CRAFT: Don’t fear the passive voice and all the nuances

For years I’ve been answering critics who proclaim that the passive voice should never be used [HA–whoop–there it is] by saying that everything in the language evolved for a reason. If the doer/actor of a sentence is not important, it’s idiomatic in English to phrase a sentence so that the emphasis falls on the correct thing. “Report cards were passed out, and Robert followed suit. Debbie and Egan just barely managed to catch him so he didn’t wham his head on the side of the desk.” See how the actor of the passing-out-cards is basically not important (teacher is assumed, or it could be a classroom helper, or whatever–it’s not significant), but Robert is, as the focus of the action? The second sentence can be in active voice because we know who caught Robert, and we might want to continue talking about them and their adventures.

BUT ANYWAY, here‘s someone with some authority/credentials who makes a case for not fearing “passive” accusations. (We only wish they weren’t passive-aggressive accusations!)

In other news, Mama had her post-transfusion/hospital visit follow-up today, and they think she’s doing much better. Her energy has been up quite a bit. I made her walk into Target and all over the jewelry and fresh foods sections yesterday, and she did just fine. The problem of FEAR (fearing that she’d get out of breath or fall) is starting to be conquered. I mean, she is beginning to conquer the fears that she had about walking in other places. (See, THAT one was better as active voice, sort of. I think.)

As usual, we brought the doctor’s kiddos gifts. I had run across a Beanie Baby Scooby-Doo in Halloween dress a few days ago, and had to snatch it up for their Scooby fan daughter. That meant I had to choose Beanies for the other three. (Four kids! Eleven to four! I am exhausted just thinking about the go-to-bed pandemonium in that household.) I added a couple of decorated pencils and erasers and a plastic basket for each. His wife (who used to be his nurse, but who now just helps run everything in the office) and he were thrilled. Or at least they pretended they were. We’ve been gifting the kids on every holiday, just for fun. Because I couldn’t have any children and my kinfolks choose to remain child-free, we find it fun to be the Secret Admirers. Not too many people get a Halloween/Samhain basket!

The weather has turned fully fall-like. It was 48F this morning at 7:15 when His Dogness and I went out in the front courtyard so he could do his morning bladdervoiding. Of course he loved the cool and wanted to stay outside. He’s clad for winter year-round. Mean mother made him come inside so she could put on something with sleeves.

A new scientific discovery


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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