Thursday, March 5, 2020

Reader Spotlight: Tabatha Yeatts + DMC Challenge


For our first reader spotlight of 2020, I'm thrilled to feature a well-loved fixture of the Poetry Friday scene and one of my most favorite people: Tabatha Yeatts. Tabatha has shared hundreds of posts about music, art, wellness, and, of course, poetry on her blog The Opposite of Indifference. She has organized poem swaps, useful resources like printables for National Poetry Month, and other "neat stuff" that you can find at She is the editor of Imperfect: Poems about Mistakes: An Anthology for Middle Schoolers and has also written nonfiction books for young adults and dozens of articles for magazines and newspapers ranging from Cricket to Logic Puzzles to the Christian Science Monitor. Tabatha especially likes writing about animals, fantasy, and historical subjects. Browse through a selection of original poems on her blog or click here for the ones I've featured on Today's Little Ditty.

Although Tabatha exemplifies the opposite of indifference, she informed me that she is also "the opposite of a person who likes to be the center of attention." An unfaltering force behind the scenes, she spends her time on those things that she is most passionate about, which, besides writing, is making things and caring for people, pets, and plants. Making things can be anything from fixing the tastiest low-histamine, low sugar, gluten-free meals possible to concocting herbal salves and extracts. When asked about her superpower, Tabatha told me that she looks forward to being able to shoot lasers out of her hands when she turns 50.

Don't lean in too closely to your screens, folks, because that would be TODAY.

An alternative superpower might be that Tabatha is never bored, or maybe that she is a calming presence (minus the lasers). She's offering bonus points for anyone who figures out what her superhero name would be. I'm going with Laser Girl or possibly Scorch, but you can leave your suggestions in the comments. Whatever her name is, I'm flattered that this reluctant interviewee decided to share herself with the TLD community!

Tabatha's five favorites:
  • Favorite superhero: Captain America (Chris Evans)
  • Favorite color: dark cyan, orchid, or sea green
  • Favorite food: cheesecake
  • Favorite unpopular vegetable: Brussels sprouts
  • Favorite childhood stuffed animal: a cat named Big Fuzzy

Newest family member Preston likes Big Fuzzy too.
Poetry is —
. . . fitting word-pieces into a puzzle whose picture you make as you go.

How did you come to poetry?

I started writing poetry at an early age. My first published piece was a poem in Jack and Jill magazine about Vincent van Gogh, who is still one of my favorite artists.

Why do you write?

I write because I love reading, because I like being a conduit between an idea or story and other people, and because I LOVE the way it feels after I've written something.

Who or what inspires or influences your writing most?

My inspirations and influences overlap. The Poetry Friday community is a huge influence on my writing life. I pocket many ideas from making the rounds of their posts. Other inspirational influences include: my parents, kids, pets—

Preston’s plumb tuckered out from inspiring poems like this one.

and even my hardware architect husband, Anne Lamott (Bird by Bird), Stephen King (On Writing), Diane Lockward's poetry newsletter, Bernadette Geyer and the poets I met through her, J.K. Rowling, and anybody who's ever written a time-travel story.

What is the best advice you've ever gotten?

Some of the best advice I've gotten wasn't about writing. It was about love.

"The best way of knowing life is to love many things"
– paraphrasing Vincent van Gogh (again!)

I live by that. More love advice, this time from author Aberjhani:

At BOTH ends, baby! That may seem like a stretch, so start out with one pot of gold and see how it goes. :-) Once you've loved lots of things and yourself, it will be easier to put love at your center when you are dealing with tough situations. There will always be situations that pretty much seem like garbage from top to bottom. What I've discovered is that when love is your motivation, there is a glimmer of something beautiful no matter what. Love brings its own patina.

Hold on, folks, let's just savor that last bit, shall we?

Love brings its own patina. 

Mmmm... yes.

Do you have any recent or forthcoming books or projects you'd like to mention?

IMPERFECT is now available as an ebook!

Fantastic! Order your ebook copy HERE.

And finally, what have you chosen as this month's ditty challenge?

Write a poem about people (or animals or inanimate objects) and a game. 

It could be a board game, a sport, a fictional game—any kind of game—and the narrator could be in the middle of playing it or teaching you how to play or telling how it went very wrong or the poem itself could be a game. Okay, poets, it's Game Day!

Click to enlarge.
Game on!
I'm excited to see where this challenge takes us.

"Ticket to Ride: District 5" (see right) is a game that Tabatha and her husband made for their son.

You'll find the padlet embedded below. Add your poem about a game 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

One of Tabatha's superpowers may be that she's never bored, but I'd have to add that she's also never boring. Tabatha is the perfect combination of caring and fun, her blog posts never fail to make me think, and she inspires me to be a better, more loving person. So please join me in thanking her for being here today and help me wish her the happiest of birthdays!

