I first heard Esperanza Spalding‘s music on Rdio a few weeks ago, and I listened to her newest album all day. But it was a work day and I had a dozen fires burning and I didn’t give her much thought after that. But then I read this brief piece in the Huffington Post about a Q & A she recently held. Now I want to listen to all of her music right now and I want to see her in concert and I hope she does do a TED talk sometime soon.

Because in addition to saying some very grounded and awesome things about creativity and the creative process and hip hop, she said this about failure:

I make mistakes and I learn from them. Failure is everything. One of the most valuable things I learned recently is that being an artist is not about being comfortable. What it really is about is gaining more awareness of what’s out there and what’s possible. As soon as you have enough of a foundation of what you know, you stand on that and reach for the next phase. So if you’re a totally uncomfortable, miserable artist, that’s great.

Indeed. Personally, I find the discomfort and misery to be a source of, how do I say this, tremendous joy and satisfaction. Funny how that happens. Pretty much all the creative successes I have happen when I’m reaching for the next phase, even after I’ve fallen over a few times. And when I’m not reaching, that’s when the bad kind of misery sets in.

Esperanza Spalding - Estate fiesolana 2009
Esperanza Spalding – Estate fiesolana 2009, by Andrea Mancini on Flick (CC-A licensed)
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Failure is the thing that happens most of the time in my life. Just last Friday, I got fired from my last day job. 
My Etsy shop is another failure. Then, the blog, I am not letting to slip. Because, I make a manageable goal for it. Just to write. So, my every effort to support myself failed and just this one thing, which is not involved with money making, that is going to be successful: at least that is what I think.

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