“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.
You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
~~Lucille Ball

Hi all,

So I actually started something else for the newsletter on Friday.  However, my computer has decided to be very moody this weekend so I opted to save that for another time when I could work on it with fewer tech hiccups.  So... here's the old standby: tropes.

Because my neck of the woods is seemingly stuck in perpetual winter, I've been less willing to let Valentine's Day go.  So this is a bit of a carry-over.

God bless,

Love and Affection Tropes in Dyeland Stories

(Links to all stories can be found here: http://www.miscjabb.onthisside.net/storyindex.html)

Together in Death- While the assumption is all the characters will end up with their loved ones in the next life, there are a couple stand-outs.  Cora's and Lor's marriage was cut short when the latter was killed protecting his birth mother and brother.  "Origins" ends with Cora reuniting with Lor in Heaven.  Chava/Esther and David were separated when he was killed in a concentration camp.  They, too, reunited in Heaven.  While it's not been covered, one imagines that Maryam had quite the reunion with Yosef and Yeshua following her death. 

You Are Worth Hell- To varying degrees, I'd say this applies to Joshua, the angels, and the spirits.  Joshua set aside his divinity to become mortal.  Beyond all your "normal" experiences of human suffering, he died a brutal, hellish death... all to save humanity and show us that we're loved.  The angels and spirits could, presumably, choose to spend what time they do with the Friends in Heaven instead.  And while the Friends are loads of fun, being with them also means confronting trauma, abuse, disease, exploitation, racism, homophobia, etc., all of which are absent from Heaven.  In the cases of those angels who take on human forms, they will experience aging and, potentially, diseases and disorders all in the name of raising their children, remaining with their anam cara, etc.  And then there's Marco and Sarah who, successfully and unsuccessfully, chose vampirism in order to not leave their beloved alone on Earth in such a state.  

Amicable Exes- JenniAnn and Eliot.  Considering they were one step away from being engaged when JenniAnn broke things off, Eliot has at least some reason to be a little bitter.  But I think he's smart enough to know he dodged a bullet.  It likely helps that he found love with Brittony and, without her, wouldn't have adopted Galen Jr. or become a father to twins, Edison and Eleanor.  The two exes are on such good terms that Eliot didn't hesitate to come when JenniAnn called him after Andrew busted his headboard during a post-Afghanistan nightmare.  That suggests to me that Eliot's pretty cool with Andrew, too. 

Romantic Two-Girl Friendship- I feel like Ivy and Violeta have elements of this.  Or, at least, they seem to be a lot closer and more intertwined in each other's lives than I've ever been with my best girl friends.  Part of this is probably because Ivy was bullied and didn't really have a close friend prior to Violeta.  And Violeta is quite child-like and dependent on those around her.  So they would, naturally, be clingier than a lot of girls their age.  Thankfully, Sy understands this and has no problem with including Violeta when he and Ivy go out... as is appropriate.  Now that he's in the same college as they are, he probably spends a lot of time just smiling and shaking his head when they go off into their own little world.  In a gender-bent example, I suspect JenniAnn and Owen had aspects of this before they both paired off with Andrew and Graham, respectively. 

Informed Attractiveness- To listen only to Violeta, Joshua is the most handsome man to ever live.  Joshua and several characters, including many who absolutely love him, will disagree.  That being said, handsomeness and attractiveness are not exactly the same thing.  If we take attractiveness to mean "ability to attract people to one's self," then there sure are an awful lot of people trying to get closer to Joshua. 

Moe- Currently, Violeta reigns supreme as this.  Physically, she's a cute, petite, young woman (Raven Hair, Ivory Skin to be exact) with a bubbly personality.  But those who know her realize that she's only been on Earth for eight years.  So, in many ways, she's a little girl.  While it's only alluded to a time or two, it's my head-canon that there's a conspiracy among the Friends to shield her from a lot of stuff.  You see it when Fr. Mike calls with bad news and specifically mentions that someone needs to sit with Violeta.  The simple fact that Joshua sent her to Andrew and JenniAnn for her first assignments is telling.  We know of no other angel who was basically given parental figures.  JenniAnn left Joshua's island to return to Earth to protect Violeta from demons.  So, yeah, there's a lot of energy going into protecting Violeta and allowing her to maintain her innocent, sunny disposition. 

