One of the pictures that Donna finds in her brother’s sketchbook is one of him in his protesting days. As someone who has participated in many anti-war protests, I am deeply moved by this drawing. War, I believe, is the single must destructive thing on our planet, and I’m so proud that my brother was a part of the huge Vietnam antiwar movement. (As a reminder, the character of Vincent is based on my own brother who was also named Vincent.)

A part of Vincent resides within each of Donna’s children. Silvia inherits Vincent’s artistic abilities. Cosmo is inspired to become an astronomer because of his uncle. Angie plays the piano at Vincent’s prompting. Vincent’s protesting energy resides within her youngest son, Vince, who takes his mother to an Occupy protest in Chapter Thirteen. When Donna shows her son, Vince, this picture, his jaw drops. He exclaims: “Wow! I didn’t know Uncle Vincent was so cool. I mean, I knew he was cool but not that cool. Can I get a copy of that one, Mom?”

I hope you enjoy the following short excerpt from The Bird that Sang in Color.

The next picture was of him in his hippie days, being chased by cops at a protest. In the background, the White House, the Washington Monument, and the American flag all stood. They were uncolored like the clouds of tear gas that surrounded him. He ran strong with determination, and his hands were fists cutting through the air, while his long hair blew in the wind. I remembered when he’d told me about a Protest he went to in DC during his college years.

“They sprayed us with tear gas, Donna. But that didn’t stop us,” he said, his eyes filled with the spirit of revolution. 


This post is part of my latest blog series on the artwork that inspired the family saga, The Bird that Sang in Color. The art featured in these posts comes from a sketchbook that belonged to my brother, Vincent, which I discovered shortly after his death. It had pictures he’d drawn of himself throughout various phases of his life. This pictorial autobiography caused me to wonder what pictures I’d have of myself by the end of my life, which motivated me to live more fully. In writing this novel, I was able to share this powerful realization with the world. This novel is the third book in the Greco Family Trilogy. Each one of these family trilogy books is told from a different family member’s point of view. This one is told from the perspective of the Greco family matriarch, Donna.   

Grace Mattioli is the author of the Greco Family Trilogy books, including Olive Branches Don’t Grow on Trees, Discovery of an Eagle, and The Bird that Sang in Color. These books are available from all major online book sellers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple Books.