How to talk about passive voice as a useful thing? An okay thing? An allowed thing? So many of us as writers have received the advice that we need to change the passive voice in our work to active voice. This is good and important advice. You should do that.
Reading too much passive voice is unpleasant and boring. But, contrary to what short, insightful, and thought provoking nuggets of wisdom like write in active voice would have you think, passive voice has a place in your prose. Albeit, a sparing one.
Sweet, floral perfume hung on the stale air of a forgotten warehouse. Wafting among corroded pipes, which wove their way along a high ceiling and around long, dusty windows. Drifting through the trash and dead leaves scattered across a concrete floor. Reflecting off once-white walls and old, broken furniture. I was following a trail of … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Making Change
Brushed with soft pink hues in the fading evening light, full white dandelion heads stretched away from either side of a dirt path. Evidence of a wishing festival lay scattered all around me - broken, bald stalks discarded in the dirt. On still air rode the scent of sap and cut grass, warning other plants … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – A Seed of Doubt
Just peculiar enough to look like an accident, a white truck hulked beneath a tree in bloom. The pale pollen and petals piled upon its windshield, however, revealed that it had huddled below the heavy branches for a long time. Nighttime crouched like a presence between the tree trunk and the car door. A rustling … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Next Time
Light bloomed behind me in a passage I had already cleared, so bright as to drown out the glow of my flashlight. Looking back, I had to hold up a hand to shield my eyes. I could see nothing but the sandstone walls of the cavern. "Are you lost?" a voice asked. It echoed around … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Guided Passage
When I went to ride the elevator back downstairs, I found a pair of legs sticking out of the doors of the only working car. They had not been there when I first came up, looking clean but uncomfortable against the grimy concrete floor. Unmoving. Out of place. The elevator dinged and the doors started … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Getting Collected
A muted clanking sounded from the door. All of us in the room tensed, thinking the water pressure outside had at last overpowered the sealed door's capacity to keep it out. But then the clanking came again, rhythmic, like knocking. "They're here," I said. "Get ready." The group moved around behind me. I took several … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – Emergency Dive
Though the warped radio station door stuck to the jamb when I pulled it open, just inside, unseen machinery hummed productively. Unseen, because thin smoke drifted along the floor, curling around my shoes. I reopened the door, letting the strong breeze outside push it wide. A distorted voice, as if piped through a ham radio, … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – The Lonely Operator
In a wide-open field of long summer grass stood a lonesome table, covered in gray cloth and bearing a shallow wicker basket. A single shady tree overhung the table, inviting in the over-bright afternoon sunlight. Sweat beaded on the back of my neck and grass crunched beneath my feet as I approached. Behind me lay … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – A Summer Offering
They arrived as the full moon crested the horizon like an enormous gold coin. Silhouetted people in ones and twos materializing beneath the spreading limbs of the Memory Tree. Their outlines wavered and shimmered beneath the hazy moonbeams, solidifying as the night grew darker. I wasn't the only person sitting beneath the boughs, so I … Continue reading The Hopeful Wanderer – The Memory Tree