Happy Friday and February, Rookies!

This month’s theme is Passion, and the best way to introduce it might be to ask that you watch this video of Stevie Nicks singing “Wild Heart” backstage in 1981:

Where is the reason?
Don’t blame it on me,
Blame it on my wild heart

This sentiment has taken multiple material forms in my life—the vinyl record, this banner, this bag—and become a personal mantra of some sort. This past fall, I started diagramming every lyric Stevie Nicks has ever written. I gave up, of course, but this is how far I got:

And this is the key and the collected results, at least until I one day revisit this project:

Her songs are often about these adventurous, puzzling women, probably all wearing cloaks, most likely also holding doves, always challenging those around them, always asking a series of questions…

…and always having a ton of feelings. Kinda like all of us at Rookie this month.

Look, I am as disgusted as you right now. Even writing this feels kind of silly—the word PASSION is way overused and corny, and who am I to say I’m some special emotional snowflake? But the alternative is to write something ironic and removed, and I hate that—I’m obviously already making an effort with this, why pretend that I don’t care? So excuse me while I bare my soul. Or, to quote another great lady musician, TAKE ANOTHER LITTLE CHUNK OF MY LUNG. (Did you watch the 30 Rock finale last night? Did you also feel sad? LET’S TALK ABOUT BEING SAD TOGETHER.)

The process known as “growing up” is riddled with Pandora’s boxes. The negative of every circumstance becomes more and more visible, and you have to accept it if you want the positive, too—be it in a friendship, an opportunity, or listening to an album that might do something to your breathing for a moment instead of keeping you up and busy. I used to accept the negative by believing it would all one day pay off as material for my EGOT-winning body of work based on the horrors of my life and personality, making it all worth it. I used to scheme, basically. But bad experiences are no longer a means to an end for me. Since I became especially enamored by Stevie a year ago, they have become enough for me all on their own—certainly acceptable, and even invigorating. As difficult as it is to convince myself of this when such experiences are actually taking place, I really do think I prefer a life of emotional range to one that’s consistently happy. It’s not that I believe you need the bad to appreciate the good—as Dave Foley says, pie does not taste better because somebody somewhere has AIDS—but I do believe that there’s a difference between happiness and fulfillment, and I think the latter is more for me.

My goofiest-sounding secret is that I also believe in magic. Sometimes I call it God and sometimes I call it light, and I believe in it because every now and then I read a really good book or hear a really good song or have a really good conversation with a friend and they seem to have some kind of shine to them. The list I keep of these moments in the back of my journal is comprised less of times when I was laughing or smiling and more of times when I felt like I could feel the colors in my eyes deepening from the display before me. Times in which I felt I was witnessing an all-encompassing representation of life driven by an understanding that, coincidence or not, our existence is a peculiar thing, and perhaps the greatest way to honor it is to just be human. To be happy AND sad, and everything else. And yeah, living is a pain, and I say I hate everyone and everything, and I don’t exude much enthusiasm when sandwiched between fluorescent lighting and vinyl flooring for seven hours straight, and I will probably mumble a bunch about how much I wish I could sleep forever the next time I have to wake up at 6 AM. But make no mistake about it: I really do like living. I really, truly do.

I hope you like this month. Submit something if you can, or send something for next month’s theme, Mystery, which is all creepy suburbia and David Lynch and stuff.