Rag(el) to Riches

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Disclaimer: Cue the melodramatic, wailing violins for this one...

After a fitful, restless night (nothing unusual there, actually) I woke up in a frenzy this morning.

The fact that I was awake way before the crack of noon was already alarming enough, and would normally be sufficient to shock me straight back into a comatose state.

But I remained awake. Not ALERT, mind you. For one, I weirdly thought that it was an hour later than it actually was.

So when I saw this, I rapidly shook my head (a la Loony Tunes character) and rubbed my eyes, blinked, and looked again. Certain that the cruel delusion would be gone and the true winner's name would be there.

Because what I was seeing couldn't be. In fact, I was SO sure that it WOULDN'T be, I had already written up a congratulatory post to any of the other five who I thought would surely win.

But no. It was still my name. The very same name that I have loathed and despised since birth. My hatred for it flared in the States, where everyone who read it from a form or from my passport pronounced it to rhyme with 'Bagel' while looking at me with bewilderment and pity. "Girl," I could almost see them think, "Your parents sure must not have liked you very much!"

Then I patiently explained that really, it's okay for them to say 'Rachel', because that's what it genuinely translates to in English.

Today I'm really grateful to be the owner of this despicable name.

In fact, I'm so happy, I've literally been sobbing for three hours straight.

(Yes, what can I say. I've always been a *tad* on the emotional side.) 

Before I launch into the inevitable thank you's, please allow me to tell you something. To some of you, this isn't exactly news, but please humour me (as always).

These past few years have been HARD on me. When my American Dream died, I thought my life was over. I really did. (Melodramatic, MOI?)

I felt like a failure when I was forced to return to South Africa, tail-between-the-legs, broke, broken-up-with and... well... considerably rounder than I was when I had left here nine years before. Let's just say that it was not exactly the triumphant homecoming I had always envisioned for myself.

It was humbling and humiliating and I thought that I would never recover from it. But my family and friends (both offline and on) have been AMAZING.

On days - and oh, there have been many - when I thought that I couldn't carry on anymore; when the amount in my bank account was so low that the fear would almost choke me; something miraculous would always happen. My sister would invite me to dinner (and I'd end up staying the week... but that's another story!), or my roommate would bring me fruit from their farm...

They have all encouraged me to continue chasing my dream of being a full-time writer. Bless 'em, for they've never told me to go out there and get a 'real job', even if it means that I'm still living like a student at the age of nearly 34, and that I have not been able to buy any of them any birthday or Christmas gifts in YEARS.

This past year I have come especially close to quitting this whole writing thing. It has just been an UNBELIEVABLE struggle. Jobs that didn't pan out. Jobs lost. At times it seemed that someone was trying to send me a message, saying: "Kiddo, you're way off track here. Leave it to the ones who are able/more capable. You're OBVIOUSLY not meant to do this."

These past few months have been particularly bad. My lack of finances have often left me panic-stricken. So I actually made up my mind that this contest would be the deciding factor. I thought: "When (being the operative word) I lose, I will get a day job. Surgically extract myself from the laptop for a while and then, after some time to rethink things, perhaps get back to it and just write for pleasure again."

I didn't even consider an alternative outcome, so I'm rather lost right now... However, any and all book deals would be immediately accepted thoughtfully entertained!

All right, now for the Most Important Part: Thank you, Jonathan Cherry and Heinrich Hattingh, the marketing geniuses behind this entire campaign-with-a-twist. Thank you VERY much for inviting me to be a part of it! It was amazing... Even though coming up with a plot twist involving those damn bubbles nearly caused my head to explode!

Thank you, to all three of my readers, for voting for me. (And you obviously managed to convince a few of your friends to vote for me as well!) Seriously though, so many of you have been egging me on, stubbornly continuing to believe in me, long after I had given up on myself... I especially need to single out campaign manager Aunty, Silver, Dee, Pylorns, Fin and Beerslinger, Kim, and the guys and gals at MyDigitalLife.  

Thank you, Woolworths, for the most money I have ever been paid for any of my writing!! EVER! That new clothing line is TSSSSSSSSS! (SO hot!)

