Dear Stevie Nicks: Thank You For Casting Your Musical Spell On Me
(Check out the other 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Famers inducted March 29th in the trailer above. Sourced from the official Rock and Roll Hall of Fame YouTube channel.)
"So I'm back to the velvet underground
Back to the floor that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers
Back to the gypsy that I was
To the gypsy that I was" --Gypsy, Stevie Nicks
It was early summer and I was 18 or 19 years old. I'd just moved into my first cheap apartment. There was practically nothing in it except for me, a bed, a few utensils, my computer, and an old suede couch I'd bought for $100 from a friend.
It had been a tough couple of years--both for my family and for me, personally. My transition into "adulthood" had been frazzled and unsteady. I was anxious and scared, but I very much wanted to be brave. I'd only been in the apartment for a week and had yet to adjust to the reality of shutting my own front door each evening before turning around to face the empty rooms--and myself.
This particular evening I'd walked in from one of my shifts as a waitress. The manager had been in a bad mood that day. Later, I'd gotten in his way, stumbled, and dropped an entire tray of fettuccine and lasagna. And, well...you can imagine how that went. I came home feeling particularly melancholy and broke and lost.
My apartment faced the west so I opened the balcony door to let in as much of the diminishing sunlight as I could. It wasn't blazing hot this early in the summer and there was a bit of breeze. I'd thrown my dirty apron and work clothes aside and sat on the floor. My radio/CD player was plugged in next to me with a pile of CD's strewn around.
I put in the Fleetwood Mac album I'd brought from my parents' house. I had always enjoyed their music on some level. It was pleasant background music for one's childhood, echoing out of the radio speakers in the car's backseat on the way to wherever the family was going. Tonight though, I just needed the sound. I needed to feel less alone as the sun was going down.
I began to get lost in my thoughts, pondering life, and what on earth I was going to do with it. That's when Stevie began to weave her spell around me, and I heard her music in a way that was both familiar and quite different. Something about the melodies, the lyrics, the resonance of her gypsy call--it all coalesced and helped me tune into a different emotional frequency. It made me feel real, like I wasn't just a little girl in a barely grown body. In that moment, I felt older and wiser and wilder. The memory of that feeling would help me in the coming months and years. I began to feel like I might be okay.
I sat and listened and stared at the sky for hours until the stars sparkled through the tears I'd cried. But by then I was smiling, too.
Since that evening, the music of Stevie Nicks has always been special to me--and seems timeless. It helped 18-year old me feel older, stronger, and wiser. It helps my "quite grown-up" self feel younger, more tender, and creative. All along the way, it has allowed me to tune back into that particular emotional frequency. I can remember places inside I'd forgotten--places that paradoxically feel more a part of who I am now, then they did even then.
Thank you, Stevie. Thanks for weaving a magic that lingers. Thanks for creating portals back and forth through time, across the emotional spectrum, and "back to the velvet underground [...] back to the gypsy that I was." And to the one that I still am.
Congratulations on your very well deserved induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was definitely time.
(Screen shot sourced from MarchofTheRashbaum's YouTube here.)