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Category Archives: Creativity

Go Play Project: Day 20 | The Language of Flowers

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, language of flowers, shel silverstein, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 20

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling dying
flake of snow,
Once I spoke the language of the flowers. . . .
How did it go?
How did it go?

— Shel Silverstein


I can’t think of Shel Silverstein without thinking of Fairglade, the wonderful, magical place where Max went to elementary school. But it was so much more than a school. If ever there was a place of beloved community, it was Fairglade. When people ask me about it, I call it the “hippie school,” and tell them there were no grades, no shoes, and the most amazing group of kids, parents and teachers ever assembled in one place. This poem is from Where the Sidewalk Ends, and I remember well-worn copies in many of the classrooms. I taught creative writing, and I especially loved teaching poetry—the haiku, cinquain, diamante—all those fabulous restricted forms that work so well with kids.

So today’s collage is inspired by Fairglade and all those terrific Jets, Explorers and Pioneers, now grown up into amazing young adults.

Go Play Project: Day 18 | Mood Indigo

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, mood indigo, surrealism, Michel Gondry, pianocktail, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 18

Last week I saw the Michel Gondry film, Mood Indigo. Very French, very strange and wildly inventive. There’s a flying plastic cloud car that floats over Paris, eels that come out of the kitchen sink, and a “pianocktail,” a piano that dispenses drinks. Perhaps it was the dreamlike quality of the movie, or the surrealism of these images, but Mood Indigo definitely inspired today’s collage!

Go Play Project: Day 17 | A Constellation of Shells

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, a new night sky, constellation, Sanibel, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 17

Growing up, summer meant Sanibel Island—old Sanibel, with the wooden beach houses with screened-in porches, where you were really and truly steps to the beach. And shells, everywhere shells. It’s one of my earliest memories, and even before the memories, there are the photos. So here’s an imagining of a new night sky, with a constellation of shells.

Go Play Project: Day 16 | Pidgety

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, saving all the animals, pigeons, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 16

When my son was about four years old, there was a pigeon with a bum wing walking around our townhouse parking lot. The conversation went something like this:

“It’s a beautiful white dove.”

“Actually, it’s just a pigeon, Max.”

“We have to help him.”

“Well, let’s see how he makes out on its own, and we’ll check on him in awhile.”

Shockingly, the pigeon did not make a full recovery in the 12 minutes that Max was willing to wait.

“We can’t just leave Pidgety. We have to help him.”

All of sudden, the common pigeon had a name, which as anyone with kids knows, is just a hop, skip and a jump to pet-hood.

In case you’re wondering, the options for vets and/or wildlife refuges willing to care for a wounded pigeon are fairly limited in South Florida. Pigeons just don’t have the cachet of falcons and they’re not on any endangered or protected species list. I had worked my way through most of the animal rescue options, and getting nowhere fast, when finally, bingo: Wee Care Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. Near as I could tell, it was just one woman who had turned her home into a refuge for everything from skunks to raccoons to—thank goodness—injured pigeons. Max and I drove the hour to Homestead, and left Pidgety is very capable, loving hands.

Fourteen years later, this is the same kid (now a young man) who will gingerly carry a spider outside, cuddle with a mangy-looking stray cat, and make sure a lost dog gets home okay.

So today’s collage is inspired by Pidgety, and all the animals we’ve tried to save since then!












Go Play Project: Day 14 | Book love


go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, bird by bird, books, Anne Lamott, Holly Gonzalez

Go Play Project – Day 14

For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. 

–Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Go Play Project: Day 12 | The Hand of Buddha

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, buddha, love, Holly Gonzalez

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

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, Billy Collins, super moon, forgetfulness, Holly Gonzalez

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

go play project, 30 days of collage, creativity challenge, bird by bird, Anne Lamott, Holly Gonzalez

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.”