And then, to my other 'Twisted Sisters': Breathtaking Alice, Deliciously decadent Jeanne, Prosaic Bridget, Not-a-Chav-innit Laurian and succinctly hilarious Nikki... it was truly my honour and pleasure to have been included in your company. You are all incredibly talented and those few of you who were not on my feed reader before this were promptly added. I look forward to reading a LOT more of your writing!

Here, in case you missed it, is my story:


Heavens Alive! - By Ragel Nel


Chapter 1.



“It’s here! It came!”


The words tumbled out of me before my best friend even had a chance to properly answer her phone.


Because we’d been telepathically linked ever since meeting each other for the first time in Journalism school more than a decade ago, Thandi immediately knew what I was talking about. “I’ll be right over. Don’t open it until I get there!”


“Of course. I wouldn’t dare.”


Naturally, as soon as I had uttered those words, the temptation to do just that was almost overwhelming.


Yet, I also dreaded it, even though I knew what was inside. Or rather, especially because I knew.


So, instead, I merely ran my fingers along the edges of the sealed envelope, picked it up and felt its weight in my hands. I’ve always had a stationery fetish and I could tell that no expense had been spared. It was exquisite. The paper felt buttery and thick.


In fact, I ruefully reminded myself, nearly as thick as my skull was when I…


Before I could berate myself any further, I shook the thought out of my head and sighed.


I was surprised at the level of sadness contained in that single breath. It was filled with the same amount of melancholy as displayed by the Southeaster wind mournfully howling outside, rattling my apartment windows and sweeping through the streets of Cape Town.


Before I could slip into complete despair, I was saved by the doorbell and its incessant chiming.


I opened the door and marvelled at Thandi as she breezed into the room, clutching a brown paper bag. During her commute, the bag had moulded to its contents in a tell-tale fashion. I was pleased to note that she had brought liquid reinforcements.


Despite the windy weather, Thandi had managed to arrive looking infuriatingly un-windswept. In fact, the only indication of the gale violently whipping about outside was the cool breath of air trailing her into my tiny flat, stirring the curtains.


Not even fifteen years of knowing her has dulled me to my best friend’s beauty. It never ceases to take me by surprise anew.


And yes, if we’d have to be honest, to make me insanely jealous. Her body seems to have gotten stuck in that delightful teenage phase where everyone seems to be all gangly arms, legs and lengthy, lithe torsos. (Thandi ‘s sans the adolescent awkwardness, of course.) That is, everyone except me. My body, you see, is and always has been perfectly rotund.

‘Apple shape’, is what fashion experts call my unfortunate body type. And they usually hiss the phrase with such great disdain, one would swear the apple in question was rotten. Or the condition contagious.


But apart from our vast differences in stomach sizes – the flatness of Thandi’s never betraying that she’s already carried a baby in there, while mine faithfully extends my roundness to the front of me in such a way that I resemble a mother-to-be of multiples – Thandi and I are opposites in other ways as well.


While she is always grace under pressure personified, I fall apart at the merest hint of stress.


Which is exactly why Thandi knew that she absolutely had to be with me when I opened the envelope.


Chapter 2.


I warily eyed the envelope over the rim of my refilled glass of champagne. From inside the glass, the effervescent fluid lightly tickled the tip of my nose, reminding me to take another sip.


I obliged and blinked. I could’ve sworn that the envelope had blurred since the last time – a mere second ago – I had stared at it.


Thandi must’ve been able to penetrate my mind’s eye, because she said: “We’d better open it now, before you won’t be able to see anything anymore.”


She was right of course. Because despite my size (large and round, lest you need reminding), I am surprisingly light on fuel. After years of trials, tribulations and many, many errors, Thandi and I finally figured out that I remain lucid on champagne for about three sips longer than on anything else. Which is why we always drink it when we’re together, whether we have cause for celebration or not.


The arrival of this envelope definitely fell into the latter category for me. The prospect of opening it and being faced with the reality of its contents filled me with dread all over again. I shook my head.


“Girl, come on. How much liquid confidence do you need then?”


I shot her a look. She put her hands up in a defensive gesture. “Okay, okay.”


Suddenly I gave a little giggle.