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

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Thanks once again to everyone who participated in last month's DMC challenge from Buffy Silverman! If you missed our collection of poems that use combined or invented words, you'll find it HERE. has determined that the winner of a signed copy of On a Snow-Melting Day: Seeking Signs of Spring by Buffy Silverman will go to . . .

Congratulations, Linda!

Volcanoes and eggs are on the menu at this week's Poetry Friday roundup hosted by Rebecca Herzog. Find out what else is on offer at Sloth Reads.


  1. Oh, it's great to see Tabatha here, giving us a game-playing, poetry-making challenge. (Still channeling Buffy's word play!) I love games, now playing with the granddaughters! Yes, Tabatha shares new ideas and poets, every post inspiring. Thanks, Michelle & Tabatha!

  2. Happy birthday, Tabatha! Thanks for the wonderful interview!

  3. Happy Birthday, Tabatha, and thanks for this interview, both of you. Wonderful learning more about her (I'd better watch out for those lasers). Mmmmm, cheesecake. :)

  4. Love the lasers... and I vote for Scorch as the perfect superhero name. Hahaha. Thanks for this challenge... I have the perfect situation in mind... now if I can just get it into poetic form.

  5. Animals playing a game...that sounds like fun! Thanks for the challenge, Tabatha, and for the opportunity to learn more about Tabatha, Michelle.

  6. Woot! You have one deliriously happy and appreciative winner here! I can't wait to get my hands on Snow Melting Day. And, what a lovely interview of our Tabatha. I have come to admire her steadfast writing and blog posts. I don't know how she does it but every single post makes me think more deeply and I find myself saying, Wow! Happy Birthday, Tabatha! 50 isn't SO bad. As long as you don't mind the AARP junk mail and the weird things your body starts to do...or not do. There's definitely story material in the aging process. Let's just put it that way. Anyway, you BOTH are two of my favorite poets and inspirations. What a delight to read this post with you both here today. Well done. And, thank you!

  7. Tabatha, There's a quote I love about turning 50. "If you haven't grown up by the time you're 50, you don't have to!" I love learning more about you as we have not had the pleasure of a face to face meeting yet. Virtual, you are the bomb at inspiration and keeping poets connected through lovely gift exchanges. My students had game day today and we played Blurt! A hilarious and fun game!

  8. That was delightful. And I love all the love quotes.

  9. Hey Tabatha, Happy Happy Birthday–our lives begin anew at 50! Michelle, so happy to have Tabatha here–I'm turning that golden-ended rainbow upside down into a smile from all the overflowing goodness here! How about Tabatha taking on the garb of:
    Rainbow-powered Superhero…
    Thanks for the "Game on" challenge Tabatha, and inspiring post Michelle-you're both superpowers to me! :)

  10. Thanks for featuring me, Michelle! And thanks for the birthday wishes, y'all! Glad to hear that I don't have to grow up, Margaret :-)
    I am so excited to see what game poems appear on the padlet this month. I shared a poem about a slinky on my blog recently...once you start thinking of topics, they are really endless!

  11. "What I've discovered is that when love is your motivation, there is a glimmer of something beautiful no matter what. Love brings its own patina."
    Such beautiful words of wisdom. Thank you, Tabatha. I'm looking forward to participating in this TLD challenge.

  12. Tabatha is such an interesting and generous person that I truly enjoyed reading more about her, Michelle. I must admit that I am stumped by the challenge she presented but eager to give it a try (when I am free...).

  13. What a very happy surprise to find Tabatha here today! (Tabatha, you kept this very quiet the other day--you see, T and I are "walking friends," neighbors who discovered only after some time that we were also PF participants.) "Gold at both ends, baby!" is my new favorite quote, and I shall endeavor to love myself and others with that in mind. A game is now developing in my mind...something a little like the Snail's Pace Race from Ravensburg... :))))

  14. Love having Tabatha in your "Spotlight On"Michelle–I'm turning your rainbow upside down into a huge smile :) Happiest of Birthday Wishes Tabatha–and thanks for the Game on poem challenge!

  15. Nice to get to know you better, Tabatha! Thanks for featuring her, Michelle.

  16. Tabatha, thanks for the challenge! I'll give it a try.

  17. Tabatha has so many superpowers... I love that you were able to drag her into your spotlight for just a bit. Thanks to you both! My life would be much less rich without each of you.
    (--I attempted to add a wee poem to the Padlet; hope I did it right!)

  18. Happy Birthday Tabatha!
    What a great challenge and amazing poems you inspired.

  19. Fabulous interview! Thank you, Tabatha for letting Michelle shine the spotlight on you for a little bit. When you get those lasers, let me know. I turned 50 last year and haven't had them show up yet!