Fleetwood Mac – John McVie, Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks, and Lindsey Buckingham

Fleetwood Mac, thanks for last night’s extraordinary concert. I can’t get anything done for the reminiscing. During my clinging-to-the-experience Internet surfing, I stumbled upon a couple of mean-old-nasty reviews from our two metropolitan newspapers. I’m embarrassed and sorry. I don’t know what concert those grouchy reporters attended. They don’t speak for the gushing Twin Cities fans who left the Xcel Center  All my husband and I can say is “WOW! WE LOVE YOU!”

You still have “it” — and more.

Mick Fleetwood: How do you maintain your energy and stamina? You’re the only tall, gray-haired, bearded man who can pull off the knickers/red shoes combo. Your drumming evokes a collective awe that synchronizes with the thumping of our hearts.  You lift the emotions of your audience like the wind blowing a leaf through a quiet forest into a roaring stampede, then under a soothing waterfall through a tunnel of silence into a raging thunder-storm–even non-menopausal people. Only a master percussionist can do that. I’d bet against any 20-year-old who dares to arm wrestle you.

John McVie: I want to eat what you eat for breakfast. I envy your humility and soothing persona. You’re the wind beneath your band’s wings; hidden, yet so powerful — the Big Mac in Fleetwood Mac.  You command no limelight, but steer the group with your vision and your brilliant bass.  Thanks for just being you.

Lindsey Buckingham:  Holy cow!  You blew us away.  Who plays guitar like you — using fingernail tops with Tasmanian Devil drive?  With so much passion firing out of you, it’s no wonder you’re still so fit. We felt exhausted, but inspired, just watching you.

Stevie Nicks:  You’re the secret ingredient to Fleetwood Mac’s there’s-no-other-band-like-this-in-the-world sound. Lucky for Fleetwood Mac, and the world, Lindsey Buckingham showed up at his guitarist audition with a vocally gifted girlfriend and a both-or-none stipulation.  At last night’s concert, a male groupie yelled, “You’re still hot!”  So sweet — and so true.

Christine McVie: We missed you, but we thank you for the many years of joy you’ve given.

My husband and I reminisced about dancing to “Dreams” and “Landslide“.  Thirty-seven years ago, a lighted floor illuminated colorful designs under our feet and a mirrored disco ball glistened overhead–but we barely noticed.  If the nightclub was still there, we’d go give it another spin.

This year I’ll be eligible for the senior citizen discount at certain eating establishments.  My husband, eligible for a year now, refuses to ask for this perk, but on my birthday I’m driving to a drive-thru window with “Tusk” cranked on my woofers and tweeters (if I have those).  I plan to take the discount and relish the moment.

Flashback Video: Fleetwood Mac "Tusk" original footage with the USC marching band.

Click the photo for a Flashback Video that works on all devices: Fleetwood Mac “Tusk” original footage with the USC marching band. 

John, Mick, Stevie, and Lindsey, thanks for giving such hope to us aged.  We can’t wait to attend your concert in 2023!

Candid Critiquers

Today as I prepare for another day of revising and editing, I’m filled with gratitude for my critique groups. They continually save the day by noticing foibles in my work.  At our metro-wide MN Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators meet-up on Tuesday night, one member noticed that I said something nice about an angle worm.

“I hate to be so picky, but earthworms are an invasive species taking over our entire ecosystem.  I’d definitely cut these two sentences that say they are good for the environment.” (I’m paraphrasing.  He expressed more passion and eloquence.)

Who knew?  My dad always told me angle worms were the gardener’s friend, because they aerated the soil.  Thanks to my eco-minded friend — POOF — no earthworm protestors will picket my future book signings. (This is an extremely hopeful post.)

Another writer friend observed that my main character lacked empathy concerning  another character’s speech impediment.  She surmised that her son, who struggles with his speech, would find this offensive.  I envisioned big tears splatting on my book pages from sad children with deflating self-esteems. Thanks to my compassionate, motherly friend — POOF — no tears or hurt feelings. (I hope.)

Another friend suggested that some of the fruits and vegetables harvested in my garden scenes might not be in season at the same time and another advised that the process of deadheading is more for petunias than cucumbers.  POOF — no angry or annoyed gardeners…

These writers’ recommendations lead me to make small changes that make a world of difference. Because of them, my words won’t cause unsuspecting children to cause a catastrophic earthworm invasion — or to languish at gardening or confidence. Considering the awesome responsibility of writing for children, there’s nothing more valuable than candid critique friends — especially when they’re smart.