Thandi raised a questioning eyebrow. “Share, s’il vous plait?”


“Had it been red,” I hiccupped, pointing at the envelope, “It would’ve been…” I collapsed into a giggling heap, nearly toppling my glass and spilling its precious contents. “It would’ve been a SCARLET LETTER.”


I was so busy chortling with mirth at my own joke – which, sadly, is not just a phenomenon reserved for when I’m hopelessly tipsy – that I didn’t even notice Thandi coming closer until she confiscated my glass.


“Noooo! Gimme!”


But Thandi had already slipped into that disciplinarian-mode she usually saves for her four-year old daughter Nosipho – and for me, her almost 34-year old best friend. The drink in my hand had been replaced with my silver letter opener.


“Come on, girl. Just get it over with.”


So I did. Brandishing the opener like a sword, the top edge of the envelope came apart in one swift motion.

And suddenly, my trembling hands held the concrete evidence that my ex-boyfriend had truly moved on with his life.


The wedding invitation was as stylish as the envelope had hinted it would be.


“Are you okay?” Thandi asked softly, understanding instinctively that I wasn’t.


And she was right. “I thought I was ready for this! I mean, I’ve known for so long. But this…” my voice faltered and my eyes blurred again, an impairment that couldn’t be blamed on the champagne this time.


“But this makes it a reality.” As usual, Thandi finished my sentence.


I nodded, the tears falling freely now.


My friend flung her arms around me. “You are perfectly justified to feel this way.”


“I thought I was ready,” I repeated, sobbing uncontrollably. “But I almost hate him all over again.”


“I don’t blame you,” she said, rather vehemently. I almost smiled through the tears.


I knew my loyal friend had not forgiven Andrew for shattering my heart. When I not only forgave him but allowed him back into my life as a friend, she accepted it reluctantly and through gritted teeth.


“I just wished that he could have mourned me a bit longer,” I said.


She nodded, too kind to remind me that he’d never wasted any time mourning me. “Yes, if there is a good reason why NOT to befriend one’s ex, this would be it.” Her eyes widened and she clasped a hand to her mouth. “Sorry, girl… I didn’t mean that to sound as judgemental as it did.”


I gave her arm a reassuring squeeze.


“You don’t have to attend, you know. I’m sure everyone would understa…”


“No, I want to go,” I said decisively and with such sudden fervour, I surprised even myself. “And not only do I want to go, but I want to do something unforgettable while I’m there…”


Thandi looked genuinely alarmed.


“Do I even want to know?” she asked, knowing full well that she was not only going to find out what was on my mind, but she would probably be an accessory to whatever act I wanted to commit.


Chapter 3.


I awoke from my champagne-induced coma to the intoxicatingly delicious scent of freshly brewed coffee. Thandi was holding the steaming mug under my nose.


“Amazing,” she said when I finally managed to pry my unwilling eyelids apart. “It works every single time.”


I groaned. My hangover was so bad, even my hair hurt. I reached for the mug.


“Nah-uh. You know the rule. First this.” She handed me a glass of water and two headache tablets. I grimaced but knew it wouldn’t help to protest. As editor for the online division of a woman’s magazine, bossiness was Thandi’s occupational hazard.


I often wondered if she wouldn’t rather have raised Nosipho in the tree-lined northern suburbs than here in the noisy city bowl, in the apartment building right across the street from mine.


Thandi’s husband, a sweet Argentinean named Juan Carlos, had long since accepted that I would forever be Thandi’s other ‘other half’. She had a spare key to my flat and often popped over in the mornings for a cup of coffee before work. Or to resuscitate me.


She opened my curtains. Weak winter sunlight stole into the room, its rays accusingly picking out twirling dust motes, quite literally shining the light on my lax housekeeping.


Thandi sat on the edge of my bed. “Listen, about last night…”


We both burst out laughing at her choice of words, far more familiar to me than to her, the happily married mother.


“Yes. I was serious,” I said, my sudden frown indicating that I still was. “Thandi, I need to do this.”


She sighed. “Okay, but now that I have you completely sober, just humour me and tell me why?”


I closed my eyes. Memories of my entire relationship with Andrew flashed before me. Spitefully selective, I was suddenly only able to recall the very best parts.


