"It is looking at things for a long time that ripens you and gives you a deeper meaning."
~~Vincent Van Gogh

Hi all,

Happy anniversary... belatedly!  Thank you all for being a part of the John/Andrew Bucket Brigade!  Hard to believe it's been twenty two years since this all started but I'm very glad it's still here.  :-)

God bless,

A Look at JABB's Past and Present

Big thanks to Sierra who submitted the following questions!
Is there anyone besides you from the OG co-founders that write the stories still, or is it just you?

Just me.  I'm the only one of the original co-founders still subscribed to JABB.  Actually, there are probably less than five original members still on JABB.  Hi to those ladies! 

JABB was founded on July 19th, 1998 by Audrey, Barbara, Jarrod, and myself.  Not terribly long after that, Barbara disappeared.  I don't mean that in the sense of "call Unsolved Mysteries!"  She just quietly withdrew from JABB and the wider TBAA fandom and her AOL account was disabled.  To date, I still wonder about what happened to her and pray she's doing well.  It did occur to me recently that given none of us ever met Barbara or even talked to her on phone... maybe she was an angel.  Who knows?  But, Barbara, if you ever read this... thanks for being there at the beginning! 

Jarrod stuck around for a few years and I'm Facebook friends with him currently but he was offline for a long while and when he returned, he never asked about JABB so...  I just never brought it up.  If he ever did ask, I'd definitely tell him it's still going.  I think it was actually Jarrod who coined "Dyeland" as a joke... probably little knowing how seriously I'd eventually take it.  ;-)  (Actually got a message from Jarrod as I was writing this... still not about JABB ;-)

I'm also Facebook friends with Audrey who resigned shortly before she got married.  Totally understandable!  JABB was still going when she left and whether or not she knows it's still going... not sure.  She has a really full life and, again, I just never bring it up.  Maybe that's weird but 1.  It's just plain not the JABB that existed when Audrey and Jarrod were active and 2.  I don't want them to feel like they have any lingering obligation to it.  Admittedly, maybe I'd just be a little embarrassed to tell them how things played out.  I mean when they left the Andrew who appeared in Dyeland stories basically was the Andrew we all watched on TBAA.  That Andrew would NEVER be raising children with JenniAnn.  But utilizing a recursive canon Andrew was the only way I was going to be able to keep JABB going as the post-TBAA years went on. 

After that, I did have two more co-presidents.  Coincidentally, both were named Karen.  Karen I was a good friend who passed away some years ago.  Karen II ghosted. 

So...  I no longer have co-founders or co-presidents because it started to feel like hiring a drummer for Spinal Tap (high five to anyone who gets that reference).  Also, having one (or more) just doesn't make as much sense as it used to.  It was really helpful when we were doing things like "Top Ten Reasons We're Excited for TBAA's Next Season" and we could divide up writing duties.  Now with TBAA over and John Dye having passed on, JABB is much, much more Dyeland-focused and stories are a lot more difficult to divvy up.  I'm also A LOT less disciplined when it comes to writing JABB than I used to be.  So often, I'm writing newsletters on the Sunday they're due so there's not time to go to someone else and be like "Hey, do you have a top ten or something we could add to make this a little longer?"  That being said, I wouldn't turn down help as it comes!  If you ever have an idea for JABB, please let me know!

What made you think of the idea to create JABB?

To be honest... I don't recall.  Unfortunately, a full-blown interview with me about the origins of JABB would probably start to sound like the deposition of a sleazy politician...  "I don't recall...  I don't recall...  Maybe... but maybe not."  ;-)  I mean earlier this week I got the anniversary date wrong by a day and I never remember the year!  I always have to go look at the TOC or Calendar. 

What I think happened is Audrey, Barbara, Jarrod, and myself were the last in a chatroom that TBAA fans had every Sunday night after an episode... re-run or new.  On that evening, it would have been a re-run since July is summer hiatus.  There had been some playful teasing of the sometimes over-the-top Andrew/John fans.  So we decided to create a group for them while also poking fun at ourselves as Andrew/John fans.  So JABB was born.  We wrote the 12 Steps but I'm not even sure if we fully intended to go further than that or if we only started doing biweekly newsletters because people reacted so favorably to the 12 Steps. 

Anyway, whatever our original motivations, I'm very glad we created JABB.  :-)

And how did you think to start writing this world of stories?

