Archive for the ‘Tricia Sutton’ Category

Today I launch my Three Damn Things list for the Type-A personality. TDT is designed for the Type-A person trapped in a Type-B body. Or, put another way, the right-brained person trapped in a left-brained head.

You want to create, but you can’t with so much internal noise, the frustration of letting things go unchecked. If only the voices would stop yelling at you to fix this, call on that, sew this, trim that. The voice is shrill and always will be to the creative Type-A type.

This isn’t about basic life things that need accomplished. I’m talking about the things we can put off for later. And later never comes. If your car is due for an oil change, what’s another thousand miles going to hurt? If you haven’t balanced your checkbook in seventeen months, what’s another month going to hurt? You’ve been meaning to fight that erroneous medical charge, but fighting anything is unpleasant. Put it off. Besides, it’s extra. Extra as in I don’t have to do it and nobody will ever know.

We pretend we don’t care about the clutter that is growing like mold on a shower curtain. We pretend we don’t see the actual mold on the shower curtain. “The new me,” you say (the one who is pretending to be someone they’re not) “is blind to all that. I don’t care. I’m going to finish this novel if it kills me.”

And killing you, it is. BECAUSE YOU CAN’T LIVE LIKE THAT.  It isn’t you. That lifestyle doesn’t fit your personality type. Trust me; I know. You will remain preoccupied with whatever it is you are neglecting. The bigger the neglect (only Type-A would consider something like not color-coding her closet as neglect), the more apt you are to writer’s block. And neglecting your writing to take care of the internal nag doesn’t work either because now it’s your writing that’s nagging at you. It’s a vicious, never-ending cycle, and you need to do something about it, damnit.

When I hear about writers landing an agent eight months after they started the novel, I die a little inside. They are clearly Type B and right-brained all the way. They can write like there’s nothing else to do (I bet their CDs and DVDs aren’t even in alphabetical order). And the Type-A, right-brained can only write when there is nothing else to do.

Don’t take it anymore! Damn it.

Why “damn”? Because I’m fed up, damnit. Writing a to-do list is all fine and great and everything but most of what I put on mine are really just reminders of stuff I have to do and therefore unlikely to put off: scoop litter box, empty dishwasher, pay bills, etc. It’s the extra stuff that put me at my breaking point—damnit—and it’s messing with my creative flow. When I have too much stuff piling on, I can’t think around all the clutter. I can’t write. I can’t blog. I can’t move forward. I’m stuck in the quicksand of life, damnit.

Today. And every day from this one, I will do three things on my backlog. I have to be strategic. Photo albums will take all day so I will list it with two very small things like pull the six-foot-tall weed and find my glasses that I misplaced months ago. I use dime-store reading glasses as a replacement, but these are prescription, and I paid good money for them, damnit (I am fully aware that by searching for my glasses I will find many other neglected piles in my house. I don’t care. I’m ready, with my pen and pad to add those to my list too, damnit).

I can’t wait to wear all my clothes that needed ironed or needed a button. I can’t wait to see my hallway lined with my kids’ school pics from pre-k to current. I can’t wait to make that recipe that’s been glaring at me from a fridge magnet for, I kid you not, fifteen months. But just knowing I’m back in control will silence the internal nagging so I can focus more on my writing. Damnit.

What personality type do you think you are? Do you have any damn things nagging at you?


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I figure you’ve thought I’ve fallen off the face of the earth by now, that I’ve given up blogging and didn’t tell anyone, that maybe something bad has happened to me considering my November post about my October. But none of the above is the reason for my absence. Silly you for letting your imagination run away with you. No. The real reason is I was abducted by aliens and I have been rejected returned.

Well, how else do you explain an unexplained absence? I wake up every day and say, “Where have I been and what have I been doing?”

There is evidence I’ve been gone. Just today I opened the fridge and noticed stuff. Bad stuff. I popped open lids to hairy, unidentifiable things. The only thing remotely familiar was the sweet potato dish leftover from Christmas. Or was it Thanksgiving? (At least my Christmas stuff is put away. Yes, I’m talking to you my next door neighbors who still have their Halloween décor in their yard. [maybe they were abducted by aliens, too]}.

My paper stacks are piled higher. My house is in disarray, as with my hair, my yard is unkempt, as with my hair, and my bills are unpaid.  See?

What?  I. Am. Not. Always. This. Way.  Not even a little bit. Well, maybe a little bit. Maybe a lot. Ok, damnit, I’ve been slipping. Ok?

