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‘Year’ read-along: Five girls and an elephant


(Quick spoiler alert message … throughout this blog series, I’ll assume that you have read the entire story that I’m talking about. If not, stop now and go do that before diving back in. )


One of the fun things about writing this book series is … well, having fun. This first story in A Year of Every Tuesday was just that for me. There were a few things I felt I had to get into. There were one or two other points I wanted to make. And then, there were some things that I thought were too funny not to write about. I’m hoping they all blend nicely, but just for your information, here’s how that works out.


Had to get into …

… the logo and the name change. It’s funny what little details get in the way, as the series moves along. But it kept occurring to me that given what a consummate doodler that Abigail is, there’s no way she could resist doing some kind of logo for the Club. For better or for worse, I think that children are so used to seeing brands and advertising as they grow up that they come to expect them.

“A logo,” Abigail repeated. “You know, that’s like the writing and the picture that goes on a store-bought thing. Like the swirly lines on the soda can, so you know you’re getting the right one.”

“I know what a logo is,” said Vanessa, raising one eyebrow.

“Well, so I had to tell Bet about how companies put a logo on their product so that everyone will know it has quality and stuff. …”

Abigail definitely thinks that the Club has quality and stuff, so it seemed inevitable to me that one day, she would present the ETC with a logo. The name change seemed just as inevitable. Almost from the beginning, readers were asking me if I had plans to do any books for boys. Or commenting to me that their son had picked up the book and enjoyed it. I felt like I had boxed myself in by stating that it was a girls club. Much as the girls are horrified at Maggie’s suggestion, it just seems like fate. The Every Tuesday Girls Club had to become the Every Tuesday Club, because it leaves things more open-ended.


Wanted to make the point that …

… keeping any kind of group of people together — everything from a girls group to a congregation to a society — means figuring out how to handle disagreements. The five girls know each other pretty well at this point. They’ve been through some challenging stuff together, and they respect each other. But we’re all still just human. There are going to be little areas where they don’t see eye to eye. Under certain circumstances, those differences can seem insurmountable.

“You have to admit that mine is easier to read than Abigail’s,” Xenia snapped.

“It …” Abigail began, but had to stop. She was going to argue the point, but it was so obvious that Xenia was right that she had to pivot to another point. “Okay, but mine looks like us. Which it should.”

“But it has the name wrong,” Maggie put in. “I’m just saying. We have to figure out the name first.”

“We know the name,” Vanessa stormed. “It’s the colors we have to start with. We can get everything else after we get that.”

“But none of that,” piped Photini with fervor, “matters more than it being Orthodox!”

And the volume level began to go up, with all of them repeating their various points with increasing zeal and additional words and gestures.

And just when they’re at a fever pitch, little Bet and Joseph come to the rescue, with — of all things — a Hindu parable. I had read the poem called “The Six Blind Men and the Elephant” (full text HERE, if you’re curious), and had never forgotten the message. Sometimes when we are all taking at cross purposes, we could stand to actually listen to each other. I don’t say that it answers all problems, but in many cases, the willingness to at least imagine that you may only be partly right gives an opening for understanding. In the case of the ETC, having this understanding may be something that allows them to stay together as a group.


Too funny (at least in my opinion) …

This is a small sample of what you get if you do a Google image search for happy children. Do any of them look like they’d be a good fit for the ETC logo. Nope, I didn’t think so, either.

… arguments about logos and colors and stock photos. I have been a graphic artist for more than 35  years, and I can tell you that almost nothing will bring ordinary people more grief than that tiny little thing called a logo. You see them all the time and think they don’t matter. But if you have ever had to design one, you begin to realize that they are actually packed with information. The wrong typeface could make people think your restaurant was too cheap or too expensive. Picking through millions of choices of art, font, color, design, usage … suddenly, all the little decisions seem terribly important. There is no accounting for taste, and when you overlay that with the pressure people feel to make a good business decision, there’s no end to how stressful it can be. Your logo will tell people who you are. But who are you?

Xenia … began an animated discourse of how she had gone about finding all the images. There were photos of happy, bright children and illustrations of faces or hands or handprints — each one was featured in a circle, one logo on every sheet. Sometimes the children made a shape like a heart or a star, or else they were jumping or dancing. Xenia went over the story of her image search, happily telling how she and her father had been able to find all of these fantastic images.

“Who are these guys?” Vanessa interrupted, holding up one where the children looked particularly gleeful.

“Well, they’re us,” Xenia stammered. “I mean, not really, of course. Because we’re us. But, you know, they’re the logo-us.”

Thank goodness, at the end of all this, the girls have a logo, and one that looks like the real-them, not the logo-them. And the Every Tuesday Club lives and thrives for another day.

Next Wednesday: Second story — About a baptism

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