DOES MY LIFE MATTER???

Posted: May 20, 2019 in World On The Edge

In today’s world, we have so much more materially than those who have gone before us–but we have ignored ourselves spiritually. There is much confusion about who a human being is, and what his purpose is meant to be.

Some people, especially those grasping for political office, appear to see themselves as set upon the earth distinctly for their own purposes, using others to get there. They want to change our way of thinking. They want to control us, and our vote. The political and moral climate of our present America has spawned many people like this who want to change the moral and political mores of our country, and they are “not nice” in their attempt to do it.

To mask their real motives, and to confuse Americans, the people following this playbook spout ‘nice-sounding’ but self-serving phrases such as “Love conquers Hate, etc. without applying the phrase to themselves. But what they are really after are hateful things, such as abortion up until the time–and even after– a baby is born! They want the dissipation of traditional marriage. They want to “give-away” America through illegal immigration, an open door to drugs, sex trafficking, and especially the abuse of innocent children. They hold the outrageous idea that a person can manipulate his or her sex. They praise Socialism as if its track record was wonderful, rather than the cause of demise for many nations. We must open our eyes to all this, or pay the consequences, but many are keeping their eyes closed, confused by false platitudes.

The confusion is being assisted by an undisciplined media, including most of Hollywood and some of the music industry, and even misguided theologians who we might expect to know better, yet they don’t appear to. Rather, some have even joined the fake causes!

How can so many be led astray? How can so many not see the evil in all of this?

Daily, everyone chooses between good and evil. It is our human nature. A mature person recognizes the signs of evil within himself, and attempts to re-attach to the good by seeking forgiveness and moving forward.  But when someone cannot/will not admit wrong-doing, a big problem exists for him or her. Instead of admitting they are doing wrong, and trying to fix it, they go overboard to make their wrong SEEM right.  Exactly what is happening in our present America through the playbook of the very far left.

 It is important to realize that trickery is being used today by some people with intentionally selfish motives. It is important to remember that wolves have been known to wear sheep’s clothing. Let’s think for ourselves, not jump on a very dangerous bandwagon that will not only take us down individually, but our country as well. We must use our common sense.

Most of all, we should realize that LOVE is not a word to throw around when it’s convenient to our own ends. It is a word to live up to. Love is a an action that comes from our spirituality, not our physicality– an all-encompassing standard created within us by God. In fact, our ability to truly love shows that God lives within us. But today, the selfish, fake representations of LOVE that many support are shameful, and they are digging a grave for  America.

For each one of us, life here on earth goes by fast. Our time to die will come, and what we have done here WILL MATTER.  We can put on blinders and try to make evil seem good, but that is a very risky lie to tell ourselves.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.—Isaiah 5:20

fAITHUL COVER 3 BNSAVE

When The Ghosts of Faithful won First-Runner-up for Poets & Writers Magazine’s Maureen Egen Award, it was a novel in progress. Here’s what Victor La Valle, author, Professor at Columbia, and Judge of the contest had to say about it:

Faithful suggests a broad canvas–a well-rendered local; a promising war of equals in the characters, a clear desire to address/tackle the issues larger than the back and forth, and a clear understanding on the author’s part about pacing and clarity. Also, I thought the father’s chapter was really funny!

NOW, THE GHOSTS OF FAITHFUL HAS WON THE 2019 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD FOR RELIGION FICTION!!

‘Ghosts’ is the second novel of mine to win this prestigious award. The first–The Wind That Shakes the Corn: Memoirs of a Scots Irish Woman–won the same in 2018.

My novels are about everyday people, flawed people, just like you and I. But they are presented in the context of being very valuable because they are human beings created by God, and no matter what they are doing or have done, their actions are known by God who loves them. Do the characters change their ways? Some of them do, and some don’t. That’s life.

I write fiction as I do because of my Catholic faith. What’s different about that?

I.

First of all, the soul of Catholic Fiction is that God exists and works in the lives of sinful, fallen in people who have totally rejected Him–and that He does this out of love, regardless of how forcefully a character tries try to shut Him out. And we need to know that.