And I’m not taking it anymore. Today, I’ve turned a new leaf. No more Missy nice gal. I’m doing something different and it’s called Three Damn Things. But not just any things. These are things things. Things that will change my life and make me a better person. But because I’m still recovering from scary refrigerator *things (*things that are bad and unmentionable and not to be confused with Three Damn Things), I will have to continue this post tomorrow. Let’s just hope aliens don’t abduct me before you learn important life lessons.

Until then …

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The memoir that grew into a novel that shrunk into a short story collection. Almost. I still haven’t decided on that last part: the short story collection. And I wouldn’t say the memoir “grew” into a novel exactly. More like I changed lanes. The word out there is memoirs won’t sell, unless you’re famous. Unfortunately, I had already written it at this point.

I started out with the idea of humorous Family Stories told in short stories like that of David Sedaris. But word out there is short stories won’t sell, either, unless you’re famous.

I like my story better as a memoir, because to make it a novel I must actually follow rules, a formula complete with a beginning, middle and end and with plot points, character arcs, resolutions, and, omg, a likeable character.

So rules, I followed. And I rewrote and rewrote and read and read, not for pleasure, but for scene structure and pace and all the while I was impatient to be done … again. So I took bits of my book and reworked some of them into short stories and submitted to lit journals and some actually got published. But I’m not ready to submit the remaining thirty shorts from my book all over kingdom come. My dream is to be read (nice if I was paid too). My dream isn’t for this one big story to be read in bits and pieces. It’s like a series of one-night stands without any true bonding with the standee/characters. For any of you who have read my published excerpts—and admits to it—I want to yell, “But wait, There’s More.”

Then came the idea that I should publish all the stories to lit journals, then compile them all into a short story collection.

My indecisiveness is what keeps me from moving ahead. I need to decide its fate before I read my novel once more for plot holes. Should I choose to move ahead with a short story collection, I’ve got a little dismantling work ahead of me. If I choose to keep it a novel, I’ve got more rewrites—you mean there needs to be a plot? Easier would be to know the direction before taking the journey. 

Do you like reading short story collections or do you prefer a long-term relationship with your character? Come back on Friday to meet a special guest who managed to do both by compiling a short story collection and by linking the stories to create a thread through one character’s life. She will be discussing short stories vs. novels (she’s written both).

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Okay, I’ll play. Word Press is offering daily topics on what to blog about. And since I’m topic challenged, I thought I’d participate in the endeavor. And since I once publicly declared I’d post on a weekly schedule and failed miserably—and publicly—I thought I could use the prompts. However, I see a flaw in the plan. And that is if many word press peeps participate, we’ll all be blogging about the same thing. So herein lies my ingenious, super, lazy-as-all-get-out plan: You do it.

Here’s what I’m suggesting: You, my fellow wonders of the blogging community, provide me a topic (as many as you want) in my comments section, and my future posts will be on that subject. It need not be about writing, but anything and everything. Like What’s the worst thing you ever ate, to What celebrity would you most want to marry? But for now, I’ll use Word Presses topic of the day, and it is: List three countries you’d like to visit, and why you want to go.  

Me: 1. Costa Rica for its tropical jungles. 2. Thailand for its unspoiled beaches, and 3. Italy since I’d been once before and didn’t get enough.

And here’s a toast to the new year. I hope for accomplishment on all of our resolutions. Publishing contracts for so many of my writer friends—me included. And a general all-around great year for all. HAPPY NEW YEAR.

Now hit me with your best shot. But don’t expect expertise. I’m an expert in everything and a master in none. I promise to make it interesting, though.

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Got anything special you want for Christmas this year?

I drew a blank for my own answer. Then I saw this.



I wear Tevas. I live in my Tevas. But who on God’s green earth would’ve thought to make them in stilettos? I mean, the type of woman to wear Tevas would not wear stilettos–myself included. 

But wait. There’s more.

They will show you what a woman does in Teva stilettos.

She can do yard work. In socks, too. (I would totally do that)

And haul it away. (bigger socks)

Okay, not for me. And I’m too tall, besides.

So how about this?

Only problem is I don’t wear dresses. So why not this?

Leggings? Me? Not.

So I coordinated my own signature outfit.

I’m well aware nothing matches, and nor should it. Uh, hello, it’s me we’re talking about.

So what sugar plums are dancing in your head? Go ahead and tell Santa what’s on your wish list.

