Esperanza Spalding: Talent is not a quality in and of itself.  It’s a — actually, I’m sorry — it’s a quality like tall or big lips or long fingers.  It’s a quality.  It’s not necessarily an advantage or of value in and of itself.  So yes, it’s wonderful to see things that that other person doesn’t immediately see, but if you can’t do anything with it, you’re not an artist.  It’s still cool for you.  Like I have a great time just spinning little funny ideas off in my head all the time, but I feel like I want to translate them into a tangible form that can be shared.  So yes. I think it’s very crucial to be receptive — just in the world, as an artist — to sounds and images and ideas.  And there’s this thing called follow-through, where you take that thing as far as you can take it.  And it may be a dead end, but the dead ends lead to something else too.  So this thing of follow-through, and then also the willingness to accept a failure and turn it into a success.  That can be the most annoying thing ever, when you’ve spent all this energy creating something and you have this thing that’s like, let’s say it’s a poem and it’s like, “Wow, it’s eight verses!  This is awesome!”  And then you put it down and you look at it a week later and you realize all the weaknesses in it, or you realize that nobody understands what you were trying to say, but you like it.  My mom would always say, “Well, if you like it so much, place it up on the wall,” but don’t leave it at that.  If you love that line that you wrote, or you love that visual that you made, great, put it on the wall. But if you want this to be a consummate piece of art, or a piece of work that other people can engage with, you’ve got to improve it.