Failure Is Not An Option

It’s happened to all of us at least one time, and for many of us, many times. 


That dreaded word that sinks the hearts of most artists like the Titanic going down in icy waters. 


But is it ever as bad as we feel it is? It's difficult to get any sort of perspective on it when you are in the middle of it, with emotions raw and jagged. But often failures (or what we at least perceive to be failures), can lead to other things, better things.

Sometimes we end up in a dead end but can't see it, or maybe we’ve overstayed our welcome, and can't see that, so what we think is a failure, is merely a way out of a bad situation that we either didn't see, or didn't want to see.

I’ve had my share. As a musician, I’ve been fired from various bands for dubious reasons. One band told me they were changing drummers because I had ‘bad time,’ which was just an excuse, because my time is fine. Another time I came home to find all my gear dumped on my front porch. They didn't even have the courtesy to talk to me or face me. I had given both bands 110%, but things seemed to come down more to personality differences. I moved on.

Years later I joined a new band after being convinced by the leader of all sorts of good things. After 2 weeks of rehearsals it just wasn’t happening and I told him, “This isn't working, so I’m leaving before we both waste too much time.” He got angry and said to me, “You’ll never work in this town again!” I don't take threats, but I just moved on, forgetting all about him and found something that was a better fit. I don't think his band ever got off the ground. And I’m still here, working more than ever.

25 years ago I fell and shattered my left elbow. I was taken to the ER, probed and x-rayed, and told that I would have surgery in 4 days. They put a splint on my arm and sent me home with some pain pills. The next night, much to the surprise of my band, I showed up at a gig with half of my drum set and played the whole gig with one arm. I had my surgery on the following Monday, took it easy the rest of the week and then played again with one hand the following weekend.

There are plenty of other stories I could write about where things went wrong or where I ‘failed.’ But in each case I figured out how to keep moving forward and in some cases ended up better off. 

Shit happens. You pick yourself up and keep moving forward because your art is your spiritual practice. I can't imagine anything happening that would cause me to let go of my art. Yes, I've had things happen that have caused me to change direction, or change the mode of what I do, but not to stop doing what I do.

And now we are 100+ days into this Covid-19 thing and after the initial shock, I hope everyone out there picked themselves up and got going with their art. It took me about 4 weeks to find a direction, but I've been steadily creating since then.

Ars longa, vita brevis, occasio praeceps,
experimentum periculosum, iudicium difficile. 

Keep creating.

~ MB

Over the past 9 years and 3 different blogs, I've written almost 500 blog posts. That's a lot of my time and energy devoted to putting my thoughts and ideas out there on the internet for you to read. If you've enjoyed reading them, and have gotten value out of them, please consider a donation. You'll be helping me keep writing for hopefully another 9 years. Thank You ~ MB.


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