Thursday, October 10, 2019

A Grab Bag of Monster Fears

"Monster" by Lars Plougmann

October is a super fun month at Today's Little Ditty. When the spirit of Halloween knocks at the door, we've always done our best to greet her with a generous plate of poetry.

"Yoohoo!" by Ruth Hartnup
In past years we've featured an unfolding story of insomnia, a mummy and zombie pas-de-deux, a fanciful animal tale, a fine example of Halloween trickery, a magical rhyming picture book by Carrie Clickard, a collection of delightfully frightful poems by Calef Brown, a HalloZENO party, and several other hair-raising celebrations involving monsters, beasts, spooky memories and other assorted horrors... sometimes necessitating Post Halloween Stress Disorder (PHSD) therapy.

That's quite a haul for any trick-or-treater! But we're not shutting off the porch light yet. This month we're featuring poems about monster fears—not fear of monsters, but things that a monster might be afraid of. Fun, right? Read more about our current DMC challenge in last week's interview with Rebecca Herzog.

Here are a few of the goodies on the padlet right now.

Flash! Dash!

"Torch Monster" by Michael
I hear the footsteps coming near;
I hope without the thing I fear.
I like the dark, the shadows’ gloom,
then I can scare those in this room.
The door creaks open, someone cries.
Oh no, the flashlight beam defies
my best performance filled with lies.
I slink away when it’s too bright.
Monsters cannot bear the light.

© 2019 Linda Baie. All rights reserved.

a cherita terbalik

schmutz smooths the angles
and softens her warts—she
looks almost human

oh, how she despises cleaning
but she must—shudder!

mirror on the wall

© 2019 Diane Mayr. All rights reserved.

"Pockmarked mirror" by Andrea Kirkby

"Child Imagination" by Cesar Mascarenhas
Monster's Panic Attack

I'm crouched in the closet,
my eyes on the door.
I hear little footsteps
on her bedroom floor.
The tension is rising—
a sliver of light!
The closet door opens
and I scream in fright!

© 2019 Cindy Breedlove. All rights reserved.

Five Fearful Monsters

Five little monsters prowling in the park.
“Yikes!” said the first. “I’m scared of the dark!”
“Yow!” said the second. “Something’s creeping near!”
“Hush!” said the third. “It’s the wind you hear.”
“No!” said the fourth. “There’s a frightful noise!”
“Look!” said the fifth. “Little girls and boys!
Just a bunch of kids running down the street...
dressed for Halloween, shouting “Trick-or-treat!”

© 2019 Dianne Moritz. All rights reserved.

"TricK or TreaT" by Kylie_Jaxxon

Speaking of trick-or-treating, have I got a treat for you next week! You'll just have to wait to find out what it is though. Hope you can stand the suspense.

"He's seen better days...." by melfoody

Leave your poem about something a monster is afraid of HERE.
Catherine Flynn writes about gratefulness at Reading to the Core, where she's hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Reader Spotlight: Rebecca Herzog + DMC Challenge


Rebecca Herzog is a stay at home mom of two kids (9 and 2) and two pets (bearded dragon and tarantula). She’s passionate about learning new things, cheesy jokes, and Halloween. As you might expect, she leans toward writing creepy and funny things as well. (She’s tried writing more serious fare, but it never felt right.) Read Rebecca's creepy poem "Dolly" HERE or peruse more of her work, plus book reviews and assorted ramblings, at her blog Sloth Reads.

Becky's superpower is research. She loves to learn all sorts of things and will often do deep dives into a topic that interests her. I was intrigued by these diving expeditions and asked if she could give me an example of a topic she might have delved into recently. Her response was impressive enough that I wanted to share it verbatim:
I am currently writing a spooky middle grade novel about a doll that comes to life. I always thought that dolls were kind of creepy, and I wanted to learn a bit more about how bone china dolls were made. So I researched how they'd grind bones up to make a paste and that 50% of the bone china is actual bones. Then I jumped to a fear of dolls being called pediophobia. And before I knew it, I'd learned that the first film with a scary doll came out in 1928, and that E.T.A Hoffman's stories from 1816 are considered the first creepy doll stories in literature. Once I go down the rabbit hole, something that should have only taken me 5 minutes can turn into a much longer dive.
Whoa. Like I said, impressive, right?

