Holly Gonzalez Marketing & Copywriting

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Go Play Project: Day 12 | The Hand of Buddha

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Go Play Project – Day 12

The first time my friend Mara* kissed her now boyfriend, she fainted and saw the hand of the Buddha. What did it all mean, she wondered? Well, it turns out it was a pretty good omen for love and happiness, and also the inspiration for today’s collage.

In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.



*Not her real name, but close enough.

Go Play Project: Day 11 | Blue Moon

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Go Play Project – Day 11

Last night was the super moon, and it really was spectacular, all low slung, bright and big. I adore Billy Collins, and as luck would have it, the moon shows up in several of his poems.

While the moon doesn’t have a “starring” role (see what I did there?) in this poem, the last two lines are quite lovely.



The name of the author is the first to go

followed obediently by the title, the plot,

the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel

which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,


as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor

decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,

to a little fishing village where there are no phones.


Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye

and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,

and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,


something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,

the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.


Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,

it is not poised on the tip of your tongue

or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.


It has floated away down a dark mythological river

whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall


well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those

who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.


No wonder you rise in the middle of the night

to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.

No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

— Billy Collins



Go Play Project: Day 10 | Bird by Bird

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Go Play Project – Day 10

For my money, you won’t find a better book on writing than Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. My well-worn copy has been read and re-read countless times. She writes about the need for shitty first drafts, that perfectionism is the enemy of the people, and that if you want to turn someone in real life into a character in your fiction (and avoid getting sued for libel), the “best advice I can give you is to give him a teenie little penis so he will be less likely to come forth.”

As for today’s collage, it’s inspired by this passage, from which her book takes its title:

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day… he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”



Go Play Project: Day 9 | Midnight at the Oasis

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Go Play Project – Day 9

Send your camel to bed. As it turns out I’d always misheard this line as “sing your camel to bed,” which sounds so much more interesting, don’t you think? I can’t believe this song was recorded in 1973 and that I remember it so vividly. I’m officially older than old.

But beyond Maria Muldaur’s song, I chose these images (which were actually on the back of a magazine page I had torn out) because without camels, I wouldn’t be here at all. As the story goes, my Iraqi grandfather had the brilliant business idea to bring camels to Mexico and corner the beast-of-burden market. Unfortunately, it was only after he and his camels had traveled half way around the world that he found out that the Mexicans were pretty well set with burros, thanks.

I’m sure you’ve got a fascinating tale to tell about your ancestors. Share it in the comments below, on Facebook, or use it as your own inspiration for your Go Play Project!



Go Play Project: Day 8 | Under the “X” in Texas

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Go Play Project – Day 8

I don’t have many rules about my collage process, but one that I stick to pretty hard and fast is that I don’t use words. Words are what I wrestle with in my “real” job, and this Go Play Project is meant to be just that… playing. My lofty ideal is that anyone who looks at one of my collage pieces should be able to interpret it however the heck they want to. And, well, once you slap down a word, there’s no ambiguity. Bam. There it is.

But I found this image, and it was just too damn perfect. Moving to Texas has been, in a way, coming full circle for me. My father was born in El Paso. His mom crossed the Rio Grande so he could be born in the States, and then crossed back over where he grew up in Mexico. He never actually knew he was a U.S. citizen until it was time to enlist for the military. True story.

Now I’m back in Texas, and far away from El Paso, but for the Mexican in me, it does feel a little like coming home. As for the rest of me… I’m not quite sure how I feel. And that’s what’s been great about these daily collage exercises. I get to sort through some of those feelings, stretch myself a teeny bit creatively and then step back and say, “I wonder what the hell that means.”

Have a wonderful weekend, y’all!




Go Play Project: Day 6 | Nowhere, Massachusetts


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Go Play Project – Day 6

If yesterday was all about Miami, my birthplace, today I’m feeling wistful for my second home, Massachusetts. I went to college in Western Mass and loved every minute of it (well, except for a few blizzards), and spent another four years honing my craft as a publicist and writer at a PR agency in Boston. You know the story: it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. I fell hard for someone, got unceremoniously dumped and headed back home to Miami. I’m a die-hard Smith volunteer, which on occasion brings me back to Northampton and all its wonders: Paradise Pond, the greenhouse (which was a much needed refuge for this Florida girl in the dead of winter) and the art museum.

“Nowhere, Massachusetts” is a song by Black Prairie, which is kinda sorta a side project of the Decemberists, and it was the inspiration for today’s collage, the background of which is an image of the Northern Lights.

It was wintertime, I was watching the boys shoot rockets at the girls.

January, New Year and I’m watching the northern lights swirl.

Enjoy the song, and I hope you like the piece I created.



Go Play Project: Day 5 | Six Months in a Leaky Boat

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Go Play Project – Day 5

A Split Enz song and an avocado. That’s what inspired today’s collage.

I’ve been in Austin for six years now, and while there’s much that I love about my adopted city, for a girl who’s always lived on a coast, there is a sense of being landlocked that I can’t seem to shake.

I heard a cover of “Six Months in a Leaky Boat” by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists that I’ve had stuck in my head for a while. And that of course led to me thinking about all the coastal waters I’ve lived near and loved—my hometown of Miami and my years spent in Boston.

Today in the grocery store, I found a Florida avocado, and while it pained me to actually pay money for it, because after all, what self-respecting South Floridian pays for avocados—I did, and I was immediately transported to memories of lush fruit-bearing trees, tropical breezes and, of course, all the water—driving over the Causeway to Fisher Island, days spent at Matheson Hammock and on Key Biscayne—I miss them all. But not the hurricanes… I don’t miss those!

Go Play Project: Day 4 | State of Wonder

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Go Play Project – Day 4

I didn’t think that this Go Play Project would turn into an homage to Ann Patchett, but here we are again. The background image for this collage is the Amazon, the setting for State of Wonder, one of my favorite books of hers.

If you haven’t read it, do. It’s a modern retelling of Heart of Darkness (but don’t let that put you off). It’s got it all: science, medicine, wilderness exploration, secrets and difficult choices.

The characters are beautifully crafted and the writing is sublime:

Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.

— Ann Patchett

For those who found me through Facebook, hello! If another social media platform is more your speed, I’ve also got a Pinterest board, and I’m on Instagram. Thanks for following me along on my adventure. I’d love to hear from any of you who have started your own creativity challenge.