To a lesser extent, older Belle is pretty Moe.  While she has more of an independent streak than Violeta, even well into her twenties she enjoys being babied by her parents.  She even quips that when her younger brother, Avi, beats her to the altar, it means she can be the baby again.  Liam is exceptionally careful with her even when it goes against his own interest. 

Now or Never Kiss- The first time Andrew and JenniAnn kiss on the lips comes right before he enters Sheol to confront Nen and Tzila.  This came after years of Anywhere but Their Lips and was partly owing to JenniAnn discovering that Maryam and Yosef still kiss on the lips.  And clearly they can't be doing anything wrong!

Platonic Kissing
- Several of the characters kiss Joshua, usually on the cheeks.  It's possible someone's gone for a hand, hair, or brow.  I don't recall.  And he reciprocates.  Mostly they do it because he's their dad/brother but I suspect on an unconscious level, they're trying to counter Yehuda's kiss.  Most of the time, no one thinks anything about this.  However, Arthur panicked when he saw JenniAnn kiss Joshua on the cheek because he thought maybe something was going on behind Andrew's back.  Thankfully, soon after he learned that Joshua was a member of the Trinity so those worries were put to rest.

Beautiful Slave Girl
- Undoubtedly, Behnam's dastardly uncle had something like this in mind when he abducted Isra and forced her to marry Behnam.  Thankfully, this trope runs counter to everything Behnam believes and the code he chose to live by.  He definitely found Isra beautiful but lived chastely with her until she made the first move.  They're now happily married with three children.  And the uncle is dead... because karma.  More horrifically, this applies to Salma, Zelda, and all those who were freed during the events of "Chrysalis."

The Lost Lenore- Sarah was this to Josef and Jaz was to Peter.  Thankfully, with help from their departed loved ones, both men were able to rebuild their lives.  Josef is now married to Amber-Marie and raising Daisy with her.  Peter married Emma with whom he runs St. Genesius' and they have a little boy named Sawyer.  To some extent, Zelda was this to Logan.  They had a budding online romance until she disappeared.  Thankfully, they were able to resume their romance once she was rescued from a trafficking ring.  They're now married.

Best Friends-in-Law- Happens A LOT among the Friends.  But it even pre-dates them.  Yosef's and Maryam's parents were good friends and then became in-laws when the couple married.  Rose was Andrew's and JenniAnn's friend who later married their adopted son, Max, thus making them her parents-in-law.  Vincent is both JenniAnn's unrelated godfather and her cousin-in-law since he and Catherine got married after he was named her godfather.  Vincent and Catherine will eventually become in-laws to Josef and Amber-Marie once Daisy and Jacob grow up and get married.  Arthur and Monica and Andrew and JenniAnn will, too, when Liam and Belle marry.  And I'm sure I'm missing some and/or other ones have yet to be determined.

Marriage to a God- I think it's fair to characterize Salma's decision to become a nun as this.  After several years of abuse, I think Joshua was the only man that Salma could fully trust.  But even as her self-esteem and self-worth has rebounded, I believe she genuinely loves Joshua in a way that would make any other man potentially feel neglected. 

Wedding Ring Defense- JenniAnn occasionally switched her Claddagh to the married position to avoid being hit on by creepers.  Nowadays, she permanently wears her Claddagh that way just because it seems the most honest representation of her life with Andrew.  I would suppose Andrew might, too, especially if he was in a situation where he was likely to attract unwanted romantic attention.  Just seems like a gentler way to rebuff people than "Sorry, not interested."

