Why or why not?

BH: Believe it or not, I’m actually “out” on the Internet. While I use “Aunt Becky” to blog under, I’ve splashed my given name – Becky Sherrick Harks – all over the place. I decided that was probably easiest since I’m too dumb to remember a pen name for very long.

I: Do any particular blog posts of yours stand out from the rest, in your eyes? Which have gotten the most reaction? Have you gotten any feedback on the title alone?

BH: My favorite series on my blogs are about my daughter, Amelia, who was born with an almost universally fatal (and undiagnosed) neural tube defect called an encephalocele. While I coped with it as best as I could, I found writing to be the most cathartic thing I’ve ever done. People seemed to love the series about Amelia, my Blogging for Dummies guide and my April Fool’s Joke.

I: Please describe your project Band Back Together. Since its creation, do any particular stories stand out? In your opinion, what makes for a good story? What elements must it contain?

BH: Band Back Together was spurred by the birth of my daughter, who, as I’d mentioned, was very ill at birth. When I wrote out those stories, tears pouring down my face, I found a release. By sharing those stories, I was able to heal. People came out in droves to share their stories, glad to finally have found a kindred soul.

In September of 2010, I launched a group blog, Band Back Together. It’s heavily edited and moderated, but the content ranges from baby loss to suicide to mental illness and everything in between. Through the power of the written word, we’re slowly bringing things kept in the dark into the light.

Paired with these stories are over two hundred resource pages so that someone suffering, for example, from Diabetes, can learn more about the subject.

We’ve had people who come forward and put to words their innermost secrets and fears, who have been talked off the ledge from suicide by our wonderful commentors, and who have begun to heal.

To make a good story on the site, it only must feel real. Everyone connects with the emotions and feelings – even if they’ve never felt it before – of our stories.

I: Please describe your project Mushroom Printing. How many people have written rants for it? Again, do any in particular stand out?

BH: Mushroom Printing is a similar group blog, except rather than heartfelt stories, it’s designed for snarky, funny rants. It’s actually my first URL, only converted into group blog format. Since its launch in July 2010 (I was busy that year, clearly), we’ve had about 500 posts go up and over 300 people register for the site.

All of the stories there are good, I think the ones that can combine humor and snark are probably the best.

I: A producer asks you to choose one of your three projects to make into a TV series. Which one do you choose? Who would star in it?

BH: Probably Mommy Wants Vodka, only because it’s funnier than watching television about the dark things – even if they’re positive.

And I’d like the role of me to be played by John Goodman. Or Tori Spelling in a wig.

I: Anything else you would like to add?

BH: I think kumquats are sorely underrepresented in today’s media. We should change that, and quickly.

2 Responses to “2011 Guest Spotlight: Interview with Becky Harks”

  1. I keep telling Aunt Becky, I work w/ the damn kumquats, and if she’ll just shut her whore mouth, I’ll send her some when the come into season.

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