Sunday, 4 January 2015

Maurice Blanchot

“You didn’t know Mr. Blanchot passed away?” Vanessa asked me. Who could have told me? I am no longer in touch with anyone from the Music Conservatory. And all that is so far away now.
Maurice Blanchot was my piano teacher. “Just imagine what would have happened if you didn’t listen to your friend (fellow composer) Antoine Tisné and instead chose Catherine Collard as my teacher!!!” I once told my father.
“Yes, your whole life would have turned out quite differently…” he mused with a mysterious smile.
I’m not sure I whether would have turned out a concert pianist, though. In all probability, I wouldn’t have. I was already entertaining other dreams since my childhood, and I wasn’t cut to become a concert soloist, although being on stage is something I absolutely love. 
Maurice Blanchot was a big rock against which I would crash every week, a red-faced and red-haired, short-tempered man who had me pray for any accident to fall upon me before each lesson. Not at all a bad man, even if Vanessa’s abhorrence for the man seems stronger. But he wasn’t her teacher. And that didn’t happen to her.
I had to move on and leave the dark memories of these secondary school days far behind. I was such a troubled child that it would hardly add up to the other problems I had to lock them silently inside. From short-tempered teacher whose fits of anger left colourful Jackson Pollock-like marks on my music scores he became more attentive – more respectful with the years? Perhaps because I became more interesting as a pianist – teaching younger children can be tedious indeed. Perhaps I became in his eyes more interesting myself, from young boy to adolescent. Perhaps he feared that I may make a scandal and and run to the school director as the other students did, although they would never explicitly explain the reasons, (savoir vivre, peut être?) the issue was tacitly understood. But Mr. Blanchot had good connections then and was very well surrounded. Nothing bad would or could happen to him. I wonder... The thought didn’t cross my mind, then. I just had learned to deal with my issues in silence.   
In his later years at the music conservatorium, he was caught at it again, despite warnings that came from other parents and students. This time, his connections could not shield him and he was compelled to resign from his position. The irony was, had he restrained himself from yielding to his impulses for a couple of more months, he would have saved himself and his reputation: He was two months away from retirement. That time though, no one could save him. The former mayor had long gone, his position wasn't so secure anymore.
I don’t know what happened to him afterward except that he became the mayor of a small town in the center of
France. I can only wish his last years were more peaceful. And no, I felt no hatred for the man. We all have our demons, don’t we?

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