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It might have come to your attention by now that I won’t be a cake decorator when I grow up as evidenced by Cake Disasters I and II. So let’s move on to ornaments.

There was a time, long, long ago—let’s call them the good old days—when all the women in my family lived in the same town, and we got together often and did crafty things. Let me say first that I am not a crafty person (see cake links above), but I am shifty. I didn’t want my mom, sister, and sister-in-law having fun without me. Nor did I want them talking about me behind my back, especially since I provided them continuous gossip material in which to discuss. Of course, looking back now, my life wasn’t near as newsworthy as I imagined. In all likelihood, I would not have made headlines in any of their conversations. I might have made the comics section, if at all (Born Loser comes to mind).

So when they got together for Christmas crafts, I was right there in the center of it all, an imposter among the creative. Lucille Ball vs Martha Stewarts. Once I got into it, there was no turning back. My over focused ADD took center stage, and I committed myself 110% to the project, tuning out the banter, the background Christmas music, the instructions. And I would look up and they would be gone, finished light hours ahead of me, dispersed to other parts of the house or to bed. But ha! I finished. Let’s take a look.

The first pictured are the oldest from my childhood. Here we have some silk and velvet fabric-draped bulbs with fancy pins. My mother’s is the one on the left, my sister’s on the right. Time of completion: 30 minutes.

And here’s mine.



Time of completion: 3 hours.(sans instructions, of course)


Pictured below is a cinnamon log by my sister-in-law and a handpainted bulb by my mother.


And here’s my horse/donkey/whatever.



Pay close attention to its face. Forget the time involved.


Below is another handpainted bulb by my mom that is the most recent, painted eleven years ago for my infant and says “Baby’s First Christmas” on the back.

Baby's First Christmas

Here’s another by my mom.
Here’s an older creation from my sister-in-law.
And here’s mine from 1989 on maternity leave with my first. So essentually, this is my Baby’s First Christmas.

 I’m scared. What if I’m an imposter to writing too? What if any one of these ladies, should she decide this minute, writes a book. Will it be done in a fraction amount of time than mine? Will it shine with effortless prose, structure, and style? Will it be about me?

Okay, I can strike off that last one. Where I lacked in creativity, I made up for in paranoia. But I have enough residual paranoia left to worry I’m all a sham, and if my cakes and ornaments are anything to show for it, then I’m in deep doo doo.  

Are you creative in areas besides writing?

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In my own voyeuristic way, I love the “People of Walmart”: The collected photos of Walmart customers from all over the US—world? Personally, the things I usually witness at my local Walmart are litter, crowds, and rude behavior. But then what do I know? I rarely shop there. But I would more often if I were guaranteed to run across some of these “terrorist”. Actually, I should make a point, as a concerned citizen for my country, to shop there to report any suspicious activity. Of course, what the gov’t considers suspicious and what I do is a tad grey. For instance: Once while shopping there on a rare evening of no crowds, a woman shopper felt compelled to invade my personal space and yell—no scream—for someone named William. This type of bellowing is acceptable if, say, you’ve lost your child and panic ensued, all manners of conventional, social etiquette, understandably, abandoned.  But William—fog horned in more syllables than necessary—was a young adult who apparently needed tighter fitting pants.

Had I been a gov’t watchdog, I would have made a citizen’s arrest then alerted the emergency broadcast system a code red suspicious behavior. Looking at this video it is clear now what is considered suspicious. Watch it. Watch it now. Do not delay. Prepare yourself so there are no false alarms.

Do you have any Walmart stories to share?

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I’m at it again (go here for Part I). Yes, it’s true; I made another cake, and this time I’ll let you name it.

Harvest Heap

Atrocious Autumn Awfullness

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A couple of posts ago, I whined expressed concern about not having a November publication. Of course it’s a lot like playing lotto: you can’t win if you don’t play. I haven’t submitted much in November or October, or September, just resubmitting stories that have been rejected. One story has been rejected twelve times. If I didn’t love the story so much and believe in it and its potential to open doors and pave golden, diamond-dusted paths toward fame and fortune, then maybe I’d let it retire. But I’m deluded and stubborn: two very hazardous personality traits.

All this rejection is good for me. It’s thickening my skin for future agent rejections. You know, “Don’t take it personally, but we can’t stand you or your writing, and your story makes us want to hork all over my keyboard,” type of rejection.

 So I compiled some rejections from various short stories, so you, the curious, can know the different levels of pain I must endure from time to time.

 I present to you the polite but dull standard form rejection. 

