“…everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything.
If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.”
~~ Chaim Potok, Davita's Harp

Hi all,

Well, you know what they say...  God laughs when we make plans.  I'd planned to spend today calmly and contentedly writing the newsletter... and then one of my mom's dogs ran off.  Thank God, she was found safe.  But it was a bit of a disruption and I lost control of my day after that.  So... since I was getting pretty good traction of my current story before that happened, I'm going to get back to that.  In the meantime, here are more tropes I stockpiled for just such an occasion.

I hope you have a good week ahead!

God bless,

Completely random tropes with no unifying theme... commence!

All stories referenced can be found here: http://www.miscjabb.onthisside.net/storyindex.html

Trauma Conga Line- Look, "Shadowlands" wasn't fun for anybody.  But I'd argue that Andrew experienced the truest example of a Trauma Conga Line.  First, his anam cara is shot and no one's sure she's going to pull through.  Then it turns out the gunman is Max's birth father.  So Andrew has to deal with his own resulting emotions and Max falling apart over the fact that his birth father may have killed the only mother he's ever really had.  Also, JenniAnn's parents aren't being very nice.  Shelby is regressing.  Violeta is targeted by demons.  Belle has no idea what's going on.  And, again, Andrew is dealing with all of that and, oh yeah, JenniAnn is still in a coma.  Thank God she eventually wakes up but soon after all of the Friends, Andrew included, are sent psychotic dreams by the demons.  So then Andrew decides to go confront the demons... in Sheol.  And he also finds out that this is all happening because said demons have been angry and out of control since their horrid sex cult thing got ended by the Great Flood... which I'm sure was triggering in a number of ways for poor, ol' Andrew.  Thankfully, he triumphs over the demons and reunites with JenniAnn and their children and the Friends and Joshua is there but... I don't think any of us would blame Andrew if he doesn't still have nightmares about that period.

Birth/Death Juxtaposition- Avi is born shortly before the elder Jacob Wells (Father) dies.  Father is able to hold his great-grandson once, which sends him into a reverie about baby Vincent, before he peacefully passes away.

Be All My Sins Remembered- Mick, Josef, and Vincent... aka the characters who have actually killed people... struggle with this.  Especially with Josef, Joshua has his work cut out for him in convincing them that they're forgiven and worthy of his love.  Thankfully, Joshua succeeds in getting through to Josef (as if anyone doubted he would) in "Immortality."

The Atoner
- While he's calmed down since accepting Joshua's forgiveness, there will always be an element of this in Josef.  He blames himself for Sarah's death, for not finding and rescuing Daisy sooner, and all the sketchy behavior that comes with being a vampire.  So he'll spend the rest of his life fighting human trafficking.

Single-Target Sexuality- This is pretty much JenniAnn when it comes to Andrew.  Granted, she's asexual so Single-Target Romantic Attraction is likely more accurate.  While she had a relationship with Eliot, that was less about Eliot and more about following societal and familial expectations.  And they never even came close to consummating their relationship.  Granted, Andrew and JenniAnn have also never consummated their relationship in the usual way but... I think it's a done deal emotionally and spiritually.  In a similar vein, if you're reading Maryam's and Yosef's relationship from a traditionally Catholic perspective... that's fine.  I've written it so that people can fill in the blanks as they see fit.  But I have trouble considering their relationship unconsummated.  Maybe it is physically.  But in every other manner... no.  I don't believe any two other people existed who more completely became one.  And one that note... they seem to fit this trope, too.  Maryam, at least, is described as only having eyes for Yosef from toddlerhood on.  Yosef was more hesitant about romance and marriage in general but when he does come around, there's no indication he had any intention of pursuing anyone except Maryam.

Mixtape of Love- JenniAnn used to mix CDs for Andrew.  This seems to have stopped... having five kids kinda takes up one's time.  But they seem to have imported all those songs into iTunes or something and routinely dance to them.

Single Woman Seeks Good Man- Honestly, this just seems like common sense.  All of the female characters, except for those who are too young or do not want a romantic relationship, are seeking good guys.  No one's out there hunting for a "bad boy."  Granted, Emma had a string of "bad boy" relationships but it wasn't because she wanted a bad guy.  She'd just been so emotionally beaten down that she didn't think she could do better.  Thankfully, Peter came along.  The women in relationships can all easily list off what attracted them to their partners: Andrew's compassion for JenniAnn, Zeke's gentleness for Diana, Arthur's generosity for Monica, Kyle's Christlike empathy for Ana-Maria and so on.

Friendship as Courtship- Andrew and JenniAnn, in a manner.  Because JenniAnn had a crush on Andrew and because he had feelings for her that he largely kept to himself, a romantic streak runs through all but the first year or two of their friendship.  And then it becomes pretty difficult to tell when exactly their friendship became something more.  Once Joshua arrives on scene to formally give his blessing, they just sort of slide into domestic bliss without much fanfare.

Metaphorical Marriage- Any of the anam cara ceremonies would be this... at least at this point.  There is no actual legal contract between Andrew and JenniAnn or Arthur and Monica.  Catherine and Vincent do refer to themselves as married but, again, there's no legal element since Vincent is not a legal entity.  Isolde's and Marco's first wedding counts as this since their vows were exchanged just between the two of them with no officiant to make it, well, official.  They've since been remarried, legally, by Fr. Mike.  To some extent, Isra's and Behnam's second wedding is this.  Because they were already legally married, there was no need to sign any paperwork.  They just wanted the joyful, celebratory wedding that they'd previously missed out on.  It's worth noting that Joshua views all such arrangements as moral. 

Cooldown Hug- JenniAnn successfully attempts this when Andrew is having a nightmare about Afghanistan in "Abide With Me."  Unfortunately, it terrifies Andrew who realizes he could have seriously hurt her if he hadn't snapped out of it. 

