But Apparently I DO Have The Sort Of Face That Can Inspire Writing Contests (NOT!)

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These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of major deadlines and illness too. (I've been battling a bit of a cough and riling up the neighbourhood dogs since I apparently have the ability to bark louder than they do; but far worse than that is that my mom and aunt both ended up in hospital with double pneumonia! Such overachievers, they are. They couldn't just be content to get pneumonia in merely ONE lung each - no, they had to go for the whole deal!)

Anyway, the stress and worry and fatigue were all starting to get to me one day, when I decided to just take a bit of a break. By keeping myself tethered to my laptop, of course. (Why, don't you take a break like that too?) I opened a South African news site and saw that my favourite humour columnist, one Mr. James Clarke, had just published a new column that very day!

I settled in to read with a cup of coffee, only to almost choke on it the next minute. Because right there, in his column, much to my UTTER astonishment and delight, I saw my very own name in all its hideous* glory!!

It was truly a lovely surprise and a heart-warming pick-me-up on a day when I had been feeling particularly overwhelmed and down.

And a few days later, I sat down and wrote him this e-mail:

Subject: Y(our) 55-Word Short Story Contest

Dear Mr. Clarke,

Oh my word! And I thought that I was a procrastinator!! You see, for the past three and a half years, I’ve been meaning to send you an e-mail to inform you, Threnody, the Slow Spokes (remember, my little term of endearment for your Tour de Farce team?), your E*D*I*T*O*R, the esteemed members of DENSA and the rest of the Stoeptalk group that I have left the United States, returned to South Africa and that I am now living right under your nose – well, sort of… okay, not at all – in Stellenbosch.

I have to tell you, living among all this fermented liquid inspiration has done wonders for my writing career. These days, I’m working as a freelance journalist, writer and blogger. (You’ll be happy to learn that I’ve refrained from trying to compose any more limericks though…) I’ve also remained an avid fan and reader of Stoeptalk through the years and thanks to the web, I’ve been able to read it wherever I’ve been in the world. So I was absolutely delighted (and utterly floored!) to see my name in your column again! Tell Threnody that I’m not even offended that my mail was misfiled with the teabags (even though I’m a fan of coffee, myself.) My sister, however, is very concerned about the fact that your secretary hasn’t made you a single cup of tea in a decade!

Since I’ve sadly never been in possession of the kind of face that can launch a thousand ships (ED: More like the kind of face that can SINK a thousand ships), I’ll only be too happy to be the girl whose long ago e-mail inspired her favourite columnist to launch a 55-word short story contest! Does that mean that I’m not eligible to enter though? I hope not!

Then I proceeded to tell him all about my clumsy attempts to write tiny tales on twitter and even took a (long) shot at entering a few in his/our contest.

HE WROTE BACK!!!

However, before I am able to tell you what he said in his e-mail, I have to tell you a bit of a back story. But I'll save that for next week, when his new column will be published.

*Yes, I loathe my real name. But that's also a story for another time.

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2 Comments

Very cool. I loved the stories, but I bet you'd kick their arses! Even if you don't enter post your story here!

Redsaid Author Profile Page said:

And with everything going on I've completely forgotten to reply to you, Aunty. Sorry! Yes, I entered. Sent him some of my twitter tiny tales. (I'm too lazy now to come up with even 55 word fiction, it seems!) But those 55-word stories from the newspaper that I had sent him? It actually did include one of mine. We had all won a contest called 55 Fiction hosted annually by a Californian newspaper. So I was selfishly hoping that he would publish MY story only (me being a fellow South African and all among all those Yanks and Canadians), but he didn't! (I'll send it to you if you like.) Anyway, his new column was out on Monday with no mention of his/our contest yet, so I suppose I'll have to wait a bit longer to see if use any of my stories this time!

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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

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  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: And with everything going on I've completely forgotten to reply to you, Aunty. Sorry! Yes, I entered... [go]
  • Aunty Helpful Dictator : Very cool. I loved the stories, but I bet you'd kick their arses! Even if you don't enter post your ... [go]
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