While chatting with comedian Marc Maron on his excellent podcast WTF, jazz journeyman Ben Sidran discussed why screwing up is imperative to the creative process.
"In Jazz you can spend eight hours a day blowing through a copper tube, and I promise you after ten years, that tube will not change but you will be totally transformed. We're transforming ourselves here, and you can't do it if you're not in public, and if you can't make your mistakes in front of people, it doesn't matter."
He went on to say:
"It's not so much avoiding the mistakes, but how you recover from mistakes. If you're in public and you do something and you didn't intend to do it, and the first thought in your mind is "s**t, what did I just do?" If you can train yourself to say, "I'm going to make something out of that," in that recovery is transcendence, and people have a sense that something magical has just happened. It's in the recovery, it's not in the imperfect. It's in letting it all come through and using it."
"Without the possibility of failure, there is no possibility of success. That's absoutely a watchword, man. You have to put yourself at risk."
Now go out there and embarrass yourselves in public! For art's sake!
Or just embarrass yourself for your own sake if you want. Embarrassment is good. Just make sure you recover gracefully!
Also, if you haven't already, go listen to every episode of WTF. It's chock full of so many glorious bits of inspiration and nuggets of neuroses from the coolest creative folks in the world.
Image: Ben Sidran's "Don't Cry for no Hipster" Album Cover