A new moon is born every 27 days. During that period the moon progresses through certain stages or phases. Each phase has its on set of unique viewing characteristics, so that we on Earth see each phase as being different from another. We have phases in our lives too–most obvious is from youth to old age. But there are other phases we go through, and may even be going through now. From revenge to reconciliation. From hopelessness to hope. From loneliness to friendship. From greediness to generosity. And from loathing to loving.

“Moon Dance: A Love Story,” is the eighth story in my collection, Birds of a Feather. It has won several awards and is reprinted in two anthologies.

The piece is both a present day and an historical story about lasting love and the necessity of forgiveness.

Here are the first paragraphs:

Every night, when she makes her rounds, she finds us watching the Georgia moon. We lay together in a single bed to catch the first inkling of its light and nightly mark its swell from miniscule to magnificent. We tell her of its essence, that it is something much bigger and brighter than itself. She gives us a condescending, “Uh huh, Shugah;” then leans over to tuck the white sheet around our thighs, and brush a dark hand across our foreheads. She smells of honey.

In the darkness, we point out to her the way the moon takes center stage to a sparkle of dancing stars, how it soon becomes distorted, fades and passes, leaving only a promise of return. We tell her that return is certain—our covenant between nothing and everything, between life and death. But she only wrinkles her sweet, black face and smiles, a tall silhouette against the silver light from the window.

“Night, night, Miz Anna,” she says.

I expect her to give us a kiss goodnight, but instead she gives us a pill for pain. On her way out, she does not close the window. She does not shut our door. We do not allow her to do that, because we will not be fastened here forever.

The artificial light from the hall draws a triangular shape on the linoleum, pierces the soft splash of moonlight that spreads downward from the foot of our bed. The illumination of the hall is soon extinguished by a human hand, but we lie in a radiance the human hand does not control. In the night, we speak of the covenant, the promise in death. I see its purpose. Death is passage. Death is close.

One hundred and six years old, both of us, we’ve held many who passed before us, held them in our arms as they took a last breath—parents, children, grandchildren, others we loved. I tell Will, my beloved husband, that God’s desires are greater than our own. He accepts the truth in that. Then we speak of our daughter, our first child.

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Many of you know  my short story collection, Birds of a Feather, was published by Wiseblood Books. The stories are about those personal demons which never really leave us. They hover very close to the things we desire, waiting to turn us in harmful directions. So often, and in various ways–through people, or events– we are warned to beware of them, but just as often, we set the warnings aside. And we can do that, why? Because each of us has Free Will. And this is central to the books I write.

BUT also central to my books is HOPE in the chance for restoration. Hope is set into us by God, as are Faith and Love. Every human being is created to exemplify these virtues and literally has the ability to do so. The fact that we often choose not exemplify them does not mean we can’t.  The personal demons we allow in our lives are indeed conquerable.

Like some of the characters in these stories, we are all mistaken sometimes; sometimes we do wrong things, things that have bad consequences. But it does not mean we are evil, or that we cannot be trusted ever again. Our demons often feed on our frequent leanings toward hopelessness which does not take into consideration the grace of God. But if we want to change, if we truly HOPE to change, then change is surely possible.

….. In the past few years Kaye Park Hinckley has emerged as a major talent in what Paul Elie calls “the literature of belief.” Hinckley translates grace in a world on edge, sees a double beginning and ending in everything, literally everything, including the unspeakably awful. Like her novel A Hunger in the Heart, the stories in Birds of a Feather—several of which have won substantive awards—take us to the heart of the matter.– Publisher, Wiseblood Books.

Praise for Birds of a Feather:

The first story in this collection sits a reader bolt upright. Two stories in, you marvel at this storyteller, who sends us flying over new country, a landscape of modern parables where faith runs river-deep. Kaye Park Hinckley seems to overflow with beautiful, heartbreaking love and lessons. A world with broken wings can surely make use of such stories.

—Charles McNair, author of Pickett’s Charge and Land O’Goshen

“With masterful control and skillful writing, Kaye Park Hinckley boldly explores a wide range of wounded souls in this amazing collection of stories, ultimately finding love in the unloveable, and grace in the sufferings of a complex world.”
—Cassandra King, author of The Sunday Wife

Print Reviews:

“The short stories in Birds of a Feather are richly imagined tales full of finely drawn characters who demonstrate how people estranged from faith can bumble through life so distracted by worldly horrors and delights, so full of themselves, that they don’t even notice faint nudges of grace that stir in their souls or recognize subtle emanations of the holy that abound in the world around them.” –The Catholic World Report

Voted one of the Six Best Fiction Books from the First Half of 2014.

