“The glass is half full of poison.” – Mo Willems (NY 2013 SCBWI Conference)
Some people might find this depressing, but to me, it’s optimistic.
Mo said this right after Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton finished speaking. The very last question they answered was about the positive message of their books. In her answer, Julie Andrews talked about being a glass half full kind of person.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a glass half full kind of person. When asked, I’ll usually say I’m a glass half full person too, but that’s only because the other option is glass half empty.
I never liked that there were only two options.
Who wants to always be Happy! Happy! Happy! Or clinically depressed and thinking the world, or at least your world, is all about to end?
I always wanted a third option, or a fourth, or a fifth!
So, when Mo got up and said that the glass was half full of poison, not only was it funny; it also opened a whole world of possibilities. Today the glass is half full of poison, but tomorrow it could be full of chocolate chips or tiny swimming fish (or roly-poly fish heads).
Someone out there is probably saying, “But what if I drink the poison?”
That’s not the point. The glass is either half full, or half empty, but the liquid (or whatever) is never going to be consumed. The contents are what they are. The level never changes, because if you drink part of the half full glass, it makes it half empty, and if you drink the half empty glass, there’s nothing left.
Now someone is probably commenting on the fact that it’s a stupid question.
Yes, yes it is.
But at least now there’s another, more interesting question to go along with the original: “What is the glass half full (or empty) of?”
That question is a glass half full of possibilities, and the reason that my new motto is: The glass is half full of poison.