Telling a Story

>> Thursday, January 7, 2010

I've said many times that, when I write, I'm compelled to tell a story, that telling a story is, for me, what it's all about. Writing is, of course, the way I do it, but it's certainly not the only way. There's music and film, and art. A friend sent me the link to this and I (and clearly many other people) found it incredible, a truly remarkable way to tell a story.

They sent me an explanation to read before I watched the video. I'll add that, but I encourage you to watch the video first.

First read the story..

This video shows the winner of "Ukraine’s Got Talent", Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a strange one, is mesmeric to watch.

The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about £75,000.

She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated.

It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears.

She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.

This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.

In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye.

The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million.

Kseniya Simonova says:
"I find it difficult enough to create art using paper and pencils or paintbrushes, but using sand and fingers is beyond me. The art, especially when the war is used as the subject matter, even brings some audience members to tears. And there’s surely no bigger compliment."

I lost no one in the WWII, no father, no grandfather, no one. But so many people did. And, yes, I cried.

Now, if I could just do that on paper...


  • Roy

    Yeah, somebody sent me a link to that a couple of months ago. It is amazing, and very moving. The German army devastated Russia, the Ukraine. Byelorus, and other parts of the western end of the Soviet Union, all the way to the Volga. And in many ways, especially psychologically, they still haven't recovered.

  • Stephanie B

    What amazed me was that I didn't need to know that background to be affected, to understand the story. That was one example, but it's the story of war now and forever.

  • Jeff King

    Just awesome, thx for posting it. i watched it 2 times.

    blows me away how anyone could do that.

  • Shakespeare

    Brilliant, brilliant stuff. Moving and intelligently put together.

    I was most impressed by how quickly she created each scene and then transitioned into a new one. To work that flawlessly and brilliantly--wow!

  • Stephanie B

    I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jeff.

    Yes, Shakespeare, I figured, since you are a writer AND an artist, you might appreciate it on many different levels.

  • Aron Sora

    The best thing about this work is that she has the audience focused, despite the painful feelings. I imagine this is a painful topic in that country, yet it didn't seem like the audience was uncomfortable. This allowed them to explore and confront their emotions instead of running away.

  • Marilynne

    Her talent is moving and so is her understanding of the costs of war.

  • flit

    I've seen this as well... it was incredible!

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