A book that Becky recommends everyone should read is Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, but ask her five minutes from now and she might give you a different answer.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for a few more answers right now!  Let's start with five of her favorite things.

"Frankenkid" © John Herzog

Becky's five favorites:

  • Favorite color: green 
  • Favorite word: cogitate 
  • Favorite artist: my husband (
  • Favorite music: folk music and movie scores
  • Favorite monster: werewolf

Poetry is —
. . . so hard to do well, but fun enough to keep trying.

How did you come to poetry?

I saw a twitter post for the Madness Poetry tournament back in 2017 and discovered the Poetry Friday community through it. I hadn't really written any poetry before then, so it has been a lot of fun to learn.

Why do you write?

I write because I have so many interests. I've wanted to be an astronaut, a wilderness survivor, a biologist, a monster hunter, an archaeologist, a circus clown...the list goes on and on. Writing lets me wear each of these hats whenever I want. 

How does poetry fit into your life?

I have young children, so finding time to write my poetry is tough. In the summer, I write from 9:30PM-1:30AM and my husband gets up with the kids. During the school year, I try to get up at 5AM to get some writing in before getting my daughter and husband off to school.

Courtesy Herzog Family

Describe three of your writing habits.

1. Must have a drink nearby (usually water or Cherry Coke Zero),
2. I like to know exactly what I am writing before sitting down to work, and
3. I like to listen to white noise if the house is noisy.

When you’re feeling stuck, what gets your creativity flowing?

Whenever I feel stuck, I will usually start writing in stream of conscience. This keeps the inner critic from getting louder while I wait for the wheels in my mind to catch again and I can continue whatever it was that I was writing. For bigger moments of stuck-ness, I like to get outside and skateboard or roller skate.

What have you chosen as this month's ditty challenge?

Monster Fears. 

Most everyone is afraid of monsters, but what are monsters most afraid of? What scares a werewolf? A swamp monster? etc.

As an example, here's a poem I wrote about "Frankenkid"—John's illustration shown above. 

Frankenkid Goes to the Dance

Bet you think I'm scared of fire
But there's something much more dire

The music starts, I need to move
But I can't seem to find my groove

It's really hard to feel the beat
When you have someone else's feet

© 2019 Rebecca Herzog. All rights reserved. 


So who's ready to jump into this month's challenge with both feet?

Ronel Reyes

(You never know what you might find!)

You'll find the padlet embedded below. Add your poem about something a monster might fear at any point during the month or scroll through to check out what others are contributing.


By posting on the padlet, you are also granting me permission to feature your poem on Today's Little Ditty. I'm not sure how often I'll be featuring poems from reader challenges, but I want to keep my options open. :)

If you have not participated in a challenge before, please send me an email at TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com so that I can contact you, if necessary.

In the lower right corner of the padlet you'll see a pink dot with a plus sign. Click on it to open a text box. I find it works best to type your title on the title line and paste the rest of your poem where it says "Write something...". Single click outside the text box when finished. This board is moderated to prevent spam. Once your poem is approved, it will appear publicly.

Remember to include your name as author of any work that you post!

TEACHERS, it's great when students get involved! Ditty of the Month Club challenges are wonderful opportunities to learn about working poets and authors while having fun with poetry prompts. Thank you for spreading the word! For children under 13, please read my COPPA compliance statement in the sidebar to the right.

BLOGGERS, thank you for publishing your poems on your own blogs–I love that! Please let me know about it so I can share your post. Also remember to include your poem (or a direct link to your post) on the padlet.

If you prefer to open this padlet in a new tab, click HERE.

Made with Padlet

Please join me in thanking Becky for being with us today. The life of any Halloween party, I'm thrilled to death to have her here for this month's DMC festivities!

If you would like to be featured in a future reader spotlight, I invite you to complete this form.

You'll find last week's wrap-up celebration of all-about-me acrostic poems (inlcuding some terrific late additions) HERE. Feel free to continue adding to the collection if you'd like.

Cheriee Weichel introduces Vancouver children's poet Bob Heidbreder and hosts this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Library Matters.