I am lame. In recognition of said lameness, I wrote this email to Stephanie Perkins last night:
I haven't gotten any writing done today and now I am just sitting on the couch reading Ten Cents a Dance. I'm so lame.
And she wrote back:
Congratulations! After reviewing your application, we've decided that you're just the kind of person the League of Authors Misapplying Energy (L.A.M.E.) is looking for! Enclosed you'll find: the L.A.M.E. starter guide, an official L.A.M.E. membership card, and a L.A.M.E. badge to pin to your lapel (or pajamas, if you are M.E. and haven't gotten dressed today).
We are thrilled to welcome you to our ranks, and if you have any questions -- any at all! -- please do not hesitate to contact me. Though I might be M.E., such as watching a pop culture countdown or preparing a bubble bath, so it may take awhile to hear back from me.
Congratulations again, Lame-O, and welcome to the club!
Well. I thought this was about the cleverest acronym I'd ever heard -- clever, clever Stephanie -- and promptly started looking for a "seal generator" so that I could make our new club official. Here it is:
So, are you lame? Don't hasten to say yes, just so you can join a new club! This really isn't a club any of us want to be part of. We want to be shining stars of goal-achieving and book-finishing, right? Sadly, we all have our L.A.M.E. days. Feel free to pull this seal off and use it, if it happens to apply!
I blame my L.A.M.E. evening, yesterday, entirely on Ten Cents a Dance, and I mean that with affection and jealousy, because I just could not persuade myself to set it down, so instead of working on my own book, I read until I finished it. It is soOoOoOoO good! It's set in mid-1940's Chicago and features a fifteen-year-old Polish-Irish heroine, Ruby Jacinski, who has to quit school to support her family by pickling pig knuckles at the meat-packing plant. Ruby loves to dance, and when a neighborhood bad boy tips her off that she can get paid to dance -- and earn up to $50 a week (she makes $12 pickling knuckles) -- her whole life changes. She becomes a taxi dancer, a girl men pay 10 cents to dance with, and has to keep her new job a complete secret from her mother. Ruby is a good girl whose wild streak nestles cozily beside her total innocence, and there's a sense of precariousness and impending danger as she gets more deeply enmeshed in her new life, makes dangerous mistakes, gets close to the wrong boy, and piles up so many lies she barely knows who she is anymore.
Christine Fletcher has recreated this time and place with remarkable detail, from the social protocols to the racial tensions, and I was fascinated with little things, such as how a girl like Ruby would never have been to a restaurant, or known anyone who owned their own car; the intricate schemes by which the dance hall girls got all they could out of their customers; the "black and tan" clubs which were the only places all races mingled in the interest of one thing: music. Oh, and don't neglect to read the Author's Note, and how the idea of taxi dancing first entered Christine's awareness -- it's a loo-loo of a family secret!
For fun, here's some of Ruby's kind of dancing, though I don't know when this video was taken.
And this one's cute, from a 1945 movie called Twice Blessed. I'm getting the idea it involves identical twins who've switched places. One knows how to dance, the other. . . not so much. Cute!
Jitterbug? I don't know dancing, but it looks like fun and great exercise.