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Monday, November 9, 2009

Writing Lessons from Stevie Wonder

Sunday was my eldest daughter's birthday. Twenty. Whoa.

We went to Disneyland because if ever there was a girl meant to be a Disney Princess, it is Noel. Anyway, as luck would have it, they were filming for their Christmas morning parade broadcast and we got to see Stevie Wonder perform. THE Stevie Wonder.

So, aside from the amazingly coolness of the experience and because I am ankle deep in NaNoFiMo, I found Stevie my unlikely writing mentor for the weekend.

Stevie Lesson Number 1: Don't be afraid to expect more from yourself.

When they were shooting the take (which they meant to film twice), they ended up doing it four times because Stevie expected things from his performance. Great things. If he wasn't happy with his sound (Sorry, folks, I want to do it again. I didn't like my sound...) He did it again. Now, I can tell you that every single take was amazing......but Stevie's yardstick for measuring is different from mine, and he is not afraid to ask himself to measure up.

Stevie Lesson Number 2: Love what you do.

Stevie's passion for music was more than evident. In between takes, he played songs we all knew and made up new words on the spot to crack us up. He was extremely appreciative of his fans, but the performance wasn't about the size of the crowd or the noise we made. I think there could have been a crowd of five kindergartners (instead of the hundreds of families) and he would have been equally happy and engaging. He was not some SUPERSTAR gifting us with a song. He was a guy who loves music and shared it with us, and that is what made him a superstar.

So, there you go. Writing lessons from Stevie Wonder. Hold yourself to a high standard and love what you do.

hrh

P.S. We also saw Michael Buble....at least we think we did. That's our story and we're sticking to it. (Lucky day, all around. Not since I saw the back of Jamie Lee Curtis' head last October have I been so close to famous people. )

18 comments:

Amy Tate said...

OH my!!!!!! I'm jealous!!!! Every time I hear Isn't She Lovely, I cry. I made a DVD slideshow to that song for my daughter's first birthday. I'm a huge fan...sigh. So glad you got to do that- Happy Birthday to your baby girl!!!!

Susan R. Mills said...

I didn't know Stevie knew so much about writing. :)

Julie Dao said...

Stevie sure knows what he's talking about! :) That's great that you took your daughter to Disneyland! I actually just went to Disney World in September with my best friend, when we both turned 24. You're never too old to be a Disney princess!

L. T. Host said...

How cool!!!!

Thanks for sharing :)

Wendy Sparrow said...

I really like to hear about celebrities that are still about what they do and not how they look. That's awesome. I'm impressed that he was like that... and it's obvious that he must love what he does.

Wicked cool story! Two thumbs up.

Word verification- Macalow--if ever a word should be a word that's it.

PJ Hoover said...

Wow! I love your post. It is really inspiring! Thank you for sharing it.

Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, great post! I need to print out those two lessons and hang them near my computer!

Lisa and Laura said...

What an amazing day! And who knew Stevie had such great writing advice? Sounds like a great way to spend an important birthday!

Kim said...

Writing lessons and LIFE lessons. What a great day that must have been. Great story!

Catherine Denton said...

Only a writer would find writing lessons in the midst of a Disney parade. :)

Jessie Oliveros said...

I love artists like that, that are in it for the art and the sharing of it, instead of flaunting how awesome they think they are. And I'm pretty sure that I saw Ben Affleck in Park City during Sundance Film Festival while in college. I'm sticking to THAT.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

This is why you are a storyteller. Thanks for giving us a moment with Stevie that is so revealing. Love it.

Stephanie Faris said...

Stevie Wonder...he was a huge influence on music back when I was young but you don't hear much from him anymore. Very inspiration words from him, though. And your daughter has a beautiful name!

Kelly H-Y said...

Excellent words of advice! Happy 20th to your daughter ... how perfect to celebrate @ Disney! :-)

The Church of Stevie Wonder said...

This is so positive and beautiful. Thank you for posting.

ElanaJ said...

I absolutely love your points. (Sorry, folks, I didn't like my sound.) That is beyond awesome. I love how he has standards for himself and KEEPS them. Love that!!

Thanks for sharing. Wish I could've been there.

Dawn Simon said...

Happy birthday to your daughter. :)

I remember you mentioning Jamie Lee Curtis's head. Hee! Good tips from Stevie. Nice post.

Carrie Harris said...

Gnashing my teeth in envy here. It doesn't get much better than that, although I wouldn't mind writing lessons from, say, Daniel Craig.

I'm just sayin.