Esperanza Spalding: I don’t remember which writer said this, but in an interview, a prolific novelist was asked, “Do you write only when you’re inspired, or do you write all the time? Do you wait for the muse, or do you just kind of knock it out? You can just sort of spin it out?” And he said, “Well, I do wait for the muse. I write when the muse comes, but fortunately she shows up, like me, every day at 9:00 a.m.” And to me, I think the anecdote is actually much shorter than the way I just said it, but that sort of sums up the point that I was trying to make earlier, with follow-through, and Doctor — I assume — Shostakovich or Maestro Shostakovich was trying to instill in the student. The way that I’ve learned, the way that I’ve convinced myself to keep at something when it doesn’t seem like any fruits are forming — because that can happen. You have an arranging project or an assignment, or preparing for a gig, something that’s very new and difficult, and it can feel like you’re doing the same thing and nothing is changing. You know you’re able to do it faster now. Okay. I couldn’t put that chord there as quickly, but it just doesn’t seem like much is coming, especially with lyrics and poetry because you know when the words are there, and there isn’t like a method to have great lyrics. And I always think to myself, “Well, if I were the muse and I had something really special that could only be translated through a human form, wouldn’t I want to give it to the person who was most, agile and fit for the task?” You know, like if you want to get this message to Marathon, you give it to a runner. You wouldn’t give it to somebody who doesn’t run very often, because you’re not sure if they’re going to make it. So I think if there is this kind of idea of a muse or whatever that could be, the muse isn’t going to waste all that gold on somebody who is not in shape. So you want to be somebody. You want to be a good candidate for the muse to travel through. The muse is whatever that is, magic to travel through.