"Trust in dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity."
~~ Khalil Gibran

Hi all,

As my hiatus continues, here's another trope-tastic newsletter.  It started out pretty random but then veered towards sleep and dream related tropes.  I guess I've had sleep on my mind a lot since my dogs have taken to doing 3-4 AM wake-up calls... daily! 

God bless,

Dyeland Tropes: The Lazy, Tired Summer Edition

Take Me Instead- Andrew bears a pretty hefty dose of this in "Shadowlands."  After his friends and family face demonic attacks in their dreams, Andrew agrees to go to Sheol to face-off with Nen and Tzila.  This is also pretty much Joshua's entire life story.

Chronic Hero Syndrome- Andrew... again... and again.  Some of this is the natural result of being an angel.  But sometimes Andrew takes it to eleven.  He could have remained in angelic form and watched over Max in "Abide With Me" but, instead, he went for a full incarnation to bring his assignment maximum comfort.  He routinely shoved down his own preferences and emotions to make things easier for Monica while they were working together.   When JenniAnn was dating Eliot and very nearly ignoring him, he said nothing about the distress it caused him and even tried to encourage their relationship for her benefit.  In "Shadowlands," he tried to bear the brunt of the demonic attacks so as to protect his loved ones.  This apparently isn't recent behavior, either.  Near the beginning of his time in Dyeland, Andrew became so distraught over not being able to save an assignment (even though that wasn't the reason for his being on that case) that he suffered an emotional breakdown and pushed nearly everyone away.  Andrew carried a heavy emotional burden for decades over not being able to stop Nazis from murdering innocents ("Chava")... despite the fact that it took whole governments and armies years to put an end to those atrocities.  He was so upset over Yeshua's death and not being able to comfort him more that he went into a fugue state for a couple of days. 

I Can Change My Beloved- It takes a special sort of hubris to, at the ripe old age of twentysomething, think you can fix someone who is older than the Bible.  Nonetheless, young JenniAnn seemed to think she was just the person to make good, ol' Andrew let go of his reticence and perpetual selflessness and be a proper Gen Y touchy-feely yet assertive gentleman.  She wasn't all wrong.  Anybody who sat through 7.5 seasons of watching Andrew get the occasional-to-frequent emotional shove-off from Monica and Tess would know something was amiss with this guy.  But JenniAnn's allegiance to modern psychological trends like talk-therapy was not helpful.  It took several years for JenniAnn to realize that sometimes Andrew doesn't talk about his feelings for a very good reason.  It can be painful enough to relive trauma without also then having to deal with the second-hand trauma of your listener and, worse yet, feel responsible for inducing that trauma.  Thankfully, they eventually reached a point where Andrew realized he has to talk some to let JenniAnn feel helpful and supportive but that she also has to sometimes just sit with his silence and be comforting without prodding.

Unequal Pairing
- I think a fear of this trope is at least partly why Andrew and JenniAnn were so dysfunctional for so long.  Actually, I don't think it was fear of this trope in itself so much as fear that other people would think they were this.  Even during "the rocky years," the two could generally handle themselves fairly well when they were alone.  Things just went to pieces when any aspect of their relationship was made public (namely to members of JenniAnn's family).  For the record, I totally understand why JenniAnn's parents and Vincent were alarmed.  One could easily assume that JenniAnn could have been goaded into anything because she'd assume Andrew, being a near-perfect angel, would always be right.  How could they be sure that if she changed her mind and decided that she wanted the whole marriage, kids, picket fence dream that Andrew would just calmly step aside?  There are angels doing some pretty drastic things in the Bible, after all.  However, when everyone took a step back and looked at them individually, they realized a power imbalance was nearly non-existent.  If anything, I think JenniAnn sometimes misuses her "station" on occasion.  Over the years, she's said the occasional cruel thing to Andrew, likely knowing that, of course, he will forgive her because he's an angel and compassion is his job and coded into his very being.  I don't think Andrew has ever actually set out to antagonize JenniAnn.  Ultimately, Joshua serves as a sort of equalizer since, per this excerpt from "The King," Andrew and JenniAnn are essentially peers in his mind:

He remembered what they could not.  He saw again the vast galaxy of spirits yet to be born.  He had known each by name even though they were nameless to themselves and to each other.  Joshua's mind focused on the memory of two spirits in particular.  He recalled the one reaching out to the other.  Knowing little else, they had a sense of him and his love for them and they had felt the warmth and the potential of the other.  They had clung to each other until he had called one forth into existence.

"Find each other again," Joshua whispered, echoing his own words from so long ago.  Silent tears streamed down his cheeks as he thought of the trials coming their way in the years ahead.  But he knew they would triumph and, in time, when JenniAnn was called forth into eternal life with him, they would know the full truth.  In the womb of his mind and heart, they had first found each other.

