After years of comfortably not thinking about Stevie Nicks at all, she is back in my life. And since YOU WANT TO KNOW!!!!!!, I will tell you all about it.
For reasons best not explored, I have been exposed to an enormous amount of Fleetwood Mac over the past few months. Not the Peter Green version that has, I think, a certain amount of critical sympathy, if not cred (if you like blues-based rock at all,“Oh Well” is just an awesome song). No, I’m talking about the Lindsey Buckingham-Stevie Nicks version, which was ubiquitous in the ’70s and has less critical sympathy. I have even listened to Buckingham-Nicks, their first album (never released on CD, which hardly seems possible, but there you are). (They’re naked, if that helps.) I have listened to that Walter Egan album Buckingham and Nicks worked on, Fundamental Roll (remember “Magnet and Steel”? Anyone?). I have listened to all of Lindsey Buckingham’s solo albums. I have listened to part of a Christine McVie solo album. I have listened to and, I’ll admit it, enjoyed late, decadent Fleetwood Mac in the form of Tusk.
And in the sort of oooh spooky cosmically significant dream catcher sort of coincidence one associates with Stevie Nicks, I also saw her on TV recently. Circumstances conspired against me in a perfect storm of crap that included watching “Dancing with Painfully Annoying Has-Beens Like Ralph Macchio, and also Kirstie Alley, Who Is Actually Pretty Great.” Stevie’s lost all that post-cocaine-addicted-to-some-kind-of-painkillers weight, I noticed. Good for her. She also forgot one of the verses to Landslide, I’m pretty sure (I might not be remembering properly since I was pretty focused on feeling wildly sorry for myself, and I don’t multitask well). (I mean, how many times has the woman sung Landslide? If you laid every performance of Landslide end to end you’d be in outer space.) She was pretty and her voice didn’t sound too bad and she didn’t look hopped up or insane, so that’s really more than anyone has any right to expect, and good on her.
So I’ve been thinking about our girl Stevie. I have a long history with her. One of the first albums I owned was Rumors (along with Rod Stewart’s Night on the Town, which I stand by to this day, and Roger Daltrey’s One of the Boys, which I don’t) – in 1978, for my twelfth birthday. (And, ouch.) I was obsessed with Stevie Nicks in the late ’70s, as was just about everyone else in the United States. I first saw her on TV in 1975, probably, twirling around in her chiffon and top hat and shit, and I was in love. I adored Stevie Nicks in the uncritical and utterly absorbed way only a nine year old can. I can still remember how badly I wanted to be her – a cruelly thwarted ambition on par only with the realization that I really wasn’t ever going to find a wardrobe that would lead me to Narnia. (I still haven’t quite given up on becoming an intergalactic princess.)
I didn’t know anything about what being Stevie Nicks would involve, but that didn’t make the distance between us any easier. So I did what everybody does in a situation like that: I wrote fan fiction.
My nine-year-old fan fiction was no doubt excruciatingly embarrassing, and it is a mercy that none of it still exists. But I clearly remember spending long, happy hours imagining Stevie’s life – where she lived, what she did in her spare time, whether or not she cooked. (No, I decided.) I agonized over whether or not her boyfriend (I didn’t realize that was Lindsey Buckingham, at the time, so I made one up) lived with her or not, and whether I should refer to him in my stories as her boyfriend, which seemed old-fashioned, or her lover, which seemed risqué. I was extremely unclear on the details, mind you, but I was sure she’d have one, whatever it entailed. The actual storytelling was sparse because I had no idea what Stevie Nicks and her fictional boyfriend, Ted, might do. But I did spend a lot of time browsing catalogues, picking out items for Stevie’s fictional home. Clothing was difficult, since the only catalogues I had at my disposal were Sears and Spiegel (for fancy), so I especially enjoyed picking out furnishings and linens, which were less obviously wrong. I also remember that Stevie had a Siamese cat, much like I did.
So in addition to watching “Dancing With the Stars” and listening to Tusk, I’ve also realized that I’ve been writing fan fiction since I was nine. Awkward, isn’t it? Still, it’s best to lance the wound and let it heal. And it could be worse. (No, really. Two words: Mackenzie Phillips. Who wrote that book about having an affair with her father. Definitely worse.) (Also worse [in Stevie’s own immortal words (from “Crystal,” on Fleetwood Mac): “The crystalline knowledge of you/Drove me through the mountains/Through the crystal-like clear water fountain/Drove me like a magnet to the sea.”] [Drove me like a magnet to the sea? I figure she originally wrote “Drove me like a taxi to the airport” but decided that wasn’t romantic enough.])