We’d ‘met’ online. It was Thandi’s doing. After successfully marrying herself off to her Latin Lover, she felt bad that I wasn’t coupled up. So she created a dating profile on my behalf (read: without my consent OR knowledge), before taking off to visit the in-laws in Buenos Aires.


By the time my inbox was filled with the incriminating evidence of what she had done, and when I saw which photo she had chosen for my profile – an all too honest depiction of what I look like, highlighting my sad lack of cheekbones – she was way out of slapping distance.


Not surprisingly, most of the men who e-mailed me were complete weirdoes with strange ‘fat girl fantasies’. Yes, one guy actually put it that way. Only, he wrote fat and fantasies with a ‘ph’.


So when a witty e-mail from a seemingly normal guy popped up, I was so relieved, I immediately replied. 


After a few months of e-mailing back and forth and chatting online, he suggested that it was time for a face-to-face meeting.


It plunged me into panic and agony. I knew he had seen my profile picture, but that was only of my round face. I also knew that there are people out there with round faces and really skinny bodies. It is a phenomenon Thandi and I have always referred to as the Lollipop-effect, and it is one that, sadly, excludes me.


“He’s probably hoping that I’m a Lollipop!” I wailed to Thandi.


Whether he had or not, I never found out. But when we did inevitably meet (after I had gained a few kilos from crash dieting beforehand), Andrew told me that I was beautiful in such a way that it actually sounded sincere and not creepy. I had no choice but to believe him.


Our mutual adoration-at-first-sight evolved into a five year relationship. Amazingly, we never fought. Which is why it was such a shock to me when it all came to such an abrupt and awful end…


I realised I was crying when Thandi handed me a tissue.


“I have to do this,” I said slowly. “Because I want to hurt him as badly as he had hurt me.”


Chapter 4.


My plan slowly took shape over several weeks.


At first, Thandi was uncharacteristically nervous about the whole thing.


One rainy day, ensconced in a cosy neighbourhood coffee shop over foamy cappuccinos, we held what I had come to refer to as a ‘tactical meeting’.


“I don’t want to blow…” Thandi said, loudly.


“Shhh!” I hissed and looked around to see if anyone had overheard. “No need. I looked on the Internet and, thank Google, it seems there are actually people who not only provide devices, but they would be willing to set it off too. We needn’t even be nearby.”


Then, as the wedding day loomed closer, a gradual role reversal took place. Thandi became the eager one while I was wracked with self-doubt. I began to have second thoughts.


“No way,” Thandi said, her eyes burning with an almost feverish light which I found worrying. “You can’t bail now. When people find out that we were behind it, we will be the talk of Cape Town!”


“No! I don’t want anyone to know! I’m sure that, if she survives the event, Andy’s mom will have us arrested for ruining her precious son’s society wedding. All I want to do is to send him a message, you know?


“Now I’m thinking I should maybe just write him a note.”


But Thandi was adamant that we execute the plan. “Besides, a note’s almost as bad as a DVD or a photo… it can also be used as hard evidence against you in court!”



*                             *                             *                             *                             *                             *            


The passage of time and tide are inevitable. As the adage says, it waits for no man. And it certainly doesn’t wait for any woman either. Especially not a woman trying her best to lose 10 kilograms before attending her ex-boyfriend’s wedding.  


And thus it happened that the wedding day dawned. Of course, it found me typically ill-prepared and five kilos heavier than when I had begun my crash diet. I had really hoped to poke the happy couple’s eyes out with the sharp cheekbones I had intended to possess. So much for THAT part of the revenge. Thanks to Thandi’s persistence, I now at least had the other plan to fall back on.


I carefully laid out my wedding outfit and immersed myself in my fragrant bubble bath. On the radio, Michael Bublé was crooning his cover of “Always on my mind”. I slid deeper into the bubbles, careful not to get my hair wet, and allowed myself to dissolve into tears over Andy one last time…



*                             *                             *                             *                             *                             *



About an hour later, I walked down to the entrance of my building to meet Thandi. Today she was pulling double duty as my partner in crime and my wedding date.


