"It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants.
The question is: what are we busy about?"
~~Henry David Thoreau

Hi all,

Just been massively busy so... this newsletter is actually being thrown together on the very day I'm sending it.  Fun!  Due to the rush, this newsletter is entirely Q and A.  It's like the cereal for dinner take on JABB: quick and easy and does the job!

God bless,

Ask a JABB Co-Founder
(aka ask me since I'm the only co-founder left...)

So I am going through some major Dyeland withdrawals.  Just haven't been able to figure in enough time lately to work on the next big story about Andrew being in Afghanistan.  But I also can't write any short stories because, well, Andrew's in Afghanistan which means he can't also be in Dyeland.  Therefore, I selected a couple Dyeland-related questions for this edition of "Ask a JABB Co-Founder" to try to cope.  ;-)

Question: What are the origins behind some of the nicknames Andrew and other characters have in Dyeland?

Answer: Most often they were just spur of the moment writing decisions.  I also like using them cause I think it's kinda a nice carryover from Tess' pet names on TBAA.  Many nicknames are no longer used much ("Skin Horse" for Andrew, for example) but of the ones that still are, here's the story:

"Luscious" for Adam- I'm pretty sure this started when we used to email in character on the JABB YG.  At one point JenniAnn said Adam looked luscious (I think he was wearing a beige sweater and jeans so... duh!) and it stuck.  I haven't used it in a while given they haven't had a whole lot of scenes together and when they have the scenes have been too serious to throw that in.

"Laja" and "Psyche" for JenniAnn- "Laja" is used only and extensively by Andrew and is simply how he pronounces the initials LJA.  Ya know things are rocky when he calls her JenniAnn!  Psyche isn't so much a nickname as an alternate name.  When Vincent and Catherine first found her as a child, she didn't tell them her name so Vincent dubbed her "Psyche" after the mythological character.  More on that below...

"Andrewkins," "Amish Boy," and "dearest and loveliest" for Andrew- I think all three of these started with the Dyeland emails.  "Andrewkins" comes courtesy of Yvette's Yva.  "Amish Boy" comes from Nicole's Rose and has a bit of a backstory.  Several years back, Andrew was on assignment.  He'd been gone for a while and had still not returned for JenniAnn's birthday (July 24).  It would have been the first birthday of hers he'd missed since they re-met.  Turns out Andrew was on an assignment among the Amish and didn't get to leave until very nearly midnight on July 25th Dyeland time.  LJA took to email to commiserate with her friends as midnight drew near.  In the remaining moments of the 24th, she reported that there was a strange man all in black at her door.  And he had a beard.  And she didn't recognize him.  Nonetheless, she answered the door.  It was Andrew!  And in his mad dash to beat the clock, he hadn't changed so was still in full Amish garb.  He ended up keeping the beard for a while and when Rose heard about it all (and no doubt saw a photo with him still wearing the Amish clothing), she took to calling him "Amish Boy" cause he was so darn cute like that.  It's stuck even though Andrew has not been living among the Amish since.  "Dearest and loveliest Andrew" is how LJA often opens her letters to Andrew.  It's a reference to a Mr. Darcy line from Pride and Prejudice although I can't right now recall if it's in the book or solely in the Colin Firth version.

Question: Why are all the cultural references so important to you and pop up so often?

Answer: Honestly, I think it's part of the TV show Beauty and the Beast's legacy with me.  I just always felt so smart whenever they'd reference a great novel and I could be like "I know what you're talking about!!!"  I felt the same way whenever TBAA would make a reference to Henry V or John Donne.  So I'm hoping maybe, on occasion, I can give people that same confidence boost.  Also, I'm not one of those people who gets snobbish if I find out someone's never read Dickens or Shakespeare but I do think it makes one's experience of life so much richer to just have some basic knowledge about the Classics.  So if I can get someone to go read just one Christina Rossetti poem... fantastic!

And then there's the actual tale of Beauty and the Beast...  It's my favorite story and I don't think I could write anything without it seeping in.  So other than the Great Story (God's), it's probably the one most represented in the Dyeland stories.  For starters, Vincent and Catherine are actually characters in Dyeland and, as with the TV show, no one in Dyeland ever insinuates that they are the Beast and Beauty but we all get that there's a connection.  Vincent named JenniAnn "Psyche" because she was drawn to a storybook version of the myth of "Cupid and Psyche" which many view as the oldest version of the "tale as old as time."  The musical version of Disney's film also provided a nifty element with Belle's song "Home" which got some play in the story "In the House of the Lord" which was itself a story about finding home... whether it be a house, Heaven, or in the love shared between friends and family.  Whew!