It definitely started as a joke.  I feel like Jarrod made a crack about Audrey and me being so obsessed that we'd move to a place called Dyeland.  Which was also kinda funny since, at the time, Audrey lived not terribly far from an actual city called Deland.  The first real appearance of Dyeland as the setting for a story is this fairy tale which I absolutely will not reread because I'm sure I'd be mortified.  To the best of my recollection, the three of us wrote it with some input from Sara/Kiwi who was another early member.  And things continued in that silly, jokey vein for a few years.  If you look at the Story Index, all of the gray and yellow stories were written without any idea that they'd be part of some big picture ongoing story.  As you can see, most of those happened while TBAA was still in on the air.  The green aka canonical stories really kick in with TBAA's final season.  I think with "The Walk," I realized that these stories were a really good way to find closure with some things TBAA either left open or didn't resolve in a way that I felt good about.  "Nor Iron Bars a Cage" was the first Dyeland story of length and was written to fulfill a desire to see a TBAA episode about Andrew getting put on trial for murder that was mentioned in a spoiler magazine during TBAA's run but, as we know, never happened. 

As the years went on after TBAA ended, Dyeland was really the only way to advance the characters we'd come to love.  I suppose I could have written straight fanfic but, as I mentioned, the Dyeland stories had already started to feel so fulfilling.  Monica and Tess didn't coddle Andrew enough?  There's a JenniAnn for that.  Monica and Tess got proteges and Andrew didn't?  There's a Violeta for that.  I also liked the family feel that was in the Dyeland stories but wouldn't have been there with fanfic that took after TBAA too closely.  It was entertaining to watch an ever-changing cast of assignments on the show.  But, as a writer, I'm not particularly interested in repeatedly developing characters who will never be heard from again. 

I also think it was a blessing that I went down the road of Dyeland stories as opposed to TBAA fanfic because I feel like the former better equipped both myself and JABB to cope with John Dye's death.  Because John Dye existed as a respected actor in the Dyeland stories, I could write the characters grieving for him which helped with my own grief.  It also allowed for the introduction of Joshua as a main character which gave me a much needed respite from writing Andrew-centric stories.  In the immediate wake of Mr. Dye's passing, there was a definite tension when it came to writing for Andrew.  It really helped to have Joshua do the heavy lifting in stories until I was back on my feet.  I just don't think I would have been interested in writing Monica and Tess focused fanfic during that period.

How do you figure out how to appropriately write Joshua’s thoughts and actions. Is it difficult sometimes?

Sometimes!  And, honestly, there are still things that I sometimes wonder about whether or not I made the right decision.  For example, I sometimes rethink my decision to have Joshua and JenniAnn share a hotel room in "Remembrance."  I ended up deciding that they would because 1.  It's not like anyone else at the hotel would be like "Yikes!  Jesus is sharing a hotel room with some random woman!"  No one there, except JenniAnn, had any idea who he really was and 2.  Joshua knew she was going to have a nightmare about him and would need his support and 3.  I mean it's not like there's anything about JenniAnn that Joshua doesn't already know...  Modesty seems pretty moot in that scenario.  But I also realize someone might read that story as a stand-alone thing and find it very odd and maybe problematic.  But, in the end, I thought of all the times in the Gospels when Jesus did something that was viewed with suspect by the people of His time... but He needed to do that thing to reach people.  He needed to dine with tax collectors, comfort and defend an adulteress, heal on the Sabbath, etc.  He didn't seem to get worked up about "Oh, but people might think..."  So, as with that scenario, I reflect on what's in the Bible and go from there.

Going forward, I am going to be a lot more careful about any time Joshua speaks about the future.  I already tend to keep him pretty vague about the future but I'm pretty sure I had him promise Ivy that he'd walk her down the aisle... with me never suspecting that a pandemic would completely alter Ivy's and Sy's wedding plans.  I found what I think is a decent work-around.  But going forward I will definitely be more cognizant of the fact that life can radically change in a short amount of time.  That's probably the most difficult part.  Even when he's in a more limited form, Joshua knows A LOT.  And sometimes he knows everything.  But I certainly don't.  So it's challenging to write him as someone who knows the future when I certainly do not know the future. 

I also have to be careful about any time Joshua speaks about scientific things.  Most recently, he defended the distinction between sex and gender.  I felt pretty comfortable with that because science and sociology both speak to that.  But I wasn't going to have Joshua rattle off too much about, say, chromosomes because I feel like as soon as I do that, some study will come out to say that's not exactly right or not exactly complete.  So I just had him say that there are combinations beyond XX and XY which is very true but I did not have him list off what those variations are lest another be discovered after the fact. 

Joshua's thoughts are often easier to write than his actions just because, in the stories, he's often thinking about the other characters.  And since I write for all the other characters... Joshua can't be mistaken about them (unless I just plain forget something which I try not to do).  But that's also one reason why I have relatively strict guidelines for people who want to write Dyeland stories.  If they write something counter to what Joshua has said/thought then that's a problem. 

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for inspiring twenty two years of JABB!

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