2.

Secondly, because Catholic Fiction points to our true identity as human beings, which is that we are not just happenstance entities placed on Earth. We are God’s children, created by Him and made in His image and likeness, and that we have a greater purpose here. And hopefully, Catholic Fiction does this through stories in which we can see ourselves, and with language and imagery that points to the divine in each one of us.

3.

And then, thirdly, Catholic Fiction attracts us to what we lack on Earth, something larger and more beautiful than what this material world can give. And honestly I think in their hearts most people know this. It may not be the underpinning of a lot of fiction as much as other subjects are, but the yearning is definitely in every person, though they may have crusted it over with ‘stuff’ that our culture says we ought to have. And this is an innate yearning that only the divine can satisfy. People are seeking the beauty of God, whether they classify it as such or not.

 

What is the key characteristic of Catholic Fiction?

The Sacramental aspect of the Catholic Church. We are bound by the Sacraments of the church and believe that they are instruments of grace. Think of our definition of grace—an outward sign instituted by God to give grace. Then go to this Flannery O’Connor quote:

From the Sign to the thing Signified
From the Visible to the Invisible
From the Sacrament to the Mystery

The Catholic sacramental view of life is one that sustains, and supports at every turn, the vision that the storyteller must have if he is going to write fiction of any depth.

 

Synopsis of The Ghosts of Faithful:

Izzy Collier runs the Food Bank in a town called Faithful, on the banks of the Suwannee River. She is the least amicable of two daughters in a frustrating family; all, keeping secrets of betrayal. Her parents are at odds with both daughters, and with each other. Her sister, always Izzy’s competition, is an unstable former beauty queen, the wife of a philanderer, and the mother of four. Now, their ninety-four year-old grandmother sees her dead husband’s ghost, accompanied by a strange little girl. At the same time, Izzy’s husband, a defense lawyer, is being forced by his boss to effect the acquittal of a teenager accused of the rape and murder of a child. When Izzy starts to see her deceased grandfather and the little girl, too, she questions her sanity. What if the little girl ghost is the murdered child? But then, why would she be with Izzy’s grandfather? Are the ghosts after revenge, justice, or something greater?

SINNER OR SAINT???

Posted: May 7, 2019 in World On The Edge

The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.–Oscar Wilde

As rare as the saints among us, a good short story is hard to find. But Kaye Park Hinckley’s collection, “Birds of a Feather,” remains with us with the power of an epic novel.

Hinckley’s expert literary craftsmanship is matched by the drama of Judeo-Christian values confronting American relativism and egoism.

ANGELUS NEWS BOOK REVIEW:

In “Birds of a Feather,” a wife and mother feels trapped by a secret. An abortion doctor’s mother would never have considered the option he offers. An Alzheimer’s sufferer feels judged and drives to his childhood home.

The birds in Kaye Park Hinckley’s short story collection, “Birds of a Feather,” all find themselves from flocks of Catholics. Their family members, or at least a shining few, believe in forgiveness, hope and redemption.

But it’s the sinners with whom we most sympathize. How can we not? Hinckley’s expert literary craftsmanship is matched by the drama of Judeo-Christian values confronting American relativism and egoism.

It’s Easter Sunday when the wife’s grandmother, on her deathbed, whispers, “We know the truth.”

The abortion doctor sees a newborn grasping for life then kills her.

The Alzheimer’s patient is frightened by the unforgiving eyes of that blonde woman, his wife. This fear leads his mind to relive his experience as a soldier crawling on his belly through enemy fire. In present day, he screams out loud — a military command to his fellow soldiers — scaring his daughter to tears.

Unlike his caretakers, the reader can see the interweaving of his past and present experiences. If you have ever stood at the bedside of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, Hinckley’s depiction helps to make sense of a beloved’s puzzling, and at times hurtful, outbursts.

