One of my friends posted this excellent comic on Facebook. It's about making friends with failure. Make sure you read till the very end.
I'm pretty sure I've talked about this before, but I think it's something that bears repeating, especially since I have so many artistic & musical friends. And apparently, we are all really hard on ourselves when it comes to our craft, whatever that may be: rarely happy with our efforts and always pushing harder. As you can imagine, this often leads to incredible frustration and discouragement, but somehow, we keep going.
This strip reminded me of the time a few years ago when Mister and I went to a medieval calligraphy exhibit at the local art museum. (Yes, we have a real live art museum in Nashville, and it's a pretty darn good one.) As I marveled at the manuscripts, I thought about how these long-ago artists had to mix their own paints and make their own inks, as well as make their own brushes and cut their own quills. They didn't have the luxury of going down to the art supply store for a few nibs and a couple bottles of ink. Nope. All those things had to be manufactured by hand. The more I thought about it, the more awed I became.
And then I thought, I totally suck at calligraphy. I'm such a slacker. Why do I even bother?
The same goes for music. I've been fortunate to be able to hang out and play with some stellar musicians, and even be taught by a few. I listen to music all the time, and when I'm not listening, there's still a soundtrack going on in my head. I can wake up in the middle of the night and oh hey, there it is. I practice pretty much every single day. It does pay off (did you hear that, kids? practice actually works!). And yet, I still get this knot in my stomach every time I go down to the pub for session night, because, well, I suck. I don't know ALL THE TUNES yet, and I'm still working on mastering the finer points that still slightly elude me. Just because I can pull if off at home by myself doesn't mean I'll pull it off at full tempo with a group of people.
But you know what? Everytime I sit down to play, there's something that eludes me just a little less than the time before. Every once in awhile, a miracle will occur, and I will nail something I've been working on - after I've already failed eleventy million times. Failing at something means I'm trying, and the more I try, the less I fail. Such a simple concept, and yet, so difficult to grasp.
Till next time ---- go forth and fail.