During the past weeks the word transition was prominently echoing through my mind. The primary cause for it was that I’ve been traveling extensively lately before settling down again in one of my familiar lay backs, Grand Canary.
Soon after my arrival, the island was hit by a heavy sandstorm (locally referred to as a calima), caused by a sirocco, with wind speeds up to 165 km (100 miles) /hour, coincided by heavy bush fires and the first manifestations of the corona virus. Social life ground to a complete stand still, with authorities canceling all carnival festivities, closing all schools and advising people to remain inside.
This combination of events triggered my mind to reflect of the nature of transitions and how I can incorporate those phases, in order to formulate new meanings, which guide my actions and literary activity. My favorite method to foster such critical reflection is blogging.
The dictionary defines transition as a passage from one condition, form, stage, activity, place, etc. to another or the period of such a passage.
Life transitions are usually life changing events that cause us to re-examine our present sense of being. They can be predictable – such as children leaving the home or marriage but they can often be unpredictable – such as a move, an accident or a loss. They are periods of change that signal instability in an individual’s life structure. The life structure of a person is the sequence of events, characterized by moments of stability or permanence followed by moments of change (Levinson and Levinson, 1996). The life structure “is solidified and maintained during stable periods and then questioned and changed during transitional periods” (Merriam, 2005, p. 3).
In literature, the concept of transitional phenomena is used to describe the intermediate area of human experience between inner reality and the outside world. Transitional books are ideal for children whose reading levels have advanced beyond easy readers but who are not yet ready for full-length juvenile fiction and nonfiction. With fewer than 100 pages of text and large, easy-to-read typefaces, these books can challenge young readers without intimidating them. Transitional readers are those children who are moving on from picture books and short story books/reading books, but who are not yet ready for real novels.
Transitional phenomena are of course not limited to children’s fiction. One just has to think about the different kind of transitions that drive the actions of the protagonists in a novel. Merriam (2005) identifies four types of life transitions; the anticipated transitions, unanticipated transitions, nonevent transitions and sleeper transitions.
Anticipated Transitions: is a transition that is expected to occur in an adult’s life. Often these transitions are planned and believed to be part of the natural life cycle.
Unanticipated Transitions: this type of transition involves events that are not expected and do not follow any particular time line in an adult’s life. What is interesting about this type of transition is that it may be much more stressful than an anticipated transition but the potential for learning and personal growth may be greater than when experiencing an anticipated transition.
Nonevent Transitions: are those transitions that we expect to occur but do not.
Sleeper Transition: occurs gradually and the individual may not be aware of the progression.
Transitions in real life or in literature have a common impact, because they alter roles, relationships and routines. It is not the type of transition that is critical, but how it changes the relationships, roles and assumptions of the individual experiencing the transition. This may explain why, even when a transition is chosen, it still may have upsetting effects.
The Maharajagar reflects in this context much of the aspects of my personal life, that contains a steady flow of transitional events with little breaks in between, to allow new changes to be incorporated. The third part of this series, called The Forest, is scheduled for publication by the end of next month.