Spotlight On: Liz Riggs

Can I tell you about my friend Liz Riggs?

It started back in 2009, when she yelled out “No Parents!” At our very first Teach for America induction. We were learning about how to bridge the achievement gap, manage problem behaviors, and draft lesson plans—but Liz made sure that everyone, staff included, knew that we were also there to have large amounts of unchaperoned fun.

In Atlanta that summer, all 52 of us soon-to-be Metro Nashville Public School teachers inhabited Georgia Tech’s campus for Institute, where we woke up at 4 AM daily, and learned of Liz’s obsession with slushies and mac and cheese. It also happened that Liz’s birthday fell inconveniently in the middle of Institute, which she complained about incessantly, and I remedied by posting tens of flyers around our nook of campus with her mug and captions like “Ms. Riggs: Relentlessly Pursuing Results since 1987.”

On the weekends, I tried to reinvent myself as the girl who’d stay out late, play volleyball (what?), and drink beer (and tequila) with the best of them—and Liz was the best of them. It was from that place that Liz and I began our friendship, with the help of one Abby Elsner, a mutual friend and sorority sister from college who could have easily blown my cover and told Liz that in fact, I was more like the type of girl to find a boyfriend and disappear off the map.

Which I promptly did.

A year later, Patrick and I got married, and I’m not even sure if Liz got an invitation to the wedding. Liz? Did I invite you to my wedding? I don’t know.

But either way, our friendship dwindled over that year, and before I knew it, I didn’t know what Ms. Riggs was pursuing relentlessly anymore. It was no secret that she and I still had one major thing in common—we both didn’t love teaching. A random g-chat here, a TFA alum event there, that’s how Liz and I stayed in touch. And then in February, I made my big announcement that I was leaving teaching to write, and unbeknownst to me, Liz was thinking about doing the same.

In a weird twist of fate, our friendship has rekindled as of late—and it’s no longer about slushies, silly posters, and my pretend enjoyment of beer. Sometimes it’s still about mac and cheese. But more than anything—it’s about our faith in God and our desire to write. And write. And write some more.

Liz is still teaching at LEAD Academy—and she’s great at it.  But she’s also killing it in the writing world.  She has a regular column over at The Wise Guise, and recurring (hilarious) posts at Relevant Magazine about relationships, text messages, and rom-coms.  Back in 2010, she even wrote an incredibly moving article about Mumford and Sons that generated over 3,000 likes on Facebook.

And you better prepare.  Liz has been known to write a hilarious episode recaps for The Bachelor and The Bachelorette — and this season — I know someone on the show. So that’s going to be fun. But then again, with Liz around, just about everything is.

Special thanks to Liz Riggs’ Facebook account for all of these pictures, and to @riggser herself, who had no idea I was writing this post. That’s what you get for challenging me to write 250 words a day, my dear. And this post was 535 words. Take that.