I’m sure Mother thought she was protecting us by prying into our pockets, our purses, our thrown away notes. Biggest problem was she had no perspective — not a normal one, anyway. She was bent herself, by the extreme religiosity and repression of her rural Mississippi upbringing and how everything had to be suppressed, hidden, and denied, or else combined with her own urges which magnified and twisted our teenage dreams and yearnings into a fun house image of themselves — a false mirror.

In Eye of the Storm, secrets are a theme. The person who preys and pries is Rory Mathis. He believes information and family secrets will get him what he wants, which is to be the last person standing with his hands on the family business, the land, and all the money. He has no intention of sharing it with his niece, Grace, or anybody else.

12 thoughts on “Prying

  1. It’s a difficult thing to ascribe “normal” behavior to one who is not within the parameters of what society may consider “normal”. In our Mother’s case, I truly believe her actions were not only a result of her background and upbringing, but also due to a mental condition likely caused by stroke or other physical/chemical problems which may have occurred quite early in her lifetime. I remember her having “spells” even before Daddy passed away.

    Unfortunately, no matter the causes of her behavior, the results on all of us children were varied, handled differently by each of us and had very real consequences on our lives.

    I wish the characters coming to life in your novel all the luck in the world!

    (Thank goodness I turned out okay………………)


    1. Yes, Wally, I think her condition may very likely have started when she was a young woman, too, but I know she loved us and did the very best she could. It’s easier to recognize that in the 20/20 vision of advancing age. (I’d say you turned out quite a few notches above “okay”.)


  2. We have a rural Mississippi connection, it seems — my grandmother hails from the Delta and while she married a Syrian immigrant and emigrated to Brooklyn where she had five children, the youngest my mother, there are dark secrets that I can only intimate. Hmmmm.

    I am excited to one day read your novel, see how the inhabitants of your life expand, inform and morph into fiction.


  3. A fascinating territory, this one of intra-familial secrecy and neurotic curiosity. I have several poems in which I am the only-child protagonist, distanced from my parents and fiercely curious about the infrastructure of two entwined lives from which I felt myself excluded. Although this recalled sense has emerged in counselling, it’s more acutely evident to me through this group of poems, all of which arose from a hidden place and emerged fully formed.


    1. Thanks so much for visiting and leaving such a cogent thought. It’s become a cliche to say that what unites us is greater than what divides us, but I believe at a person to person and family to family level it is undeniably true. It’s just when the politicians come in that artificial barriers are erected and the serious trouble begins.


  4. resurrection. The word comes to me here. Can be taken two ways. Resurrection of the dead. Dead thoughts, toxic, questioning our own position in life, or resurrection of life, gratitude of the beauty of the earth, sunrises, sunsets, and the love of one another. Choices. Each of us make to determine the happiness of our daily lives Not only ours, but those around us. The old cliche – little things mean a lot, both positive and negative. I am anxious to see which choices your characters make, and if the wrong one’s whether they change their outlook further down the road. Keep writing.


    1. Yes, so true. The two-edged sword, and sometimes it’s hard to know what you mean until you’re either blooming or bleeding. I love our conversations, and I love you, my sister. There is a character, Bo, who has made terrible, wicked choices his whole life, but will have a moment of redemption. At first, I didn’t see how it could be possible, but he will slip through a tiny crack of momentary light.


  5. Beth, isn’t it interesting in a curious sought of way how the stories of our lives return to enrich the text we write, the lives we now lead? Something good came out of it all, I’m still astonished– and like steel that’s burnished in the fire and all the stronger, one thanks one’s stars for backbone and cussed pride


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