Adventures in Comaland
- All of the scenes with JenniAnn on Joshua's island in "Shadowlands" are a variation on this, specifically the divine intervention version.  They weren't really dreams, though, since they literally happened.  JenniAnn's choices there did determine whether she lived or died.  At least the final "dream sequence" with Andrew and JenniAnn in "Abide with Me" could have been this, too.  At least for Andrew.  JenniAnn was simply sleeping but Andrew had suffered a head trauma and, thus, could have been in a coma-like state. 

Asleep for Days- Following Joshua's crucifixion, Andrew slept from around 3 PM on that Friday to some point Sunday morning.  So not for a terribly long time but certainly longer than a person normally sleeps. 

Bedtime Brainwashing
- Nen and Tzila subjected most of the Friends to this in "Shadowlands."  I actually took the idea from what Kathleen did to the fellow in "Lost and Found."  In both cases, the demons used existing fears and unfortunate events to give their "assignments" horrific nightmares in which terrible things happened to their loved ones.  Unfortunately, in some cases, there were also ripple effect nightmares that Nen and Tzila didn't really create but that some characters, Andrew especially, dreamed up themselves.

Fright-Induced Bunkmate- Understandably, this happens sometimes with the little Friends.  In "A Stor Mo Chroi," Liam seeks Monica out after he has a nightmare featuring his mother's abusive boyfriend and her death.  Even worse, a younger Liam had a nightmare and sought out his mother.  He ended up walking in on her and the abusive boyfriend leading the latter to beat Liam.  In "Chrysalis," poor Liam is troubled by a nightmare again but Belle actually seeks him out and snuggles up with him to comfort him.  In "Believe," Belle herself has a residual nightmare from Nen's and Tzila's attack and toddles off to Joshua's room.  He had been having a nightmare of his own so was only too happy to rock the little girl to sleep and soon follow himself.  It's not only for kids.  In "The Carpenter," Emma and Peter sleep together (platonically) after she has a nightmare about her prior abuse.

The Sleepless- To some extent, the angels on TBAA seemed to be this.  Only very occasional reference was made to them sleeping.  In Dyeland mode, I did a bit of fuzzy math to determine what their sleep needs would be.  I decided that when in truly angelic form, they never need to sleep.  When in human form, their need for sleep is determined by stress and activity level.  So, for example, Andrew in "Children of the Night" likely needed more sleep than Andrew in "Made in the U.S.A."  Being homeless is a lot more taxing than, well, doing someone else's taxes.  In the Dyeland stories, the angels who have integrated into human families likely have sleep needs on par with humans.  So if Andrew spent half a day in human form with an assignment then came back to Dyeland and worked the other half of the day in his carpentry shop, by 9 or 10 PM he'd be ready to crash!

Slumber Party- It's NOT just for girls!  The Friends tend to do this a lot, particularly around Christmas.  When Joshua and his family come to town, the Friends like to be near them so those without homes in Dyeland or easy access to a portal usually stay at Willowveil.  Movies and late-night snacks usually abound.  A more sober version occurred in "The Carpenter" when Andrew, JenniAnn, Max, Violeta, Ivy, Kemara and Belle all stayed in Cora's living room with Joshua on Holy Thursday in a show of solidarity.

All Just a Dream- In "Roses and Thorns," Andrew has a dream in which all of his friends are rendered as fame-hungry soap opera stars and crew.  Thankfully, he realizes it was all just a dream caused by an accidental injury on the real-life set of a soap opera.  "Measuring a Life" is a particularly brutal version in which Vincent dreams of a life in which he looks like a normal man.  It turns into an all-out nightmare when, among other tragedies, Catherine and JenniAnn/Psyche are both killed.  He was quite happy to get back to his real life after that.

Dream Spying- JenniAnn was able to do this in "Origins."  In her dream, she saw Andrew with his assignment, an elderly woman named Cora who was broken up about an baby she supposedly abandoned.  Through the "spying," JenniAnn was able to surmise that Cora was Vincent's mother and a reunion ensued. 

Dream Walker- Andrew and JenniAnn were both able to do this in "Abide with Me" as a means of God keeping his "three-week promise."  Basically, they were able to enter each other's dreams and communicate while Andrew was otherwise incommunicado in a cave in Afghanistan.

Fantasy Keepsake- JenniAnn is able to bring one back for Catherine and Vincent after she awakes from her coma in "Shadowlands."  On Joshua's island, JenniAnn was able to meet her cousin, Jamey, who Catherine and Vincent lost to a miscarriage.  He lent her a handkerchief which she found under her hospital pillow and later gave to the couple.

Psychic Dreams for Everyone- There have been a few Dyeland characters who, despite having few or no psychic abilities, will dream up something that seems eerily tied to real life.  Andrew and JenniAnn have both had pregnancy dreams before adopting a child.  Cora dreamed about Lor's untimely death shortly before he was killed saving her in "Origins."  Andrew had a nightmare about JenniAnn in distress and bleeding out sometime before she was shot. 

And that's all for now!

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for the whole orange juice and ginger ale part of "The Sign of the Dove."  I've lost count of how many different beverages I've mixed with orange juice and ginger ale during the summer heat wave!

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(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.)