Thursday, March 25, 2010

War on my mind

It's funny how a theme will come at you in waves, for no apparent reason. For me that theme is War. I don't think it's because I subconsciously feel my life is a war zone with house sales and death by cleaning and the hectic pace of life in general at the moment. I think it is more one of those serendipitous things.

It all started with Fifi - yes, it's your fault. Writer, illustrator, wearable art creator and craftswoman extroadinaire Fifi Colston has recently started another blog (she has several) (I don't know how she finds the time) called Dearest Dadie, Postcards From the War, where she shares the letters and postcards of her husband's grandfather Rothwell to his then girlfriend (and later wife) Hilda (Dadie) during World War One. Go visit Fifi's blog, as it is lovey and will prove over time to give a very personal glimpse into the effects of war on people.

The second trigger was reviewing a wonderful book called Dear Alison: A New Zealand Soldier's Story from Stalag 383. This book is an absolute treat. Dudley Muff was a prisoner of war during World War Two in Germany. Instead of writing a traditional diary, he wrote a diary record for his niece, Alison, who was then aged three. The result is an incredible record of prisoner life written for a child and illustrated with the most wonderful, expressive little stick figures as well as detailed drawings. It is humourous and sad, and eye-opening and ultimately uplifting. Dear Alison is one of this year's non-fiction finalists in the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.

The third wave came in the form of a YouTube link to a remarkable piece of video. It is the performance of Kseniya Simonova, aged 24, who won the 2009 Ukraine's Got Talent (I know what you're thinking) This is something I had never seen the like of before. She draws on an illuminated sand box a series of images showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during WWII. It is stunning, and worth watching for the full eight and a half minutes. The link is here.

There have been all sorts of other little things, now my senses have been heightened as it were. I can assure you I am entertaining no thoughts of incorporating the World Wars into my writing any time soon. But riding this little wave of discovery has been pleasurable, often emotional, and thought provoking.


Anonymous said...

Hi Vanda,

I loved the video, not at all what I was expecting.

A shame you're not contemplating a WW2 twist for one of Sam's outings!

Jason Payne

Maureen said...

Hi Vanda,
Gosh that video is powerful!

Fifi Colston said...

I saw that video a while ago- I was moved to tears. Glad you like the Dearest Dadie blog. I am very drawn to it and race to find time to scan and decipher the handwriting on the postcards. My husband is very moved by the family history and ahs finally leaned how to use a RSS feed to get the posts regularly! said...

Extraordinary - thank you for the link Vanda. I have a soldier's book of my Dad's from his time as a POW in Poland and he has recorded all the poems of his fellow POW's (some of them rather bawdy)but potent too in what they say about their lives in the Stalag.