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Quick Recap: I’m writing a book set in the 1930s in New York City. Some of the characters lindy hop. I jokingly asked my blog readers if they thought I really needed to learn it without any intention of actually doing so. John Green stepped in and offered a thousand dollars if I did learn it. And like that.
I have looked deep in my heart and not found a desire to learn the lindy hop. I have flashed back to hated dance lessons as a kid. To the mean yell-y or eye-roll-y dance teachers. The injury in my left foot has flared up again.1 Also I am unconvinced by all the people who swear I’ll love it. Many people swore I would love martinis and gin & tonics! I hate them! They taste like paint thinner.
I’ve been charmed and sometimes bemused by all the comments from followers of Maureen Johnson & John Green urging me to put my life and limbs at risk. But not enough to actually do it. However, since John Green made this about charity and I chose helping out the New York Public Library system more donations would definitely persuade me to learn the dance.
Right now one thousand, four hundred and twenty-five dollars has been pledged. Bless all you extremely generous pledgers! But it’s not yet enough to push me into a dance studio. I can give that amount out of my own pocket. That way I don’t suffer and the NYPL system doesn’t lose out.
So I’ve decided that unless people pledge more than I can afford to part with myself $5,000 I’ll donate the money myself and continue to study the lindy hop via youtube. I know most people don’t have much spare cash at the moment. But even small amounts will help. Helping libraries is more important than ever now that they are the only resource for so many people who have no where else to go for entertainment, for assistance putting resumes and job applications together, for somewhere they can just sit and think for a bit. I’ve met many teenagers in this city for whom the NYPL has been a refuge, a source of friendship, hope, and learning.
Monday’s the deadline.
If enough money is raised by then I will take lessons with my lovely husband, Scott. Lauren and Margaret, who are already dancing fools, have also agreed to be part of proceedings at various stages.
I will be learning this dance properly. Unlike John Green who only stood on that table for less than a second I plan to learn it so well that I can start lindy hopping whenever the music is right. I hate learning to dance, but I do enjoy dancing. So the lesson learning will take awhile. But I’ll keep you all up to date on my progress.
Proof that I have learnt the lindy hop will be provided by three reliable YA author witnesses approved by John Green, who will write their observations of my lindy hopping on their blogs.
I’m really hoping some of you will make donations. No matter how small! It would be great to give a big wack of cash to the NYPL system. It would help so many people.
I’m also really hoping that you won’t. It would be awesome not to have damage myself further.
Yes, I am torn on how this goes. And afraid.
Update: Because of Eric Luper’s vociferous complaints I have named an amount that has to be exceeded in order for this to happen: $5,000. And I’ve made the deadline Monday.
Update the second: As already stated numerous times there will be no video. I hate being filmed. Not going to happen.
Update the third: Okay a video did happen.
Posted by Justine at 11:05, 12 May 2009 under 1930s NYC novel, Research | 50 Comments »
eric luper Says:
Justine, if you are going to put forth this challenge, you MUST state the financial threshold we must reach in order to get you lindy-hopping. Is it two grand? Five grand? Ten?
Completely unfair to just call it “more than I can afford to part with myself.”
May 12th, 2009 at 12:03 PM
E. Lockhart Says:
I too love to lindy hop. It is sexy!
May 12th, 2009 at 12:12 PM
3. Justine Says:
Do you think I was born yesterday? If I say too low a number then people will donate to make me learn the dance. If I say too high a number then no one will donate.
May 12th, 2009 at 12:49 PM
But if you do not give a number, it gives you a perpetual out. We know how hard you’re going to try to weasel out of this.
I’m just trying to keep the author of LIAR honest.
May 12th, 2009 at 12:57 PM
Malcolm Tredinnick Says:
I’m concerned that you know what paint thinner (and, apparently, mascara thinner) taste like. And that you think we are familiar enough with the taste that you can use them for comparison purposes. You might want to go to different parties.
Iz prob’ly affecting your judgement. We help you out… Just. Say. Yes.:-)
May 12th, 2009 at 2:04 PM
I really hope you learn to lindy! It’s lots of fun! Something I’ve been promoting is an event called Camp Hollywood- it’s basically a swing dance convention that takes place one weekend this summer. If you are interested…that would be a great way to learn! Lots of fun and tons of people to meet! In fact, I just received a stack of flyers in the mail today to distribute at my local dance venues. I know I’m probably sounding like a broken record by now, but it’s something that you won’t regret learning.