For individuals struggling toward redemption, despite themselves, there are moments where the light, or, as the saying goes, the truth, hurts. “A patch of blue sky births an unblemished sun so holy in appearance I turn away.” Pain often accompanies being awoken to truth. “A ruthless streak of sunlight wakes me.”

Hinckley’s fallen humans are driving home. Many of them literally. All of them figuratively. Though some at the close of the story take “a procedural deviation from integrity,” we find ourselves hoping, alongside the practicing Catholic in the family, that they make it home.

Hinckley’s characters are alive. Their flaws and struggles create dramatic tension and lead us to reckon with the sinner and saint within. Throughout there is an uncanny presence of the Communion of Saints.

This is most explicit in “The Pleasure of Company: A Ghost Story.” The loving souls of two deceased grandparents tell us that their granddaughter, Julia, “is not alone …We are here … Ghosts from the past. Grandparents who love her.”

Each struggling character evokes a feeling of care within us. I will buy this book for all in my life on this side of the veil. It will be loved especially by the fiction aficionados and all the birds who have flown askew, losing the flock. “As one might lift a tiny, injured bird falling from a tree…”

As rare as the saints among us, a good short story is hard to find. But Hinckley’s collection, “Birds of a Feather,” remains with us with the power of an epic novel.

A custodian is defined as person who has responsibility for or looks after something. Synonyms are keeper, guardian, steward, and protector.

Most of us realize that we are custodians of the Earth, guardians of the forces and processes that produce and control the balance of Nature in order to protect it. The prospect of global warming is one aspect of this protection that is currently touted as if we can do something about it. And there are many more which scientists struggle to understand.

But there is a higher nature here on Earth, a nature more vital than even the magnificent universe.  And that nature is the nature of a human being. The nature of a Man or a Woman is actually more profound than the puzzling workings of the universe. Shouldn’t we protect and guard that nature as well?

First, we have to understand what the nature of a human being truly is. We have to understand who we truly are and why we are here at all.

We are more than a product of our environment, more than a highly evolved animal. We are creations of God, as is the universe. BUT we are the highest of God’s creations. In fact, we are made in His image and likeness. This does not mean that we look like God. God is spirit. But it does mean that we have inherited His spirit within us. His Holy Spirit. Because of this, our human nature has definite capabilities that are not found in Earth’s nature, or even in the nature of animals.

In our human nature, we have a memory with an imagination in which we possess the capacity for mercy and compassion. We have an intellect, through which we possess the capacity for faith and humility. And we have a will, by which we possess the capacity to love.

But how much emphasis is put on the guardianship of this kind of nature, our human nature?  Not much. Instead, we act as if human beings are inconsequential, and nothing special.  We see this in the fact that we will abort an innocent child up to and even after the time of birth. We see it in terrorism when groups some disagree with, or do not find useful, are killed. We certainly see this in parental child abuse, and in pedophile activity. And we see it in ourselves and our addictions that harm our own bodies. What poor custodians we are of God’s greatest creation!

The fact is our individual human nature is beyond magnificent–and the only nature we can do anything about. We can’t change the nature of the world. We can’t stop hurricanes or earthquakes, floods or droughts, or even global warming. But we can change ourselves to become more in line with what God intended a human being to be.

And we do this individually, as God meant it. Because each of us was chosen by God to exist.

Before time began God chose each one of us and this choice was deliberate. God saw all the possible human beings He might have created throughout the history of the world. Out of possible billions of human beings that might have existed in God’s mind—His Eye rested on each one of us and then stopped looking and said, “You (insert your own name)shall be.” He saw all who could have been and decided they would not be. His providence placed us in a time and state of life that would bring out our greatest potential.–Mother Angelica.

God knows our name. He chose us because He loved us and meant us to freely love others through our memory, intellect, and will. And yes, we can choose not to love. Choice is necessarily a component of free will, with memory and intellect to keep the consequences of our choices in balance.