I was surprised to see her standing in front of a double-parked, battered old van. She was flanked by two extremely dodgy-looking guys. Clad in head to toe black, Thandi was her usual chic self. By breath-taking contrast, the guys resembled a cross between hippies and homeless heroin addicts I once saw in a BBC documentary.


Their hair was long, but thin and so brittle, it would’ve driven my hairdresser to stab himself with his scissors. Their neglected tresses framed gaunt, sunken faces. Thandi was intently listening to one of them.


As I stepped closer, I overheard this snippet of conversation: “So yeah, it will like, you know, start to blow at like, exactly the time when you signal us.”


I nearly fell over. These were the men I had hired! I wasn’t sure exactly what I had expected them to look like, but I certainly had not imagined them like this!


At that moment, Thandi saw me. “Hey, girl! Look who’s here to give us a lift to the wedding?”


She must’ve seen my face fall, because she leaned in to hug me and whispered: “Hey, considering the amount you are paying them, I thought we might as well let them take us. I told Juan Carlos to be on standby too, if we want to make an escape later.”


“Come on!” she said. “It will be an adventure.”


She was right. It certainly was an adventure, but it unfolded in a way that none of us had quite foreseen.


Chapter 5.


It must’ve been all the accumulated stress of the previous weeks, but I was having a bona fide, out of body experience.


I saw myself squeezed tightly next to Thandi on the backseat of the van. The two of us were nearly on each other’s laps, because all around us, sharp looking springs and bits of sponge were poking through the torn leather seat. The van’s shock absorbers were shot, and we rhythmically bobbed and bounced in perfect unison with the springs.


I wish I could say that we were tearing through Cape Town’s streets en route to Andy’s wedding on that Friday, taking the corners on two-wheels and with screeching tyres, but I actually saw us being overtaken by senior citizens shuffling along on the pavement.


So when I yelled: “Stop! Please stop the van!” it was mostly out of politeness.


The van came to a sputtering halt. The three of them stared at me. Our hired help didn’t look particularly curious about the motive behind my sudden request. I didn’t take it personally. In the half an hour since I’d made their acquaintance, I realised that expressions had long since vacated their faces.


Thandi, however, gave me a quizzical look. “Chickening out?”


“Yes and no,” I said and pointed down the block towards the city’s central business district.


Due to that whole telepathy thing she and I have always had going on, my change of plan immediately dawned on her. “Yes!” she yelled. “Brilliant!”



*                             *                             *                             *                             *                             *                            



Despite the winter chill, throngs of people were strolling across the ancient cobble stones and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere of Greenmarket Square.


We made our way past the flea market vendors and artisans hawking their colourful wares. Buskers and energetic street performers appeared to be locked in a dramatic battle to see who could charm or manipulate the most tips out of the loaded foreigners lounging at the cafés fringing the square. A white-faced mime was taunting the female flower sellers by aping their every move. They laughingly cursed him out.


Thandi and I assumed our positions and waited. Expectantly, I looked up at the first floor of a nearby office building. I knew that if everything was going according to plan, my hired help would be somewhere, behind one of those windows, getting ready… My heart was pounding louder than the djembe drummers playing a few metres away.


The children were the first to notice it. Their eyes widened and their mouths formed perfect, silent O’s before letting out shrieks and screams. All around us, little hands broke free from protective adult grips as kids took off, running. 


Thandi grabbed my hand. Even though we had helped to orchestrate the event, we were just as awestruck as everyone around us.


As hundreds of transparent soap bubbles exploded into the sky and cascaded down around us, my thoughts inevitably turned to Andy and that first day I had met him in person.


He had summoned me to the beach for a late afternoon picnic. As the sun drowned in the Atlantic, he recreated my favourite childhood memory. I had told him about it casually, during one of our online chats, so when he produced two plastic bubble blowers and bottles of bubble mix, I was so touched and surprised that he had remembered, I instantly fell in love with him.


We’d blown bubbles until we fell to the sand, breathless and light-headed. And then, of course, he had kissed me.


A commotion at the square pulled me back from my memory. A yellow Labrador Retriever was straining at its leash and manically snapping its jaw at the bubbles floating around its head, eliciting giggles from several little girls nearby.


