Maintaining a spirit of play as opposed to laboring under the “rules” of writing is a troublesome task. There is an entire industry to teach us the rules. Play, not so much. Inside the playfulness of writing we forge our connection to the reader. It’s behind rules that distance is bred. I was reminded of this over the weekend. I was part of an audience at a gladiatorial arena, also known as a play-date. Surrounded by four- and five-year-olds at the local playground, the other parents and I gave our thumbs-up (“Way to run away from that kicking kid!”) and thumbs-down, (“Don’t kick that kid in the head!”) responses to children who would have ignored us were we not controlling the purse strings when ice cream rolled our way. I was a solo parent for the weekend, my wife having earned parole in the form of a women’s retreat, and in order to maintain my and my son’s sanity I had orchestrated the gathering with families from my son’s pre-school class. Several classmates came, the weather was Grillmaster hot, and the playground was being tested by three-and-a-half foot tall humans pounding through, on, and around it, water sprinklers and squirt guns in full spray.