He gave each of us special talents, gifts and natural virtues all geared towards a deeper knowledge of Himself. Even those whose circumstances prevent them from knowing Him directly, possess a deep conviction of His existence and providence. He placed into each of us an inner radar system that warns of danger and assures us intuitively of His care, so we will never be far from Him and will not be deprived of the knowledge of His existence.–Mother Angelica

He made our natures higher than the earth–the earth is made for us.  We are to protect it–yes. But more so, we are to protect, guard, and be custodians for other human beings. All this, for our greatest purpose. Immortality.

The Hand that formed each of us left Its imprint upon our minds and souls for He made us to His own image. The soul He breathed into this work of His Hands—our body—was imprinted with some of His love—His creative power—His strength. We reflect His eternity, for once His Will called us out of nothingness, we became immortal—our soul will never die.” –Mother Angelica

How important our human natures are when we look at it this way! How can we not do our best to protect it?

We ought to stop and think. We ought to remember that we are the custodians of God’s most beloved creation–ourselves and our neighbors, His image and likeness on earth. And not just occasionally in a ‘feel-good moment,’ but today, and every day until we are called back to Him.

If we are not doing this, if we are not trying to use our memory, intellect, and will to guard against the failings of our own human nature, then we cannot call ourselves custodians–or Christians.

So, if we see ourselves becoming what we know we should not be, we should quit hiding from the truth. We should take an honest look at ourselves and the genuine beauty of our human nature, and remember our intimate kinship with Almighty God who dwells within us.

THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HIGH AND LOW—FREE ON KINDLE Wednesday April 24 and Thursday April 25 ONLY

Cover Endorsements:

With masterful control and skillful writing, Kaye Park Hinckley boldly explores a wide range of wounded souls, ultimately finding love in the unlovable, and grace in the sufferings of a complex world. –Cassandra King Conroy, Tell Me A Story: My Life with Pat Conroy (coming in October)

Once again, Kaye Hinckley has written a truly Southern novel, deeply rooted in a small town yet universal in appeal.  Strongly wrought characters wrestle with half-understood desires, half-articulated questions, half-intended sins – with emptiness and fulfillment, love and anger, sanity and absurdity.  All in all, this is a wonderful book that struggles with the imperfections of our human condition. — Arthur Powers, author of The Book of Jotham (2012 Tuscany Novella Prize) and A Hero for the People (2014 Catholic Arts & Letters Award)

Five Star Review:

I had no idea what a Southern Gothic Novel was when I started reading “The Distance Between High and Low.” All I knew was that this novel was Kaye Park Hinckley’s newest book. I’ve read—no devoured—four of Hinckley’s previous books. I have loved each one.

“The Distance Between High and Low” is one of her best. This novel transported me to a small town in Alabama, into the bosom of an eccentric family and their peculiar neighbors, that became like family to me. I finished the book in two days—it was hard to put down. The strengths of this book are many: 1) writing that was elegant and silky-smooth 2) characters that captured and held my interest immediately and 3) a plot that kept me guessing and turning pages hungrily.

What makes this book a “Southern Gothic Novel” is its keen focus on problems common to humanity. The novel faithfully showcases some attitudes endemic to small southern towns, as well as issues that can taunt adoptees and the innate longing to connect to one’s biological parents. Interestingly, all of which I have personally experienced. There are no ghosts or hauntings, but there are plenty of flawed characters, some madness, death, and betrayal. Hope and redemption are for the taking despite all—the superglue in this story.

However, that is as much as I will say. Now you have to read it. — Meggie Daly, author of “Bead by Bead.”

Excerpt: HOBART and LITTLE SISTER

I kick at the tire on my truck and get in only to be jolted by Little Sister, grinning at me from the shotgun side. The first time I saw Little Sister on the day she was brought home to Highlow, I thought, Well, at least there’s one person besides me that Main Street will never accept. I was dead wrong. Little Sister fastened herself right in. Anybody with a heart just has to like her.

“What are you doing here?” I make my voice gruff as I can.

“I saw what you did, Hobart.” She puts a finger to her flat, coffee-colored cheek. “I saw you hit Leona.”

At once, I remember the sucked-in breath I’d heard, before and after I’d slugged the bitch.

