If you haven’t read my novel, The Transition Piece, now is probably the time to stop reading. Today’s songs are potentially revealing to the plot and certainly revealing to the inner life and personality of one of the main characters. The anniversary of the release date for The Transition Piece is tomorrow, and on that note, it is on sale in ebook format for $.99 per copy this week.
Today’s love songs are complicated. They aren’t exclusively happy or sad. Their lyrics talk about uncertainty and how attachment evolves and how two people can have real, unquestioning love between them, but still be in two different places. In life. In maturity. In needs. In abilities. In desires and goals. In love. There can still be confusion about what kind of love it is and what kind of love it should be. About where people fit into each other’s lives, in the present and in the future.
When Jake Coleman first meets Deanna Berger in The Transition Piece, he’s taken by everything about her. This is surprising to her on multiple levels, perhaps the main one being that she’s always been used to being the more invested one; the more passionate one; the more vulnerable one. And with Jake, it’s role reversal. They make an unlikely and unconventional pairing, which she draws attention to, early and often, even trying to distance herself from him for weeks before finally getting to know him and letting him get to know her. But they are still undeniably drawn together. Jake starts out infatuated and I even mentioned this song in the novel because it so accurately encapsulates how he feels about Deanna from the start…The Fray’s Never Say Never.
He doesn’t want to be counted out. He doesn’t want to be passed by. He’s kind of insecure and made more insecure by her displayed self-awareness. Jake’s still learning who he is himself, and part of his attraction (maybe a large part of it) is that Deanna is established and he admires that. He wants to prove himself to her and for her to give him a chance.
And she does. And over the course of their relationship, Jake becomes more sure of himself, which Deanna loves and wants for him. But it makes her more wary of their relationship dynamic. Yes, they can do commitment. But is it always right to commit when you can? Even if it feels good…comfortable? Is a promise of long-term exclusive commitment the most loving, smart choice when it’s right in the moment, but extremely questionable and uncertain looking forward? By the end of the novel, Deanna and Jake still obviously love each other, but their attachment has evolved, and it will continue to evolve, and I picture Jake (with Deanna’s influence, of course) listening to Counting Crows’ Anna Begins.
He isn’t ready to let her go, even a little. But he knows he should, at least a little. He knows she wants him to let her go and also to never let her go, and he feels the same way. He doesn’t want to accept that her insight is likely right about a future together, but he eventually will. He loves her. He knows that she loves him too. He knows the existence of the love between them won’t change, but the manifestation of it will and likely should. Sometimes love isn’t enough to make a commitment. And like Deanna tells Jake at the end of the novel, things don’t have to be in exactly the same place to prove they’re together.
I know some readers were a bit let down by the ending of this one, but I wrote the ending the way I did because I believe there are meaningful loves in everyone’s life that didn’t end up a marriage or a grand commitment or a missed opportunity or a tragedy. They were connections that taught lessons and formed friendships and opened eyes and minds and hearts, and that’s still a big deal. A connection doesn’t have to be exclusively committed in romance and all encompassing to be permanent and positive and meaningful. Fluidity can be lasting and good and important too. Sometimes fluidity can be MORE progressive when growth needs to happen. And a romance ending; a changed love; a transforming connection doesn’t have to involve animosity. I wanted to make it a realistic ending, but I mean…I love Jake and Deanna too. So I gave them a soft landing. I maintain it’s still a Happily Ever After; just maybe a non-traditional one. And that fits Deanna and Jake.
Again, The Transition Piece is on sale in ebook format for $.99 per copy until February 11.