Rudolf Nureyev once said, "Any artist is the bringer of light." It's a good thing for me that there are many different kinds of artists. In a family of musicians and artists and writers, it was pretty apparent when I was about five that drawing wasn't to be my destiny.
I'm sure my cousin, Jon Kiphart (second from the left), will be thrilled to see my creative interpretation of him doing "jazz hands".
My mother was an incredibly talented artist, and she always appreciated and celebrated anything my brothers and I created. I just found some of my writing my mom saved from the fall of 1968 and the summer of 1969. So much was changing in the world, but not in my corner of it.
I hated keeping that diary. My teacher made us all do it, and even then, I would rather have been off by myself making up my own stuff, rather than sticking to the nonfiction details of the day. The Vietnam war was in full swing and the Civil Rights movement was Front Page news, but I was writing about making "dezines" and flowers and seeing a film ... and some girl named Jeanne who was bugging me while I was trying to write and read my "Happy Hollisters" library book. (I've never been one to confront someone or make waves, so per usual, I got back at Jeanne in print.)
On a personal note, my Aunt, Patricia Kiphart, died on May 4. She was the first one on the left in my drawing at the beginning of this post and, in case that didn't quite capture her good side, she's the first person on the left in the photograph below.
My brothers and I loved her and our mom thought the world of her. My artist/writer brother, Tim, could have done a much better job with her portrait, and I hope he doesn't mind that I'm sharing some of the wonderful words that he wrote about our mom's beloved big sister:
"She was my Aunt Pat, and I really loved her. There was (and is) something wonderful about every sibling in that family; they were all extremely smart and nice and
really funny. After having lived almost fifty years and experiencing countless other families, I think the Conway brothers and sisters are the only
set of aunts and uncles I've ever come across where there
wasn't one person who didn't love being around any other.
My family, the Haywood five, loved seeing them every time.
Patricia always told it like it was.
And then she'd hand you a five spot."
Auntie Pat, thank you for all those five dollar bills, and for teaching me to tell it like it is.