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June 6, 2011

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I like where we live. Six entrances
to four buildings converge around
a single winding path which acts
as a kind of communal courtyard.
Sitting in the shade on this sunny
afternoon Sarah and I sip homebrew
on our steps, Tom and Colleen
grill on their porch, Kenny and
Anna-Stina walk stuff from their
apartment next door to the place
they just bought two houses
down, Lisa sheds her office
garb, and Carol relates some
of the frustration of being a
first grade teacher: Her six-
and seven-year-old students
must pass an all-day Writing
Assessment Test where they
have to meet rigid formal
requirements as well as "show
voice." "Show voice? Some authors
spend their whole lives trying to find
a voice," I say. Lip service is given to
creativity but the pressure is on from a very
young age to conform, meet norms, and strive to be the
brightest, shiniest, sharpest-toothed cog in the machine.