“Kaye Park Hinckley’s stories give a fuller picture of the Christian faith. Like a bird-watcher, the thoughtful reader can even learn to spot the flutter of redemption in these stories.” –Englewood Book Reviewer Magazine

“Hinckley’s characters are complicated. They’ve done horrible things, witnessed horrible things, been the victims of horrible things, yet they continue rising each morning and putting one foot in front of the other. They fulfill their obligations to each other while these horrible things gnaw at them from the inside out. Hinckley deftly presents the repulsiveness of her character’s actions, while also revealing her characters’ drive toward love. ..fully developed plots and well-rounded characters.”  –Lake Oconee Living Magazine, Lucy Adams

“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 craft is matched by the drama of Judeo-Christian values confronting American relativism and egoism. “– ANGELUS, The Tidings Online, Jennifer Ann Jones

Thank you, Sue Vincent!

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

2018 WINNER OF THE INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD
IN RELIGIOUS FICTION

THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE CORN:
MEMOIRS OF A SCOTS IRISH WOMAN

Kaye Park Hinckley

Love and hate, life and death, trust, betrayal, and the ‘always hovering’ choice to forgive, are prominent themes in this novel–themes that every person on earth struggles with.

As is evident in today’s world and in its history, nations and individuals espouse convictions that call for charity toward neighbor, but avarice and malice can overwhelm those convictions and lead to violence. When violence is perpetrated, it regularly breeds vengeance. Vengeance leads to more conflict and the whole circumstance becomes an endlessly spinning wheel. Numerous powerful nations have activated such a wheel. In the eighteenth century, England was one of its greatest executors, and the people of Ireland, its casualty.

England feared the old faith, Catholicism, which the nation as a whole had cherished for over


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Most of us have seen abandoned houses on country roads and city streets. There is something tragic about those unkempt places, those buildings that surely still hold the memories of people who once lived there, yet now, are no longer physically connected.

And because there is no physical connection, and the place is left alone, it falls into disrepair.

It’s the same with people left alone.

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.–Mother Theresa

In fact, did you know that loneliness can kill you?

Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or made worse by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

“Real loneliness is overwhelmingly painful, disintegrative, and paralyzing. It represents a blocking of the fundamental need for personal intimacy, and it originates in pathological object relations in infancy and early childhood. Psychotherapeutically it is difficult to discern real loneliness because the patient cannot communicate it verbally and is frequently unaware of it, and because the more prominent symptoms of hostility and anxiety mask it.”– Psychiatry. XXII, 1959: Loneliness. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann. Pp. 1-16.. Psychoanal Q., 28:572-573.

Personal intimacy is the key here. A person can be in the middle of many people, but without a connection to any one of them, he can feel lonely.

Lonely house, lonely me
Funny with so many neighbors
How lonesome you can be

——Langston Hughes lyrics, Street Scene

Are there people in our lives who need us, need our care and intimacy, yet we’re not giving it to them? Why? Are we too busy, too involved with social media? There maybe be someone right in front of us, maybe someone in our own family, but we don’t see them because our eyes are always on our phones. Sad.

Historical. Southern. Literary.

Two Novels

about the nuisances of love,

and the difficulties of forgiveness.

A Hunger in Heart, set in 1955 in fictional Gator Town, Florida, was my debut novel and meant to be the first of two books. Now it’s sequel, Bridge-Man Burning: The Sins of a Southern Man, is finally published. Though each can be enjoyed separately, they go hand-in-hand.

A HUNGER IN THE HEART

Coleman Puttman Bridgeman III is hurt by the love he hungers for. As a boy, he must come to terms with the consequences World War II has had on his family. His shell-shocked father, a decorated hero, stages continual games of war with Coleman against an enemy that only his father can see, while his alcoholic, mother blames Putt’s misfortune–as well as her own afflictions–on the black soldier whose life her husband saved. When Putt is accused of a scandalous crime, the boy’s manipulative grandfather holds Coleman’s mother responsible, bringing about a bitter relationship between mother and son that lasts for years. Coleman’s only affection is for the steadfast gardener, his grandfather’s right-hand man–until a beautiful and sensitive girl moves in next door with her own dysfunctional family. Now a teenager, Coleman falls hard for the girl, his first experience with genuine love. But will he allow her to help him find courage enough to rise above his traumatic childhood and take a step toward forgiveness?

BRIDGE-MAN BURNING: THE SINS OF A SOUTHERN MAN

Coleman leaves his hometown behind, yet carries with him the family blood that runs through his veins and voices of the past that run through his head. In marriage, business and the Vietnam War, Coleman faces life’s most powerful battles where he must confront the weakest, and deepest, parts of himself. Honesty versus dishonesty, faithfulness versus betrayal, and courage versus cowardice, all bring him to the brink of destruction, causing him to question what sort of businessman he truly is, and most especially, what kind of husband he has become. Will he have what it takes to save his marriage to a wife he has betrayed–and yet, sincerely loves? Or will he lose her forever?

