A few hours ago I had the pleasure of watching a masterclass with Lang Lang an exceptional American pianist of Chinese origin. The connection I felt with him was not only because of his musical mastery, common sense, but also because of his upbringing. When he mentioned the number of hours of studies, his parent's attitude towards education and their personal sacrifices I said yes .. this is something that I understand, this is something that sounds so familiar, this is my NORMALITY. Discipline, hours after hours of studies, a grown up attitude towards life and a thirst for more knowledge ...
When one lives in a society with completely different attitudes towards education for example, one feels completely alienated. When one lives in a society where a lot of children don't give a damn about the notion of studying, when hard work is an alien concept, when young people grow up in a environment where only material needs are being catered for, when the only books that a 12 years one reads are about pop stars or footballers there is something seriously wrong somewhere.
Yes I lived in a Communist country with many, many restrictions and difficulties but the silver lining in all of this for me and many children of my generation was education, studying, reading. From a very early age we were encouraged to read ...... the classics ... Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Bronte sisters, Guy de Maupassant, George Sand and so on. At 10-12 it was perfectly normal to be well on your way in devouring these books. Probably the best memories of my childhood are related to the books and the authors that became my imaginary friends.
So, when Lang Lang was talking about his upbringing I could resonate with him ......i was on the same page with him ... .. just as I can resonate with my Romanian friends. For us, the word education means the same thing, we sing from the same sheet, we have a deep, very deep respect for the act of learning and studying, very much unlike what I find around me these days. Here, in this world, in time, one learns to observe, nod and move on ... why? Because ... there is no dialogue!
One of the musical pieces he performed was composed by Chopin .........and somehow George Sand came to my mind, her beautiful novels, her intense love story with Chopin, her non conformity and amazing storytelling talent. And suddenly I felt the need to re-read especially "Mauprat" and "The story of my life". Oh but it is not easy at all as it looks like her books haven't been published here for more than 20 years. How sad to see that George Sand's name will be completely forgotten in the years to come. It could very well be that in other countries it is still possible to buy her books so my darlings do look her up, buy her books and read them in this cold winter days, sipping some red wine, and listening to Chopin's mesmerizing music.