And... it's not entirely improbable that Beauty and the Beast and the Great Story track together in Dyeland.  I believe in a theory posited by C.S. Lewis that God put bits of Himself and His plan in the myths of our ancestors.  If you think about it, Beauty and the Beast is a story of incarnation.  Belle (in an act of sacrifice) leaves her home and dwells with the Beast.  Because of her love for him, he reclaims his original, glorified state.  It's this element that I think is most important to the Dyeland plot.  Andrew serves a function very much like Beauty in that he leaves his Home to dwell among the humans and reminds them of their true identity as God's children then, in time, delivers them Home to exist eternally and perfectly.  On the flip side, Andrew also recognizes that his friends, time and again, have cast aside the easy and comfortable life to be with him during his times of tribulation and self-doubt.  So that's why, in "Tale as Old as Time," Andrew and JenniAnn can't come to any agreement about whether he's the Beast and the humans are Beauty or vice versa.  The
beauty (pardon the pun) of those relationships is that they're both at different times as needed.  I think, with time, it will begin to dawn on them that there's a very good reason remnants of this tale keeps popping up in their lives.

I could say more about this but I think I've gone on long enough and, anyway, if I continue I run the distinct risk of posting a spoiler about the color-changing rose God left in Andrew's house.  Yes, it does mean something.  ;-) 

Now to Dyeland's resident advice columnist...

Dear Annie Dru

Dear Annie Dru,

I have a bit of a dilemma.  Ya see, I have this friend... and I do literally mean a friend... who is going out with this guy.  He's the lead singer in a heavy metal band.  Not a famous one or anything.  Garage band sorta thing.  She really likes him and he seems like a nice sort.  She's asked me to go to one of his concerts and I feel like I should to show support.  But I'm intimidated by the crowd.  It's not really my scene.  I mentioned this to an AOD friend and he offered to go with me.  I'd love that but I'm not sure it'd be fair to him to expose him to a bunch of angry ranting music.  I've listened to one of the band's CDs and some of the lyrics are definitely not very angelic!  Should I go alone?  Should I take my AOD friend even if it might upset him?  Please let me know what you think.

Thank you,
Rock n Roll Bestie

Dear Bestie,

It is important to support our friends.  Unless there is something morally repugnant about the music (i.e. it promotes violence and/or bigotry) or the locale is truly unsafe, I think you should go to the concert.  And, yes, I think you should bring your AOD friend.  I know we always want to take care of them but not a one is a shrinking violet.  I truly doubt they'll hear anything at that concert that they haven't heard a million times before from angry, jaded assignments.  We all know they've had plenty of those!  And who knows?  Maybe there's someone there who needs to have a brush with an angel.  If nothing else it might afford you both the opportunity to purchase concert T-shirts and I know I'd love to see Tess' expression upon glimpsing one of her angel boys running around with a skull and crossbones or whatever the kids are wearing these days!

Rocking Out,

Annie Dru

Dear Annie Dru,

So I know this angel who is on assignment as a lawyer.  Would it be totally classless to get free legal advice and help from him?  I know I could wait until after the assignment is over but what if it's a "need to know basis" thing and once he's done with the assignment he'll lose all knowledge of the law? 

Needs Advice... Twice

Dear Needs Advice,

Any idea if any of th
e angels are going to have dermatology-related assignments soon?  Because I have this mole on my back...

Your answer is yes, it would be off-base for you to use your friendship with an angel to get free legal services.  Even if this friend wasn't an angel, it would be wrong to assume any friend will give you something for free that they usually charge for.  We all lead busy lives, angels included, and when we get time away from work the last thing we want to do is the same work we just finished. 

If, however, your real intention is merely to swing by the angel's temporary office and admire him in full lawyerly suit and tie... you have my permission to ask them some goofy legal question so long as you don't interfere with their assignment.

Annie Dru

Follow up: Letter writer has reported that she was, indeed, only seeking legal advice in order to have a little face time with one of our beloved AODs.  I've been asked to report that Adam looks fantastic in a gray pinstripe suit with lavender tie and that, yes, it is illegal to go whale fishing in the state of Nebraska... and also impossible.


I'm dedicating this newsletter to John's part in helping me find the beauty in autumn again.  Fall used to be my favorite season.  The colors!  The smells!  The increasing darkness!  (Yeah, I know that makes me sound like a Batman villain.  But I'm not.  I love the Light but when we're talking literal day versus night... I do prefer the quiet beauty of the night.)  However, for a while there I associated the autumn with some sad things so, in effect, lost my favorite season.  But for a few years there having TBAA return every September gave me a bit of brightness during that difficult season.  The prospect of seeing John as Andrew took some of the sting out of autumn.  You'd think that now, without John playing a part in the return of the TV season, I might go back to my sad autumns.  But I've not because now those colors, smells, and the increasing darkness remind me of those giddy September evenings when John would appear on screen and all would be well.  In spite of all that has happened, I still find happiness there.  Have a blessed autumn!


JABB 365

(Photo Credits: The photographs used on this page are from "Touched by an Angel" and owned by CBS Productions, Caroline Productions, and Moon Water Productions.  They are not being used to seek profit.)