I got quite a bit of positive feedback regarding the revamped Care Package, which is heartening. I’ve been way out off my writing routine for over a year now, and it’s been a struggle to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and venture back into a craft I love dearly. Knowing that it’s well-received by others is a tremendous help.
Something that occurred to me in the middle of the night as I lay in bed, awake and thinking instead of asleep and dreaming, is that everything I’ve shared over the past two and a half years of Care Packages is back on the table, given the new approach I’m taking. I’ve shared a ton of cultural touchstones over the years that I’d love to write more about, so I probably will.
Today’s Care Package is focused on change.
On a global scale, we’ve been immersed in massive, collective changes for nearly a year and a half. Some of us have chosen to adapt and seek a better, safer approach to living. Others have opted for denying the facts of the situation and refusing to adapt. Right or wrong, both are natural responses to change.
On a personal level, my family is in the midst of big changes. The pandemic certainly brought its brand of unexpected and often unwelcome change to us, but this is different. This is the sort of change that comes with growing up and older.
My daughter leaves for college in a couple weeks, while my step-daughter has moved out of state to begin a new chapter of life with her fiancee. My oldest son still lives out west, where he’s dealing with career changes, and my youngest son, staying with us for the summer, will return to his mom in a few weeks to start his senior year of high school. And I start a new job later this month, returning to the world of education.
Change is a topic that creators often turn to for inspiration. After all, change is constant, and its impact is as difficult to see as it is obvious.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres was a visual artist who focused on minimalist installations. His work lent itself to change. Invited it, even. It challenged the notion of what makes a work of art a work of art. And it was powerful.
His piece featured here – Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) – is an installation of around 175 pounds of candy. Viewers were invited to take pieces of the work as they passed, causing the work to change constantly. The viewer observes the change created by those before them, and then the viewer becomes complicit in the change by taking candy.
How often in a day’s time does each of us do the same in our own circumstances?
The Journey, a poem by Mary Oliver, examines change that, while necessary, is painful. Change in a situation where a person needs to same themselves, even though that means possibly letting others down.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
More often than not – at least in my experience – changes thrust upon us are easier to roll with than the changes we need to make for ourselves. That’s the sort of change Oliver writes of here. But what it comes down to every time is what her poem comes down to, the only thing we’re ever really in control of. Ourselves.
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.