“You didn’t see anything, Little Sister,” I say as if I’m talking to an idiot, but even I know she was never that.

“I saw it. Leona says I’m a witness,” Little Sister says proudly. “She’s not gonna take Peck from us because I told The Judge the truth.”

Which truth? But I know how to deal with Little Sister. I give her my broadest grin. “Jesus knows I never meant to hit her. Leona just pushed me too far.” Then I get ready for her sloppy kiss. She doesn’t give it, just studies me with her bright, black eyes.

Finally, she says, “I didn’t see Leona push.”

“Hell, I gave her a check. Didn’t you see that?”

“It isn’t enough.” The same tone, the same exact words Leona had used.

I give Little Sister another smile, the sweetest I can muster. “But Little Sister, I gave her almost everything I had. That is the honest to goodness truth.”

She gets right up in my face and stares into my eyes as if, this time, she’s going to kiss me. Instead, she asks, “Lord Jesus, do you think Leona wants it all?”

“Yes, Little Sister. Leona wants it all. Tell that to the Judge!”

Little Sister lays her hand over her heart as if she’s seen the flag. “I will tell the Judge the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” Immediately, she plants a wet kiss on my lips, gets out of the truck, and canters across the street to the Judge’s office.

For a while, I sit in the truck cab with a smile on my face, thinking how Truth is always right next door, but only the oddballs seem to see it.

In my foyer there is a Grandfather’s Clock dating from the mid eighteen hundreds. Its origin is German. Before it came to me, it belonged to my husband’s uncle, a chaplain and Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. It is a beautiful clock, and temperamental, but if I keep it wound, its gong is clear and loud and steady with an echo that resounds for nearly a full minute throughout the house.

On top of a china cabinet in my dining room, there is an Arsonia Mantel Clock that belonged to my grandmother, also dating from the eighteen hundreds, and may have belonged to my great-grandmother who lived through Sherman’s march through Georgia during the Civil War. My grandparents had it when my mother was born in Savannah, GA, and it traveled with their family to Panama City Florida, and finally to Dothan, Al. I remember my grandmother’s daily ritual of winding it. I wasn’t allowed to touch it then, but today, I’m the performer of that ritual and the receiver of its chiming. 

Over the years, these two old clocks have evaluated time for over a century. They have broken silence as they struck through births and deaths, through happiness and sorrow, and through all in between. In hours, minutes, and seconds, these clocks have measured out the lives of many people, some of my family and some unknown. And as people died, the clocks continued to tick along, echoing the past, echoing the lives of those people.

There are many clichés about Time: Time is of the essence. Time heals all wounds. Time is money. But what is time really?  To understand, we might consider its opposite.

As human beings on Earth, we cannot experience the opposite of Time, which is timelessness, or eternity. We cannot fathom ‘No Beginning. No End.’  Our everyday lives are full of schedules and the ticking of clocks.

Some lives tick slow and heavy like the pulse of the Grandfather Clock. Others are quick and lithe as in the tick of the Mantel Clock.

But if Time is how we measure out our lives here on Earth, then what we do in those hours and minutes and seconds we have, must signal something awfully important.

Just as in the ritual of winding the old Mantel Clock, we have a great deal to do with how our time on Earth will be spent and perceived. And as with the Grandfather Clock, there will surely be an echo.

What sort of reverberation will my Time on Earth create?

What will my own echo be?

On May 13, The Distance Between High and Low will be officially launched on

Book Buzz, Net Galley, and IndieBound.org.

BUT it is now RELEASED on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I hope you’ll take a look, and hopefully leave a review in time for the launch.

A Finalist in The William Faulkner/William Wisdom Competition, and Finalist for The Tuscany Prize for Fiction, The Distance Between High and Low is a Southern Gothic novel about the consequences for two young people who set out to learn the identity of their father. Teenaged twins, Lizzie and Peck live in the house of their eccentric, widowed grandmother Pearl–a house of history and secrets– along with their unstable, drug-addicted, artist mother, Lila, and Izear, a half-Cherokee Indian devoted to Pearl who took him into her house many years before. Often with dark humor, the story focuses on the strivings of complex characters in the fictional town of Highlow, Alabama from the 1960’s into the 1980’s.

