Sunday, April 13, 2014

Stuck

Inability to write is most often just an inability to think -- and so it bothers me that I'm encountering writer's block these days.  One of the joys of the job (from a purely analytic perspective) is being handed a position and asked to write public points to explain it.  The sensation of stripping down a stance to the fundamental arguments, pressing on it until it unfolds neatly, like a puzzle box, is very satisfying.  Lately, however, I find myself circling and circling positions, looking for an entrée that would allow me to explain them.

I left home for university when I was seventeen.  The day before, my youngest sister and I sat together at the kitchen table where she was cutting up newspaper to make a collage.  She was ten.

"You're leaving," she said, not looking up from the scissors working steadily up and down in her grip.  "Yes."  It was a rare moment of quiet in the house.  The pages of newspaper rustled gently under the fan.  "Are you coming back?"  I considered this for a bit.  "No," I finally told her -- "only to visit."  She nodded thoughtfully.

"Well, just don't lose this."  And she handed me a scrap of newspaper from the pile.  She had cut precisely around a single word:  'integrity'.

I still have the slip of newspaper.  Sitting at my desk, considering what to draft, I still think about that day in the kitchen and the promise I made her.  "Don't worry," I assured her, fingering the scrap for a moment before sliding it into my pocket.  "I won't."

7 comments:

Geraldine Kiser said...

You both totally amaze me all the time! So proud of all you girls!!

Kadyn said...

I stumbled across your blog a year or so ago. You are such a witty and fantastic writer. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

Katie said...

Kadyn, you're quite welcome. I hope things are going well for you!

diana smith said...

Did you graduate high school a year early ?

Katie said...

No, I started kindergarten a little early. It's been mostly downhill since then.

diana smith said...

Wow you reply quickly. I just found your blog a couple days ago ,and I'm a college freshman wanting to be an FSO. How old were you the first time you took the test? I'm just curious because the diplomat in residence that I talked to said that the average age is like 32 but I want to start when I graduate college which will be around 20 since I graduated high school a year early.

Katie said...

I joined the FS at age 26; the median age of my class was 31. Personally, I think those who join later rather than just after (grad) school often have a leg up career-wise by virtue of having more experience to draw from, but there are definitely many highly talented and capable younger FSOs. You can apply at age 20, but must turn 21 before entering, if I'm not mistaken.