There can be power—even a sort of doomed heroic power—in keeping one’s mouth shut. The night in 1993 that pianist Oscar Peterson suffered a stroke, no doubt he should have been raced to a hospital. But he went on with the show and said nothing about the stroke—not to the audience; not even to his fellow musicians. Drummer Jeff Hamilton was surprised to see Peterson limp to the stage late. More surprised still when O.P. sat down at the bench and, cheating with his considerable bulk, blocked the audience’s view as he used his right hand to rest his limp left hand on the keyboard. Peterson charged into the first song of the evening, tearing up the piano with his right hand while his left remained motionless. Mr. Hamilton turned to bassist Ray Brown and said, “What do we do?” Brown replied, “Play, man, play!” Few in the audience realized anything was wrong.

In this age when artists are urged to blog and tweet and otherwise display all the moving mechanical bits and pieces of works that might otherwise have a certain mystery and magic, performers may want to take Ray Brown’s words to heart. The next time a maestro or any performer is tempted to give the backstage blow-by-blow in real time, it would be wise instead to just play, man, play.

… this article is a good reminder for me — and perhaps other bloggers! — to watch what I write. In my case, it’s not only about my own fears, foibles and goofiness, but also about others. I think I need to keep this in mind: Do No Harm … to myself or others. Period.

I’m not sure what this will mean about my blogging. Sometimes I read fairly preposterous things and I post them here as “BQOD” entries (blogger quote of the day) or TQODs (twitter quotes of the day). I don’t link to the blog or tweet, but am I mocking someone by posting things like that? Perhaps so. But do I need to only post happy things … should I become a Pollyanna and pretend everything is hunky dory?



  1. I think you’re being more than a little harsh on yourself. Since finding your blog I’ve read it daily and thoroughly enjoy the quotes you put up as part of your daily blogging. And I’ve never once read one and thought “Oooh, it’s a bit harsh to have quoted that.”

    If anything, I’d say that whenever you’ve quoted something a little awkward you’ve always been careful to treat things with care and consideration, and never with mockery or derision.

    If all the world was sugar, would it taste as sweet?

    Please keep the QODs coming 🙂

  2. Thank you, Kevin.

    I really just need to be sure my intentions are correct. I don’t want to become the old, jaded oboist who mocks others. I don’t find that appealing!

    I’ll keep the QODs coming, but I’ll just make sure that I’m not making fun of someone when I do so. 🙂

  3. In a way, it’s already too late, right? It’s out there. If you feel it has relevance to your blog I think you should go for it.