Age-Gap Romance- There are thousands if not millions of years separating Andrew's and JenniAnn's birth dates.  Monica is around 6,000 years older than Arthur.  Yikes.  This was less of an issue with Arthur and Monica, probably because he was a grown man and well-established in his life when they met.  I also, frankly, just didn't feel like rehashing age-related angst when I'd already done that with Andrew and JenniAnn.  But... I can't entirely rule out the possibility that I just didn't see it as an issue at all.  When Monica was introduced to us, she didn't seem any more mature than the average woman in her thirties.  True, later flashback episodes gave her more gravitas.  But Season 1 Monica doesn't exactly scream millennia old to me.  Andrew, on the other hand, did come off as more mature to me and like someone who, at odd moments, seemed truly ancient.  So the age-gap between him and JenniAnn wasn't as easy to shrug off.  It didn't help that she was a young-looking seventeen when they met.  Still...  I think, for the most part, they avoid the seedier aspects of this trope.

For the first two years, Andrew viewed JenniAnn as a cute, little sister-type.  Any romance was purely on her side with her crushing pretty severely on him.  That began to change when she was nineteen.  While there was still very little in the way of romance, Andrew did start to see her as something of a peer.  This was likely due to them sharing some life events.  Her godmother began showing signs of Alzheimer's right around the time that Tess was diagnosed.  She began to lose her friends to marriage and babies right as Andrew was preparing to part from Monica, Tess, and Gloria.  So they bonded over that.  While Andrew simply has to be more intelligent book-wise given all he's witnessed, I would argue that JenniAnn is the more emotionally intelligent of the two.  (Though not the more empathetic...  Few people out-empathize Andrew.)  So they compliment each other and there have been plenty of times when JenniAnn has been right about something and Andrew's been wrong.  And she doesn't hesitate to speak up in those cases.  So while, in theory, their relationship would be hampered by a pretty big power differential, in practice it's not.  JenniAnn is perfectly capable of speaking up to Andrew when she feels the need without fear of repercussions or being ignored because she's a human and much younger. 

And then along came Joshua...  Compared to him, all of the characters are babies.  So he equalizes them in a way.  Plus, he has a memory of some sort of proto-Andrew and proto-JenniAnn reaching out to each other.  So it's possible that, at their cores, Andrew and JenniAnn are the same age.  Maybe everyone is...

Precocious Crush
- Young JenniAnn on Andrew.  She caught one glimpse of him when she was four, dubbed him Cupid after the god in one of her storybooks, and proceeded to crush on him for over a decade before they properly met.  Less dramatically, Belle has a crush on Liam and Daisy on Jacob.  The boys are only 3-5 years older but that's a big difference among kids. 

Abandon Shipping- Not so much something that happens within the Dyeland stories as it is something I hope I did with a couple externally shipped pairs.  Firstly, a lot of TBAA fanfic ships Andrew and Monica.  I do not get this.  For one, they usually end up married and having kids.  Or one dies tragically.  None of which can happen per TBAA's rules.  Secondly, I think they would make an *awful* couple.  Like truly awful.  I see very little in Monica's interactions with Andrew that would lead me to believe she was capable of a give-and-take relationship with him.  Plus, if she had feelings for Andrew, why would Satan have had to use Mike/Arthur to tempt her???  It makes no sense.  So, instead, Andrew and Monica get shipped with JenniAnn and Arthur, respectively.  No one gets married, no one has sex, no one conceives children, and the angels don't die.  Great.

But there's more...  The pre-existing Jesus/Mary Magdalene ship got sunk shortly after Joshua was introduced.  It turns out he had feelings for a girl named Tzipora who I completely made up.  Meanwhile, Mary was several years younger than him.  Granted, it wasn't uncommon for an older man to be married to a young girl.  But Yeshua wasn't into that.  I mean he made blocks for her to play with as a toddler... which means he was handling knives when she was still learning how to talk.  She was much more like a little sister to dote on than a potential romantic partner.  There's no indication little Mary even had so much as a crush on Yeshua.  The only person who seems to consider the pairing at all is a drunk Lazar who is very unhappy with Mary's choice in a husband and simply sees his old friend as a safe bet.  Even when Mary's marriage crumbles, there's still no indication she has any designs on Yeshua.  In the end, her true love was a Roman named Lucius.  After his death, she does end up with Yeshua... but as follower, not a romantic partner.  And her role is epic... the Apostle to the Apostles. 

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for inspiring JABB which gives me a way to channel my love of categorizing and organizing even as I wait for Spring to come so I can begin my many, many planned home improvements.

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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.)