May 12th, 2009 at 3:07 PM
Ah, gin is not for everyone and neither are dance lessons. I like gin, but as for dance lessons I knew even at the age of 5 to avoid ballet. Yes, I’m a klutz — I once smashed my ankle jumping over tulip beds in Albany’s big park. So, if you lindy be careful.
May 12th, 2009 at 3:59 PM
Man, it’d take some HUGE ovaries to learn the lindy hop.
(It seems wrong, but I am trying. I don’t know that the expression will catch on.)
May 12th, 2009 at 4:26 PM
Anonymous donor Says:
Real name is in email address.
May 12th, 2009 at 5:20 PM
10. Justine Says:
Eric: There you go I’ve said an actual amount. Now I expect you to make a donation.
Malcolm: Have you never noticed that you can figure out how something is going to taste from the way it smells?
Anonymous donor: Thank you for your genorosity!
May 12th, 2009 at 5:25 PM
Just to clarify: If the $5000 mark is not met, will you be matching the pledges?
May 12th, 2009 at 8:09 PM
Oh, wait, never mind.
What you’re doing is really noble and I think it’s great that you’re doing a good thing. Sadly, I can’t pledge money to you, but I wanted to let you know how cool I think you are right now.
May 12th, 2009 at 8:12 PM
13. Justine Says:
Rachel: Yes, if the pledges fall short of $5,000 I’ll donate what ever the amount is myself and those people do not have to donate a cent. And I don’t have to learn the scary dance.
Hey, I encourage you not to donate! That way I don’t have to learn the scary dance.
A lot of my friends are out of jobs right now. It’s not a good time to be raising money for anything.
May 12th, 2009 at 8:13 PM
Dave H Says:
For those of us that are not from New York, do we have to donate the money to the NYPL, or can we give it to our local library?
May 12th, 2009 at 9:10 PM
Karen Healey Says:
May 12th, 2009 at 9:28 PM
16. Justine Says:
Dave H: That’s a very good point. Sure donate to your local library.
Karen Healey: You hate me, don’t you?
May 12th, 2009 at 9:56 PM
OK, then I’m in for $50.
May 12th, 2009 at 10:00 PM
18. Justine Says:
Dave H.: Wait! No! I’ve changed my mind! You can only donate to the NYPL system. Withdraw your $50! *shakes head at own stupidity*
May 12th, 2009 at 10:03 PM
I love you, Justine! I love you in a special, sparkly way! I think your dancing would increase the NET JOY in the universe.
May 13th, 2009 at 7:58 AM
Plantar fasciitis is no fun! I just finished 6 months of physical therapy for it. Whether you end up learning to dance or not, don’t forget to stretch.
May 13th, 2009 at 12:13 PM
*looks around, turns pockets, lifts books, empties bag, opens jar, moves brushes, scrambles papers, searches under bed… and finds!*
May 13th, 2009 at 1:29 PM
Julia Rios Says:
Yeah, gin is not cool, and Martinis are especially awful. I do like a good vodka tonic, though.
It still seems like you must secretly really want to learn this dance, or else why not let the matter die quietly, and come up with some other fundraiser for the NYPL system? Still, I’m uncomfortable with the idea of coercing people into doing things they really don’t want to do. I’m uncoordinated (I routinely bumped into the other girls in tap class when I had to take it as a child), so I empathize with the worries about it being very awkward and possibly injurious. So. How about this? I will give $20 to the NYPL system regardless of whether you choose to take dance lessons. If you do want to, you can apply that $20 to your $5,000 goal, and if you don’t want to, you can assume it is unrelated.
May 13th, 2009 at 1:35 PM
This is great! Lindy hop is so much fun!! All swing is, but especially Lindy. You won’t regret learning! And teachers aren’t bad like they were in middle school…
A little note, though – you are joking when you call it “The Lindy hop”, right? no one calls it The Lindy. It’s just Lindy hop, or Lindy…
Also, if you really do want to learn, I would start with easy coast swing, then move to Lindy. you’ll learn a lot that will help!
Can’t wait for your book about Lindy!
May 13th, 2009 at 1:36 PM
$15 – I’d do more but my contract job rolled over this last Friday, so stuff’s a teeny bit tighter than normal. Still, I loves me the Library, and every bit counts.