Cuddle Bug- Belle is so much this that her parents even sometimes call her Cuddlebug.  There's an argument to be made that Joshua has elements of this... albeit better controlled than it is for Belle.  He's very physically affectionate, even touching people who his society tells him are unclean.

Tuck and Cover- In "Chava," David tucks Esther against him and covers them both with his overcoat to guard against the cold.  Later in the same story, Andrew does the same with JenniAnn.

Intimate Healing- When Andrew is so distraught after Chava finishes telling her story, JenniAnn leads him to her bed, takes off his shoes, and then gets into bed with him.  It's all very chaste but considering how prim they'd been in the past, it's kind of a big deal for them.  Big enough that I actually consider it to be their version of a consummation.  The tradition continues in "The Carpenter" when they cuddle together while Andrew tells the story of Joshua's death.  In "Broken Hallelujahs," things get a touch more risque (but still nonsexual) when JenniAnn seeks a troubled Andrew out and they spend the night in his workshop.  Elsewhere, Isra invites Behnam into her bed after he has a nightmare about his sister, Badriya.  They consummated their marriage the following night.

Deconfirmed Bachelor- Josef.  Twice.  A playboy, Josef turned a corner when he met Sarah and decided he wanted to build a life with her.  Unfortunately, after a failed attempt to turn her into a vampire, Josef returned to his old ways.  After Sarah's death, Josef's social life became a lot tamer.  However, he still never intended to marry.  And then along came Daisy and Amber-Marie...  After co-parenting Daisy and living together, Josef and Amber-Marie fell in love and are now happily married.  We know from the flash forward in "Immorality" that they remain married until Josef passes away.

Insecure Love Interest- Andrew and JenniAnn passed this one around, back and forth, ad nauseum, for waaay too long.  Andrew thought JenniAnn would be giving up too much in a relationship with him (sex [keeping in mind he didn't know she was asexual for several years], marriage, having children) and couldn't see what he could offer that would counterbalance those sacrifices.  Meanwhile, JenniAnn still sometimes feels like Andrew is far better looking than she is.  It's the rare bit of cynicism in the Dyeland stories.  Sometimes I feel like all the media messaging directed at women can't be quelled even by someone as wonderful as Andrew.  Long before them, Vincent struggled with his own poor self image and couldn't imagine Catherine wanting to share a life with him.  And long before him, Lor faced the same with Cora.

Love Martyr- There are aspects of this in early Behnam.  Unlike in the usual examples, all the ugliness exists outside of Isra.  Isra's a perfectly nice person.  However, Behnam still has to put up with an awful lot of strife.  Their arranged marriage put the kibosh on Behnam's plans to flee his evil uncle.  It left him tied to a woman who, through no fault of her own, distrusted him.  Traumatized as he was by his sister's forced marriage and resulting rape, Behnam then found himself stuck with Isra who initially thought he was the same sort of monster as Badriya's husband and Uncle.  That had to hurt.  A lot.  Even after Isra came to recognize that Behnam wasn't a threat, she still didn't love him even as he started to develop feelings for her.  At the threat of death, he taught her how to read and planned their escape after which he planned to release Isra from their marriage.  During all of this, he still had to work with his despised uncle every single day.  Thankfully... Isra came to realize what a wonderful person Behnam was and fell in love with him.  If not for that, Behnam probably would have been the most tragic male character in the stories.  Well, maybe after Yehuda.

Marriage Before Romance- While they started to develop feeling for each other before this, Isra and Behnam were married for six months before they became lovers.

Married in the Future- I really like this one! So far, we know that Liam and Belle, Daisy and Jacob, and Avi and Evie are married in the future. 

Gay Best Friend
- Unfortunately, Owen existed solely for this purpose for JenniAnn up until "The Carpenter" when he got a proper story line and then in "The King" when he got a boyfriend.  And, eventually, Owen and Graham will get a wedding... just as soon as I can get back to writing and figure out which of the four planned stories it best fits into.  Nevermind...  Figured it out.  It's happening soon.  :-)

All Gays Love Theatre- But so do virtually all straight people and all asexual people in the stories.  I do think Owen and Shane have a love for the theatre that pre-dates "The Carpenter."  But so does JenniAnn.  And Vincent.  And a slew of other characters.  Because theatre is awesome. 

She Is All Grown Up
- This sentiment befalls Liam.  Although he'd started to crush on Belle earlier, he put it behind him... until she went on a cruise with her grandparents and returned more mature and grounded.  Then Liam falls so hard that not only his parents but also Belle's brother Avi grow concerned for him.

Coordinated Clothes- Andrew likes this one.  That being said... it's coordinated clothes, not matching ones.  When he and JenniAnn are out and about, he likes to coordinate their clothes.  If she wears a blue dress, he'll try to match the shade with his tie and similar.  This is not a case of them being matchy-matchy where they both wear jeans and red and blue flannel shirts.  That's too much...

Grand Romantic Gesture
- For an angel of death, Andrew is darn good at these.  A personal favorite is when, for their anniversary, he decorated the greenhouse for JenniAnn and set up a bed... with a symbolic, hand-carved headboard... so they could sleep beneath the stars. 

I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
- Andrew keeps his feelings to himself while JenniAnn is dating Eliot for this reason.  He would rather she be happy and apart from him than with him and unhappy.  Thankfully, she's happiest with him... and Eliot's happiest with Brittony, for that matter.  Behnam felt this way about Isra.  His original plan was to get her to the United States, release her from their arranged marriage, and let her live her life however she chose, despite his having already fallen in love with her.  But, as it turned out, Isra loved him back and so once they reached the U.S., it was as man and wife with their two children.

And I think that'll do it for today!

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for just plain being so dreamy in TBAA.  :-)

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