Dear Ms. Sutton,

 Thank you for sending us ____. Our editors have looked it over carefully, but don’t feel it’s the best fit for our publication. Unfortunately, we are unable to place all of the fine pieces we receive. We wish you luck in placing it elsewhere.

 The impersonal and brief rejection 

Dear Artist,

Thanks for the submission. I appreciate it. But I’m going to pass on this one.

 The let-me-down-gently rejection

 Dear Tricia –

 Thank you for submitting ____to ___ for publication. Though I like your writing ability, I’m afraid we will decline. We receive many more manuscripts than we can accept. We wish you luck in placing it with another publisher.

 You are welcome to submit other stories to us at any time.

This-shows-they-read-it rejection


 Thank you for letting us read ___. It’s an amusing piece, but we felt it’s not a good fit for ___. Thanks for thinking of our publication, and good luck placing your piece elsewhere.

 The personal rejection

Dear Tricia,

Thanks for sending ___ to us. I’m going to respectfully pass on this piece. 

I like the characters and the voice of the narrator, Tricia, but the perspective’s a bit insular for my tastes. I like stories that focus a bit more on external interactions between characters, allowing the conflict to arise from those interactions.

 The-I-don’t-know-but-I-think-I-should-be-insulted-personal rejection

Hello Tricia,

 Thank you for the submission. This is an intriguing story, but it’s not the kind of literature we’re looking for. All the pieces we accept must, in some way, suggest an evolution in writing technique.

 The almost-there-personal rejection


Thank you for the submission.  We’re going to pass on this particular piece, but it was very close. (No, we don’t say that to everybody.)  You’re a strong writer, and we encourage you to submit again. 

 The acceptance

Hello Tricia,

 Good to hear from you again. 

Thanks for that reminder of how smells can transport us to days gone by.

 And now I present to you my very first ever published (and written) poetry. It’s true, I wrote poetry. Don’t laugh. Okay laugh, you will anyway.


Do you have any rejections you like to share?


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exhibit A: normal, happy reactions

I’m sad that Crabby Old Fart has folded up his blog on The Problem With Young People, especially since he never covered the topic that’s been bothering me: The problem of non-excited kids these days. I’ve noticed this lack of excitement for years now, but let’s take more recent events like last weekend for example. Halloween being on a Sunday prompted me to throw a Halloween party for my eleven year old and her friends. The party started late afternoon and at dusk they went trick or treating. I asked my daughter the next day after she came home from school if her friends had a good time. “I don’t know, they didn’t mention it.”

Ah ha, same as last month when I threw her birthday party, no one mentioned it then either. No recaps or reenactments, nada. Where’s the enthusiasm? Before you accuse me of throwing uneventful parties, I must inform you that this is an epidemic everywhere. Even Halloween itself is on steroids nowadays in hopes to motivate some excitement, e.g., media hype, commercialism, and costumes—no more plastic Casper masks, no siree.

scratch A., exhibit B is much easier on the eyes

When I was a kid, it was about the candy and how much of it we could get. Decorations were limited to carved pumpkins and costumes were homemade. Not anymore, Now retailers must keep shaking things up to stimulate reaction out of these not-easily-amused kids. Disneyland tries, bless them. But back when they weren’t trying as hard (back when you handed over a ticket for rides. Oh, no. I feel so old), it really was the “Happiest Place On Earth”. It showed on the kids’ faces. Now it’s double-sized, overpriced and overcrowded and kids aren’t talking about it the next day at school.

In fact, it’s like pulling teeth to find out what some kids did over the summer. I usually ask the parents and usually the summer vacations they had were scream worthy: overseas trips, mission trips, etc., heck, they could’ve rocketed to space and back and I’d never get the kid  to confess.

I don’t know what’s gotten into kids these days, but I find it very disturbing their lack of cheer. Like how can I profit from these future readers of my books if they can’t get excited about it enough to spread the joy? (I know. You thought I was actually concerned for the mental state of today’s youth and not about making a buck. Thank you for thinking so highly of me. It makes me warm and tingly and even excites me.)

When I was a kid and finished a book I liked, I’d talk about it for months. I’d shout my love for it from the rooftops. And the books I’d read I’d chosen from the praises of other rooftop criers. But today’s kids are tomorrow’s readers of my book (and yours) and the way they are behaving right now it could be the best damn book they ever read and no one would ever know it.

Have you noticed this trend? What’s wrong? Is word-of-mouth extinct?  Can we fix it? Put it on the endangered lists?

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