Please Share. AND I will be most grateful for your rating or reviews! Thank you!

 

I am sooo excited to announce this news!!!

THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE CORN: Memoirs of a Scots Irish Woman has WON the 2018 Independent Press Award for Religious Fiction!

The sequel to A Hunger in the Heart is waiting for ratings and/or reviews.

Image  —  Posted: May 11, 2018 in World On The Edge

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday! And congratulations to those of you who are mothers, and to the mothers you had.

If you are a mother, you know that Love–as in “Mama’s Love”–is not a noun with a possessive adjective preceding it. It’s an action, one that lasts a lifetime. I know this from loving my own children. But I also know it from the love of my mother.

I was a shy child, always I wanted my hand in the hand of my mother. And her hand was always there. Sometimes not physically–after all, I had to grow up, be courageous, lose my timidity. She helped me do that. She saw that I loved to draw and gave me art lessons. Everything I drew or painted, she was proud of and showed it off–especially to her Bridge Club, a group of ladies who ended up playing bridge together, once a week for fifty years!

But still, the idea of her hand in mine, and the knowledge she would be there for me, no matter what, was pasted into my thoughts. It gave me security. SHE gave me security. She gave me confidence in myself.

And she prayed for me, and for our family and friends. I remember kneeling around her bed at night for the rosary. Many times I wanted to do something else. For those who are not Catholic, the five decades of the rosary usually end with a prayer to the Blessed Mother, “Hail Holy Queen.” But not for my mother! She went on, with prayers to St. Jude for the sick and hopeless, prayers to St. Michael for our protection, prayers to the Holy Spirit that we might have courage, and on and on. And me? I used to pray for the phone to ring!

My mother was a beautiful woman—really. She received many compliments for that, but she knew people, too. She knew when words were just show, and when they were sincere. “People will sometimes tell you what they think you want to hear. Use your head to determine the truth.” Not to be taken in by everything I read or heard was another thing she passed to me.

My mother had an ability to read people. And sometimes I thought she read them a little too harshly. She was honestly compassionate, but occasionally, she dug her heels in when it came to who I was allowed to be around, or date. My mother had standards, and in her mind, people would either accept her principles, or –should I say?–depart from her company—because she changed her deepest principles for no one. One more characteristic she set into me.

As far as her Faith–it was simple. Simple, yet astounding at times. She grew up Catholic in the Protestant South, one of only three or four Catholics in her high school. She never denied it. She never shrank from it around her Protestant, and Jewish, friends–and she had many, caring about each one. But it was her church she loved and was faithful to, the same little white church I grew up in. One more precious gift–my Faith. So, thank you, Mama, for loving me. You were and always will be, my Rock.

A short time before my mother died, she asked me a question most aging parents would like to know the answer to. She asked about my childhood, wondering what I felt about it. I replied that I’d had a wonderful childhood, thanks to my parents and grandparents. And that was true. But my mother looked at me as she always did when she had something more emphatic in mind. She was good at summing things up, so she zeroed in on what she’d really hoped to hear. “Well, Kaye,” she said. “That’s because you always knew you were loved.”

My mother often spoke in titles. By that, I mean she expressed what was truly important. In this case it was the security found in being loved.

Love is the thing we all want. And it is the basis for feeling secure. In a family, love between the parents produces love in the children. If it is not there, insecurity is the result and is readily seen today in too many children whose home life is askew.  If a child’s foundation is trembling beneath him, the child cannot keep balance and is in danger of a fall into who knows what.  So, what can be done?

My father frequently quoted this: “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” I believe this sincerely. So, how does a man genuinely love his wife?

Love is, of course, a verb. An action word, with its fence built around all other virtues. And there are seven virtues. In Catholicism, the first three are the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love–Love being the virtue that gives the others traction.

The four cardinal virtues are Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance. Prudence heads the list for parents, warding away betrayal, anger, self-centeredness, and a lack of forgiveness. Prudence gives all people, especially parents, the ability to use their powers of reason to see what is good and what is evil, and the courage to keep our children safe from bad influences–in our family, in the outside world, and sometimes even from the child himself. Our children need to be shown that they are always loved, by actions that may be difficult for us yet necessary for them. This is security for a child.

When a child (or an adult for that matter) lacks safety/security in some area, he/she often goes astray. But a strong foundation of self-less parental love, like the example of God’s love for us, can bring him home. And as the mother of five, I know for a fact that it can happen just that way.