This meet-up photo from August 2012 shows how our group looks before we break into smaller working groups -- only participation is increasing and we are taking over the Barnes and Noble coffee shop in Edina. Click here for more information: MN SCBWI meet up. We welcome all SCBWI members!

This meet-up photo from August 2012 shows how our group looks before we break into smaller working groups.  Participation has increased.  Soon we’ll outgrow the Barnes and Noble coffee shop in Edina. Click here for more information: MN SCBWI meet-up.  Nonmembers are welcome to come once to discern whether to join SCBWI.

Hare Raising Inspiration

Do you suffer from manuscript-aging-angst or this-work-is-too-silly-anxiety?  In 1893, a young woman corresponded with the son of her governess, a boy named Noel.  When she ran out of things to say, she made up a silly story with silly pictures of silly rabbits .  Eight years later (one hundred and eleven years ago), her whimsical  imaginings were published to become one of the most beloved picture books of all time.  This success motivated her to write and illustrate at least 23 other animal tales and 10 more books.  The letter-writer is Beatrix Potter.  Her silly rabbits are Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter Rabbit.

It all started with a silly letter with silly pictures about silly rabbits.

Currently, two million Beatrix Potter books are sold every year worldwide.  That’s four books every minute.  People hunger for silly — and no manuscript is too old.  Click the image above. Peter Rabbit fans, writers, and illustrators of all ages will enjoy this charming tribute to Beatrix Potter from CBS Sunday Morning.

Start Now

While cleaning out a file drawer of accumulated writing inspiration I came across this gem.  If people see a little picture of daffodils on my desktop, this is why:

Start Now

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, “Mother, you must come see that daffodils before they are over.”  I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.  “I will come next Tuesday,” I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call.

Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy.  Still, I had promised, and so I drove there.  When I finally walked into Carolyn’s house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, “Forget the daffodils, Carolyn!  The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!”

My daughter smiled calmly, “We drive in this all the time, Mother.”

“Well, you won’t get me back on the road until it clears — and then I’m heading for hom,” I assured her.

“I was hoping you’d take me over to the garage to pick up my car.”

“How far will we have to drive?”

“Just a few blocks,” Carolyn said. “I’ll drive.  I’m used to this.”

After several minutes I had to ask, “Where are we going?  This isn’t the way to the garage!”

“We’re going to my garage the wrong way” — Carolyn smiled — “by way of the daffodils.”

“Carolyn,” I said sternly, “please turn around.”

“It’s all right, Mother. I promise you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.”

After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church.  On the far side of the church I saw a hand-lettered sign “Daffodil Garden.”  We got out of the car and each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path.  Then we turned a corner of the path and I looked up and gasped.

Before me lay the most glorious sight.  It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes.  The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon yellow, salmon pink, saffron, and butter yellow.  Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue.  Five acres of flowers.

“But who has done this?”  I asked Carolyn.

“It’s just one woman,” Carolyn answered.  “She lives on the property.  That’s her home.”  Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory.  We walked up to the house.  On the patio we saw a poster: “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking” was the headline.  The first answer was a simple one: “50,000 bulbs,” it read.  The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman.  Two hands, two feet, and very little brain.”  The third answer was, “Began in 1958.”

There it was.  The Daffodil Principle.  For me that moment was a life-changing experience.  I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun — one bulb at a time — to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountain top.  Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world.  This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived.  She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration.

The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time — often just one baby-step at a time — learning to love the doing, learning to use the accumulation of time.  When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things.  We can change the world.

“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and I had worked away at it ‘one bulb at a time’ through all those years.  Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way.

“Start now,” she said.

Research indicates this story is excerpted from CELEBRATION! and THE DAFFODIL PRINCIPLE, books of inspiration by Jeroldeen Edwards, now deceased.

To learn more about the Daffodil Garden, here’s a Daffodil Fact Sheet, created by gardener/creator, Gene Bauer. (Bauer closed her garden to the public because of her advanced age; therefore, the tourism information is outdated, but much of the other information remains relevant.) A fire destroyed the Bauer’s A-frame home, shade trees, and garden.  Fortunately, the daffodils survived and continue to thrive, because their bulbs were protected under the ground. 

I love you THIS much

When our kids were little we would ask them, “How much do we love you?”

They would hold their arms wide and say, “You love me THIS much.”

This Easter season people all over this big, beautiful universe ponder how much we are loved.  We all receive the same answer:

“I love you THIS much.”

Hope you feel the love. Happy Easter!