I lifted my arm and opened my hand. A large bubble lazily drifted down and came to rest on my palm. It reflected a tiny rainbow.


Once again, I thought about Andy, and how he was, at that very moment, standing in a church a few neighbourhoods away, marrying the man he had left me for.


I looked at the bubble on my palm and realised that I wasn’t heartbroken or angry anymore. “I wish them happiness,” I whispered and blew at the bubble in my hand. It quivered. For a moment I feared that I had blown too hard, that my breath had burst the fragile film.


But it slid off my hand and drifted away, perfect and whole, the mini rainbow twinkling in the sun.



The End.




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Jeanne said:

You go girl! Glad the bubble never burst for you (so to speak!) Still sobbing into my coffee, but I wouldn't have wanted to lose to anybody else :)

SilverSabre said:

Red my dear :)

I told you it was yours from the start :)

Well done!

pylorns said:

Book..boook...book...book...book...book... can you hear the chant of people...

Beerslinger said:

This is one you honestly deserve. Bask in it, because you have earned it.

Annika said:

Darling, you deserve every bit of this joy. (And the cash too.)

Congrats dear. You deserve it

I agree with Pylorns... book book book book

... and now I'm going to start claiming credit for your succes. You'll hear me saying (if you could hear me from this far away) "Well I know she wrote the actual story, but it was my 11th hour marketing campaign that really won the prize... what did I do? ... well its not so mcuh what I did as what I didn't do... less doing, more of a general wishing it would work out for Red... but I'm sure that empassioned speech I wrote for her was the tipping point... mainly because it included swearing... yes that's it: I was her official manager of swearing... I know I can't believe I did so much for her either" and so on.

A great big congratulations! I'm so glad your faith in writing has been restored :)
The perfect opportunity to show that you're meant to be doing this!

terrashield said:

Congrats, again!

Nadine said:

Congratulations Ragel! How awesome! I am sure you will write a book soon!

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Jeanne and Bridget: My dear fellow 'twisted sisters'... I still can't believe it's true! I'm still expecting to wake up and to see any of YOUR names up there. I've no idea how or why it happened to me. Just incredibly overwhelmed and grateful. It was SUCH an incredible honour for me to be up there with all of you. Jeanne, please stop crying. Coffee and tears don't go well together. (I should know, even though we both know that I don't do the cooking thing. I know, though, because it's the only thing I've been drinking for the past few weeks!) Bridget, now that I can actually afford to buy your book, will you please autograph it for me?

Silver: Ever my loyal and faithful friend. Thank you again for all the behind-the-scenes encouragement! (I'm just making it clear so that people will know who to blame! :-D)

Py: Is THAT what the voices in my head have been chanting? I could've sworn it was "Fluke, fluke, fluke..."

Beerslinger: I definitely don't deserve it more than any of the others. Thank you so much though. Especially for these past few days!

Annika: Doll, I will never forget meeting you in LA! Can you believe everything that has happened to both of us since then?!? I wish I could celebrate with you and a Starbucks latté!

Aunty: My darling campaign manager. It was definitely your campaigning that clinched the deal for me. It was all your eloquence. But especially the cursing. Must've been. Because almost NO ONE I know voted for me!!! And my hits from Ireland has spiked DRAMATICALLY! Go raibh mile maith agat!

Terra: Thank you again, dear Terra!

Nadine: SWEETY! Oh, my gosh! I can't believe you are still reading! I still remember the day you 'came out' and revealed your real name on YOUR blog! But yours is MUCH nicer than mine!

And Dee? You little sneak... You may not have commented, but you and I both know exactly what you HAVE done! Naughty, naughty! :-)

kim said:

i blame your feed not working. but i digress...

CONGRATS! you really, REALLY deserve this!
you are a GREAT writer and i can't WAIT for the book.
oh, and the rest of the nanny saga, of course... ;)

Alice said:

Hey!!!! Loved your story!!!! You deserved to win!!!!!! Love your blog btw...


Po said:

Hey redsaid

Since you have been SO kind as to read and comment on my blog, I feel brave enough to ask you: Where is the end of the Nanny saga? I read parts one and two, but cannot find the end to this tragic tale. Am I missing it somehow?