PRAISE for The Distance Between High and Low:

With masterful control and skillful writing, Kaye Park Hinckley boldly explores a wide range of wounded souls, ultimately finding love in the unlovable, and grace in the sufferings of a complex world. –Cassandra King Conroy, Tell Me A Story: My Life with Pat Conroy (coming in October)

Once again, Kaye Park Hinckley has written a truly Southern novel, deeply rooted in a small town yet universal in appeal. Strongly wrought characters wrestle with half-understood desires, half-articulated questions, half-intended sins – with emptiness and fulfillment, love and anger, sanity and absurdity. All in all, this is a wonderful book that struggles with the imperfections of our human condition. — Arthur Powers,The Book of Jotham (2012 Tuscany Novella Prize), A Hero for the People (2014 Catholic Arts & Letters Award)

EXCERPT:

We all got our customized cravings, our particular drugs you might say; habits, traditions, our routine ways of coping. Even Pearl has strong inclinations. Take her Fine China, restored with Super Glue to keep up her Highlow family, yet Pearl was powerless to fix the genuine break in her grandson’s heart. I like to think it’s fixed now. I like to think that Sister Perpetua flew down from heaven, took Peck back up with her, and told him what she once told me, “You may not know it, little fellow, but Jesus loves you. Oh yes, He does!” Then I think about my own Fine China, that drug I used to crave. Lila thinks I killed her son, but the thing that took Peck was the simple narcotic need for a father. It was his own customized craving that killed him. Not me. No, not me.
— Hobart McSwain, The Distance Between High and Low

POLITICS: The art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government.

MORALITY: Beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior.

POLITICS or MORALITY???

Standing against abortion. Is that politics, or morality?

Standing against the selling of a pre-born baby’s body parts. Is that politics or morality?

Standing against the killing of aborted babies who live through the abortion. Is that politics or morality?

Standing against sex outside of marriage because of God’s commandment that it is wrong. Is that politics, or morality?

Advocating that marriage is created by God as a sacrament between a man and a woman. Is that politics, or morality?

Advocating that drugs harm not only the physical body, but the human soul. Is that politics, or morality?

Advocating that lying–especially under oath–is a sin. Is that politics, or morality?

You may be able to bring up other similar examples that are referred to as political, but are actually moral questions about what is good, honest and true.

Do you see an underlying–and current–problem here? Topics that have long been considered part of morality are, today, suddenly political questions where the answers are made wishy-washy enough to be voted on as morally correct behavior. And worse— it is politically correct to adhere to them, even when they are morally wrong.

This is called propaganda–because it fuzzies up Truth. In fact, it tries to diminish the Truth by using terms that intimidate or make a moral person seem small and petty.

What is the next step? A complete elimination of morality, and an assumption of evil over goodness?

Well, that bothers me. Does it bother you?

Today’s politically correct idea of morality reminds me of the fairytale, The Emperor’s New Clothes. The people are propagandized with pre-planned slogans about how wonderfully dressed the emperor is–-and so they believe it. But in truth the emperor is parading around stark naked. And everyone is afraid to say so because it’s hard to be one of the few standing against the crowd. It’s hard to be David fighting Goliath. It’s hard to do what is right when it costs something. It’s hard to say no, and to walkaway from the propagandists. It’s hard to fight against evil, because evil means to hurt us–not one, but all of us, for its own self-aggrandizement.

But if we don’t stand up to the fight, what sort of country will we have left to live in? And what sort of soul will we eventually carry to the God who carries us?

To Kill a Human Being

Posted: April 6, 2019 in World On The Edge

Capitalism or Socialism???

Posted: March 27, 2019 in World On The Edge

One of the reasons this is even a question in America is that over the last three decades our education system has failed to teach the abominations of Socialism and Communism; in other words TRUE history. Please watch–especially if you are one of those who were fooled.