Wednesday, July 11, 2012

E.B. White, Josh Templeton, and Yosemite Sam

Today would’ve been E.B. White’s 113th birthday! In honor of that, I’ll tell you about a little "Ode to E.B." that was wisely cut early on from The Future of Us.

The main male character in that book is Josh Templeton. Where did I get that last name? From the rat in Charlotte’s Web. Templeton the rat collects scraps of paper that contain words. Charlotte then spins those words onto her web. As a lover of words, I always enjoyed that relationship between the rat and the spider.

In The Future of Us, Josh is a skater and an artist. I thought it’d be fun to give him a quirky and wearable art project. So each evening, he flipped open his dictionary, let a finger fall on a random word, and then airbrushed that word across a white t-shirt. That was the shirt he wore to school the next day. His classmates tried to find some deep symbolic meaning in the words Josh wore. Sometimes they thought they figured it out, some were even certain of it, unaware that there was only the literal meaning and whatever interpretation the classmate brought to that word. (This was also a personal commentary on people who read a bit too much into my own words!)

This all felt a bit too cute and totally unnecessary to the story Carolyn Mackler and I wanted to tell. So I kept the name Templeton, but Josh's art consisted mostly of Looney Tunes characters he drew on skateboards and binders.

But what was the name of the skateboard shop Mr. Templeton frequented? SkateRats, of course!


Anonymous said...

nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Cool, you rock Jay Asher!!!!