You cannot leave a girl in suspense like this :)

Nikki said:

Hi Red, I've been meaning to comment - but I've been fighting with Movable Types (it's a regular thing).

Thanks so much for your kind words! I'm absolutely delighted that you won and that you've had your faith in yourself restored.


Love x

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Kim: DANKE SCHÖN, my darling friend! As for the funky feeds... I think it simply goes into shock every time I update this blog. Seriously, I know that it WAS broken some time ago, but as always, between Dee and Pylorns, the problem was fixed. I know this is a pain in the arse, but would you please try to resubscribe? And if it is STILL broken after that, then we know that there is another glitch.

Okay... and you didn't REALLY write those two words again, did you?!? :-)

Alice and Nikki: I mean it. I still can't get over the fact that I was even up there with all of you! Please don't ever quit writing! Thank you again for your kindness and grace.

Po: Trust me, the pleasure of reading your blog is all mine! As for your bravely posed question: *Sticks fingers in ears*: LALALALALALALALALALALALALALAAAAA! I can't HEAR you!!!!

*Sighs* Okay, fine.

The rest of it has not been written yet. Well, I did write a third part, but left it behind when I came home. Seemed symbolically apt at the time.

But, hey... now that I finally have the guts to write a book, I might disguise parts of that tale as fiction. In this case, the truth certainly is stranger than fiction...

Its no surprise to me you won this... you are an outstandingly amaizing writer... you touch peoples hearts and they can feel where you are coming from... You are a wonderful roll model that many young african woman... and possubly even men, could use... you create this beautiful peice of art through every column you blog through masterpeices each and every one of them... people would easily pay to see your site... (I know I coppied you writings and.......... no JUST KIDDING I PROMISE!) thought I could throw some humor into that saying as my last comment posted a long time ago was COMPLETELY misunderstood... I read your blogs to my son (and though 5 months old he always seems to hang on every word patiently awaiting to find out what happens next)...
You are a great gift to this world.. one that deserves the acknowledment givin to her (Sorry if that was spelt wrong Im not sure it is but the word looks funny)
I guess what I am trying to say is THANK YOU FOR BEING WHO YOU ARE AND NOT FEARING YOURSELF... reading your summaries some how helps me in the knowing that there are still good people out there who occasionally wear their hearts on their sleaves to bring a sense of peace to others... I have much respect for you for not giving up through your hard times... had that been me I probubly would have just let the hard times devour me and eat at me till all that poured out in the words would have been complete nigative pessimistic bull shit............
congratulations sweety! They definately choose a star for the prize....

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

Red Riding Hood: Girl, thank you SO much for your incredibly sweet words! You totally made me cry! I'm really incredibly touched. I am SO surprised and happy to know that you are still reading! Thank you! And take good care of yourself and your little boy.

TimT said:

First we take South Africa - then we take the world!

All hail the all-conquering Red!

Nafisa said:

Hey Red :) Congrats again.. Just popping in!

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Nafisa : Hey Red :) Congrats again.. Just popping in!... [go]
  • TimT : First we take South Africa - then we take the world! All hail the all-conquering Red!... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Red Riding Hood: Girl, thank you SO much for your incredibly sweet words! You totally made me cry! I... [go]
  • red... umm the "once mistaken blog theif" still sorry for that as well lol : Its no surprise to me you won this... you are an outstandingly amaizing writer... you touch peoples ... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Kim: DANKE SCHÖN, my darling friend! As for the funky feeds... I think it simply goes into shock eve... [go]
  • Nikki : Hi Red, I've been meaning to comment - but I've been fighting with Movable Types (it's a regular thi... [go]
  • Po : Hey redsaid Since you have been SO kind as to read and comment on my blog, I feel brave enough to a... [go]
  • Alice : Hey!!!! Loved your story!!!! You deserved to win!!!!!! Love your blog btw... Alice... [go]
  • kim : awww RED, I JUST SAW THIS NOW. i blame your feed not working. but i digress... CONGRATS! you real... [go]
  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Jeanne and Bridget: My dear fellow 'twisted sisters'... I still can't believe it's true! I'm still e... [go]
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