Did you have those days when you can’t decide what you want? Salty or sweet? Comedy or drama? Work or nap? Years ago, the Peter Paul Cadbury candy company made use of people’s indecisiveness with a campaign telling consumers that they could have either Mounds (no nuts) and Almond Joy (with nuts)–or both! The advertisements also played on the word “nuts” as slang for crazy.
“Sometimes you feel like a nut / Sometimes you don’t / Almond Joy’s got nuts / Mounds don’t.”
(You can see one of their TV advertisements from the 1980s here.)
One of my favorite treats is dark chocolate covered pretzels—salty, bitter, sweet, and crunchy all in one bite. You might decide to watch a movie that’s classified as a drama, but that also has funny scenes. You might choose to write a work of fiction that’s based on a historical incident. You might plan to work for an hour, and then go out with friends or watch TV—and then eat sweet and salty treats.
“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit.
“No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.”
I’ve been Pooh. Sometimes things happen. Icy streets force you to change your plans, but you end up watching a movie or reading a book instead and have a great day.
Discoveries are made when something happens along the way. You wander away from your usual route, and there’s a restaurant you never noticed before. You suddenly decide to make a pot of soup and add all those leftover bits in your refrigerator to it—and it’s the best soup you ever made.
You think you’re writing a blog post about one thing, and suddenly it’s something else entirely.
Hmmm. . .well, yes.
The other day in a spin class (have you figured out that I do a lot of thinking while in spin class?), the instructor played a song that began with the theme from the old TV show, The Munsters, but then went into something else–something happened along the way to the melody. I meant to write more about musical “mashups,” and other types of combinations, but then I started thinking about something that happened when my daughters were young.
One day I played a game with them that became known as “The Queenie Queenie Show.” I think it began on a cold day, perhaps there was bad weather, and I was looking for something to do with them. I really don’t remember. It was the spontaneous decision of a mom at home with the kids. I had them place their kid-sized chairs in the living room and sit as though they were the audience for a show. I was the queen, of course, so I became Queenie Queenie. The show started with me putting on a fake genteel air and telling them the Queenie Queenie show was very refined. I think I played part of a Bach minuet on the piano, and then I hummed and did a really fake dance with exaggerated movements—talking all the while about how cultured and refined it was. I may have been channeling the “Washington’s Birthday” number in the movie Holiday Inn. My tune changed and my movements wilder, but then went back to the slower “the minuet.” Gradually, the dance became sillier and sillier and faster and faster until they got up and joined me in dancing around, and we all shouted and danced and collapsed in a heap of giggles. I only did the Queenie Queenie show a few times, and only for the two of them. Even my husband has never seen it.
So what was the point? It was something that happened along the way, a spontaneous idea that became a family memory. It is something that never could have been planned. It just happened.
I’m between book projects right now. I’m trying to decide what I want to do. Encyclopedia or monograph? Fiction or nonfiction? Maybe some type of weird combination? I can’t decide yet what I want. Sometimes indecision is a good thing. I’ll let my mind wander and see what happens.
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh