baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse
me with split pea soup.
October, tuck tiny candy bars in my pockets and
carve my smile into a thousand pumpkins.
O autumn! O teakettle! O grace!” --Rainbow Rowell,
Happy Halloween! A bit early but next week is an
off-week for us.
I know I probably sound like a broken record but I'm still
not finished with my trafficking story. However, I'm
taking some time off work coming up so I hope to get that
finished very soon. Thus, as much as I would have
liked to have written a Halloween story, instead I've
compiled a list of Halloween-themed tropes that appear in
Dyeland stories and came up with some character
costumes. Unfortunately, I have a cold that got way
out of hand so I'm sending this as is but hope to add more
costumes over the coming week. Until then...
Halloween and Other Spooky
Tropes in Dyeland Stories
Below are some tropes that appear in our Dyeland
tales. They may be spooky or simply supernatural.
Episode- Naturally. Andrew may not love
Halloween but I do so Dyeland has several Halloween-set
stories. A couple of my favorites are "Mysterious
Ways" and "Safe."
Beyond the fun of putting characters in costumes, they
became a good way to show Andrew's growth. He's gone
from scowling into a candy bowl to actually enjoying
bonfires and seeing his family and friends dressed up.
Halloween, I Am Going as Myself- Joshua can do
whatever he likes on Halloween (and every day) and certainly
doesn't need to dress up to go unnoticed. After all,
he spends most of his time appearing as your average
fellow. But there was the year he went as a talking
lion... Probably not something he can easily do on a
whim on, say, March 3rd.
Warlock- While he hasn't figured into stories
recently, Cliff is this. He can do magic, particularly
portal-making, but otherwise lives a pretty mundane
life. If you ran into him on the street, you'd merely
see a somewhat bumbling older gentleman. While Joshua
is definitely NOT a warlock, he usually appears to be
blue-collar and unless one knew who he was, they would never
guess he controls the spin of the cosmos and, well,
World- Andrew winds up in a dark version of Willowveil
Castle during his stay in Sheol. Joshua's portrait is
defaced, cobwebs are everywhere, and Nen is in JenniAnn's
bed. ::shivers:: The other situations Andrew
finds himself in (i.e. the one in which he accidentally
kills JenniAnn) would be examples of Psychological
Torment Zone. To a lesser extent, Nen and Tzila
inflicted that sort of torture on Violeta when JenniAnn was
Dead Can Dance- Dancing is important to a lot of the
Dyeland characters so why should it change after
death? Sophia makes occasional returns to cut a rug
with Eli and you better believe Chava and David are swing
dancing in the Great Beyond.
Horror- This happens to me a lot when I go back and
reread something, particularly something I wrote years
before. Something that seems pretty tame at the time I
wrote it, may later seem really horrible. For example,
in the early Dyeland stories I didn't think a whole lot
about the impact of what Andrew sees during his AOD stints
when it comes to his Dyeland friendships. Think of all
the times Andrew probably had to deal with date rape or
campus violence and then ponder how a casual reference by
one of the girls to going out with some guy they barely know
or some edgy jerk in class might play in his head.
Neighborhood Vampire- Is the character a
vampire? If yes, then they are this... albeit of
varying degrees. Josef can be a bit rough around the
edges but would do anything for the Dyelanders and others of
his friends. Mick's done some things he's ashamed of
but nowadays you're more likely to find him at Bible study
than sulking around blood banks. Finally, there's
Logan. Logan is adorable and sweet and the most harm
he's likely to cause is making the Internet run slow because
some game he's playing uses a lot of bandwidth. And
then there's this...
Anonymous- While they don't have anything as formal as
AA meetings, the vampires and the AODs are often seen
counseling each other in the Dyeland stories. From
war-related trauma to angst over relationships with mortals,
the two groups help each other to make the most of their
time with their loved ones. From an author's
perspective, making a mental tie between vampires and AODs
is hugely responsible for how the Dyeland stories
involved. It was Moonlight's one lovely season
and the drama between Mick and Beth that really encouraged
me to pursue what became the anam cara twist.
Never Sleep Again- Thankfully, the Dyelanders and
Friends avoided this fate but I'm sure it was tempting to
guzzle caffeine after the demons' nightmares struck in "Shadowlands."
Psychic- In "Be
Thou My Vision," JenniAnn has her fortune told by a
psychic at a Renaissance Faire. JenniAnn's not buying
it but when the woman, Myrna, touches Andrew she has a flash
of him looking unwell and unkempt. Not long after, the
events of "House
of the Lord" unfold... Myrna also happens to be
related to Hope, one of Andrew's past assignments who was
condemned as a witch.
Powers- A handful of the Dyeland characters have
them. Vincent is an empath when it comes to
Catherine. He also has the occasional prophetic
dream. Andrew and JenniAnn have also had prophetic
dreams and the latter can occasionally see Andrew even when
he's in angelic form. She's also been able to travel
in her dreams to wherever he is and see what he sees.
Naturally, Joshua has loads of powers but it's not really
this since all his powers come from being God.
Romance- Without a version of this trope, the entire
anam cara idea would fall apart. While
"neither married nor given in marriage" is an oft-repeated
Bible passage in Dyeland-verse, it doesn't necessarily rule
out a version of romance. Maryam and Yosef still
interact in a romanticized fashion. The same can be
said for Sophia and Eli. Without this continuation of
affection and love beyond the grave, human/angel pairings
would be particularly fraught. For example, Andrew
would have gotten used to seeking solace by dancing with
JenniAnn, hugging her, etc. After her death, he will
still have to cope with seeing terrible things and may very
well want to deal with it in the ways he's become accustomed
to. It would be cruel for God to have taken away
JenniAnn's capacity and desire to get cozy with
Andrew. So He doesn't! Further, the relationship
between the mortal realm and the afterlife in Dyeland
stories is really just Resurrected Relationships.
Joshua still views his parents as his parents and interacts
with them as such. John still considers himself to be
Joshua's cousin. Jamey and JenniAnn never even met on
Earth but still interact as cousins.
Hell- While not as arbitrary as the description makes
it seem, Dyeland's cosmology is reminiscent of this.
This particularly comes into play when Andrew gets to Sheol
and finds himself in the very spot where Yosef waited for
Yeshua's resurrection. What Andrew and Yosef
experienced as a clean, warm carpenter's shed was viewed as
a dismal shack by the demons and shades. (Thank you,
C.S. Lewis.) Because Hell is self-inflicted, it's not
necessarily permanent. Thus, Yehuda and Eben are able
to leave once they forgive themselves for their betrayals.
Dyelanders and Friends... in Costume
Max and Rose won't be able to attend
the Halloween festivities since they're in Germany as part
of an internship for Max. However, I'm sure they'll
find time to slip into their Hogwarts robes and watch or
read some Harry Potter.
Having realized that her interests tend to dominate her
and Andrew's costumes, JenniAnn came up with the idea of
going as a Rockford Peach with Andrew as Jimmy
Dugan. Belle will dress up as a Racine Belle and
Shelby, being the good big sister she is, will be her
Kemara's family will be celebrating in a Dr. Seuss-theme
with Ian and Joy as Thing 1 and Thing 2. Sean will
be the Cat in the Hat and Kemara will be Fox in Socks.
By request, Josef will dress as a Fairy King. Trust
me. It'll make sense eventually. :-)
With Aiyla in the throes of a Disney Princess obsession,
she'll dress up as Cinderella, convince Omar to be her
Gus-Gus, talk her parents into being Snow White and the
Prince, and their new baby, Aurora, will, of course, be
her namesake, Sleeping Beauty.
This newsletter is dedicated to John
Dye for inspiring so many stories here and thus making
sick days not quite so bad. I enjoyed doing a little
rereading whilst waiting for my right ear and throat to
stop throbbing. Chicken soup helped, too. :-)
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.)