Saturday, December 17, 2011

Better living through facts

I've been gone a while. Lots of good things going on. I'm back because I have a problem. It's not a big problem, but I think it's a common one in this age.

I just read a post over at ("Remembering Ludwig van Beethoven"), and it stirred a dilemma in me.

Miller's post includes a note from Beethoven to his brothers. Beethoven's note raises great questions about life and artists. His loss of hearing, so deeply felt. Would he have been a different artist if he had never experienced that loss? Is it really "less easy for the artist than anyone else?"

These are the questions raised, but my dilemma is this: I'm distracted. The post begins by pointing to today as the anniversary of Beethoven's death. In my mind, I hear a audio recording ("Beethoven Lives Upstairs" maybe?) purchased after taking one of my kids to the symphony as a birthday present. We listened to it on the way home. Bells rang out, and the narrator intoned, "March 26th ..." We looked at each other in disbelief. March 26th, my child's birthday, and the widely reported date of Beethoven's death.

The intent of "Remembering Ludwig van Beethoven" is not to proclaim fact, and I know it. I want to think about the broader truth, but I am weak. I do a little checking. Today is likely the anniversary of Beethoven's baptism. Perhaps I should let it go. Perhaps I should contact the author privately, but there's no way to do that. I don't want to be snarky, but I don't want to see someone's words discredited because of a simple mistake.

Miller says in his post that some believe that in this "age of television and consumer distractions, another Beethoven will not develop." But we will know the facts!

(I keep thinking about this issue. If you'd like to read more of my thoughts on facts and truth, and about the birth of a different child, please check out For Victoria Crawford, an essay I wrote for