Stephanie Lynn Nicks …or better known as Stevie Nicks.
If you didn’t know who I was talking about before, I bet you do now.
She is known for many things, most notably, a rock and roll icon. Many musicians even cite her as being their inspiration in terms of voice or style, so how can it be that me, who has zero musical ability whatsoever (for any of you who have heard me sing or play an instrument, you know there is solid empirical evidence to support that statement) has been unwavering in my insistence for over 10 years that Stevie has been my inspiration to write?
I was sixteen years old when I was first introduced to her music…in fact, her career had arguably hit its peak before I was even born…although she’s still going pretty strong even now. But what did this woman have to offer that nobody else did?
Rhetorical brilliance, that is what.
The only way I can come close to even vaguely capturing the essence of what Stevie does is by saying she is a Michelangelo with words. She takes pain and makes it beautiful “Rock on gold dust woman, take your silver spoon and dig your grave…” [Gold Dust Woman], she takes struggle and turns it into something verbally aesthetic “…well I’ve been afraid of changing ’cause I’ve built my life around you…” [Landslide], she even makes heartbreak hauntingly alluring “I know I could have loved you but you would not let me…I’ll follow you down ’til the sound of my voice will haunt you. You will never get away from the sound of the woman that loved you…” [Silver Springs]. But the best part about Stevie Nicks, believe it or not, isn’t her beautiful voice because it does convey all of those emotions and really make you feel what she is singing. She has an incredible gift for doing that. What she is even more gifted at, however, is writing those words. Stevie doesn’t walk into the studio or on stage and sing what someone else wrote. She isn’t an actress with a good voice. She is a writer, through and through.
In fact, I believe that is what makes her performances so much more compelling. But even when other people are singing Stevie’s songs…even when Dixie Chicks are singing Landslide (which I thought was well done) or Lindsay Lohan is mangling a cover of Edge of Seventeen, Stevie’s words are still there, the message is still there. Brilliant writing shines through, no matter what.
Stevie is a masterful artist with words. When I am struggling or get stuck, I just sit and listen to her music or read through her lyrics and I’m always inspired. Truth be told, she’s inspired me in more ways than one. My most precious thing in my life, my dog, Bella Donna, is named after her first solo album. In fact, there is a little bit of her in everything that I write. I feel like that helps me raise the bar every time I put pen to paper. You can’t read Stevie’s stuff and follow it with something terrible of your own. It’s like playing baseball and going up to bat behind the person who just hit a grand slam and striking out. It simply isn’t an option. So many times, I have been reading through her lyrics and thought to myself “if only I could have written something HALF as good as that…” The crazy thing is that she kept surpassing even her own best and making it look easy…and still is.
Is it crazy that as a novelist, my absolute idol in the writing world isn’t a novelist at all? Perhaps, but being as I started as a poet, I suppose that explains some of it. As for the rest, go read some of Stevie’s lyrics and then try to find ANYTHING in the literary world that weaves words together more beautifully :)
“Once in a million years a lady like her rises….” [Rhiannon]