My passivity. Every story I recount is in the passive voice, W. says. – ‘You’re never the agent in your anecdotes. You’re always acted upon, never acting.’
Of course, I always tell him I tell my stories in the middle voice, which is neither active nor passive, which has neither a subject nor an object. I would never say, I shat myself, W. says. There was a soiling, I’d tell him. There’s been a faecal emergency, I’d tell him.
That’s what W.’s trying to achieve, he says. That’s what he’s been searching for, as he works each morning, before dawn. To be carried along by the propitiousness of work! To be borne along by a sacred task … No, by sacredness as a task, like a waterwheel turning in glinting water … What idea do we have of that? What of sustained and patient labour without thought of reward?