May 13th, 2009 at 1:49 PM
Ron Hogan Says:
Count me in for $20.
Frankie Manning, the “Master of Lindy Hop” died last week. The obit, besides being interesting in its own right, has a video link which should have examples and suggestions for YouTube searching.
I won’t have money for a couple of weeks, unfortunately.
May 13th, 2009 at 2:18 PM
John Scalzi sent me over here to pledge. And more importantly, I expect his baseball-bat-wielding wife and Twittering cat would back him up on this. I’ll kick in $15 for you to learn.
May 13th, 2009 at 2:28 PM
$50. Libaries need all the help we can get. And we all expect video posted here or at http://whatever.scalzi.com/ when you’re done!
May 13th, 2009 at 2:31 PM
I think it’s really great that you’re getting people to donate to the NYPL! I completly agree with you about how much we need them these days. I hope (for the library’s sake, of course) that you’ll be lindy hopping in no time .
Also, I totally sympathize about the Plantar Fasciitis – that hurts SO bad. I had to get $200 insoles last year from my pediatrist. So I hope that feels better soon!
-Yet another minion of John Green
May 13th, 2009 at 2:38 PM
Doselle Young Says:
Just stopping by to pledge $250.00.
Will you be flying home to Australia for the free health care?
May 13th, 2009 at 2:50 PM
DG Lewis Says:
Well, now that Scalzi’s dispatched his minions of charity do-gooding, you’re in for it. $100 gets me a Supporting Friends of the Library membership (and I even live close enough to the city that we can make it a family outing for the four of us come December) and gets you 2% closer to $5k…
Adam Rakunas Says:
I’m in for twenty. The Lindy Hop, hell, any swing dancing is fun.
May 13th, 2009 at 3:07 PM
Re: Plantar fasciitis
Ben Gay, or equivalent may do wonders for it. My hand surgeon recomended it a while back and it doesn’t bother me very long on days it flairs up.
I don’t know you but Scalzi and his cat made threats.
May 13th, 2009 at 3:18 PM
I’m pretty broke, but I pledge $5.00. Helping a library and getting you to Lindy Hop? At least worth that.
May 13th, 2009 at 4:49 PM
Here from http://whatever.scalzi.com/. I’ll put in $25.
May 13th, 2009 at 5:10 PM
I’ll pledge $20
May 13th, 2009 at 5:28 PM
Okay, I’m in for $100. It’s only 10% of what John Green pledged, but I’ll be willing to bet he sells 10x the books I do. What’s the total tally right now?
May 13th, 2009 at 5:40 PM
Pam Adams Says:
$25.00- blame Scalzi for sending me.
May 13th, 2009 at 5:44 PM
40. Justine Says:
Thanks everyone for being so generous. Sort of.
Eric: We’re a long way from five thousand. I’m feeling pretty relaxed. Remember whatever happens the library gets the money.
May 13th, 2009 at 7:18 PM
Damn recession… I can only donate $10.
It’s half because I want the Lindy Hop to happen, other half because as a New York City resident, anything that supports our library system is something worth giving to.
Damn recession… I want to give more!
May 13th, 2009 at 10:55 PM
I’m in for $20, you can blame Scalzi
May 14th, 2009 at 6:31 AM
£20 to my local library. Feel free to round it down to $20 to make your calculations easier.
May 14th, 2009 at 7:08 AM
44. Justine Says:
Shelia Williams has contacted me to say she is in for $100. Am putting it here for ease of counting.
May 14th, 2009 at 11:44 AM
I’ll donate $25 myself. Two good causes in one!
May 16th, 2009 at 12:59 AM
Mike Smith Says:
Given all the time I’ve wasted at the NYPL in the past 30(?!? OMG 30 ?) years, put me down for $30.
Any chance of a YouTube of the two of you, once you’ve mastered the Lindy?
May 17th, 2009 at 2:32 PM
I hereby pledge an amount equal to $5000 minus all amounts previously pledged.
This sh*t is on!
May 18th, 2009 at 3:34 PM
May 18th, 2009 at 4:53 PM
Muah! Good on you, Scott!
Have fun Justine! You asked for it!
May 18th, 2009 at 5:08 PM
@JLA: And what are the details for the contributions themselves?
May 19th, 2009 at 12:21 AM
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