“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a
mystery, today is a gift of God,
which is why we call it the present.” ~~Bill Keane
As I've mentioned before, I'm doing a massive clean-up around
my house thanks to wild mice getting in. While doing
that, I found a series of notebooks that my cousins and I used
to keep. Every time we got together, we'd fill in what
our favorite X was at the time. So like favorite TV
show, favorite food, etc. It was fun to see what changed
from year to year. Anyway, I thought I'd do something
like that with the Dyeland stories.
However, one of my pet mice (Gussie) is doing poorly and while
nursing her is quite easy physically (not like it takes much
effort to move a mouse), it's been emotionally tiring.
So I've decided to break this into three short parts with the
conclusion corresponding with JABB 600. It seemed
appropriate to be a bit retrospective as we near that
milestone and it'll make things easier for me in the event I
have to nurse poor little Gussie for a while and/or spend time
acclimating her friend, Jackie, to life without her.
Well, I'm obviously very partial to the scene in "The Carpenter"
when JenniAnn finds out who Joshua is. I love the song
"What Wondrous Love" which scores that scene. And JenniAnn
is, of course, very dear to me as my fictional namesake. I
also really loved that she and Joshua were actually testing the
Crucifixion make-up when it happened. I think it gave the
scene a sort of ahistorical feel. Like it happened outside
of time, in a manner.
But I also really love the non-revelation with Shane in the same
story. Or maybe it's a sort of reverse-revelation.
Just the idea that Shane totally knew who Joshua was but kept
quiet because he thought that's what Joshua wanted... and then
it's Joshua (thanks to his "live-feed" being down as part of his
incarnation) who actually gets the surprise. Even though
he's not in the stories as much as I'd like, Shane is one of my
favorites and I hope that I'll be able to write more about him
Favorite musical moment:
I just mentioned the "What Wondrous Love" scene which is
definitely up there. But I think my very favorite might be
Andrew and JenniAnn dancing to "Dark Waltz" in
"Shadowlands." It's just so visceral for me. I can
almost feel the night breeze and the shivers from both that and
genuine fear when I read it. I think that's because it's a
scene that popped into my head fully formed. I had to
puzzle out the motivation for the scene itself. But a
nervous Andrew and JenniAnn dancing to this somber song
underneath the moon was just there.
I also really like Kylie's performance of "Pilate's
Dream." It's always irked me that Jesus Christ
Superstar doesn't have a woman singing that song because
it really was Pilate's wife and not Pilate who had the dream
about Jesus. So it was cool to remedy that in my own small
way. But I also loved that Kylie was able to release some
legitimate feelings during it. Favorite wedding:
Definitely Graham's and Owen's. I was actually pretty
anxious about writing a gay wedding because I knew it might
bother some people. But, more than that, I was afraid I
wouldn't do it well and end up sending the wrong message.
Because here's the truth... wedding scenes and really scenes
with any sort of ceremony are my least favorites to write.
Because there's a pattern to them that gets kind of old.
But "The Messiah" presented a really unique opportunity.
Things are quiet heavy as Joshua gets shot and it's uncertain
whether or not he'll recover. And then there's this joyful
event that, while very much about Graham and Owen, is entirely
planned around Joshua. I thought that was lovely.
Next to that, my favorite was a sort of non-wedding
wedding. In "Hope and Healing," we see the aftermath of
Behnam's and Isra's arranged marriage which was pretty
traumatic. But we also get a glimpse of the night, six
months later, that the couple actually celebrate every year with
their anniversary. On that night, now in love with her
husband, Isra invites Behnam into her bed. It's a big deal
for them both but probably especially for Behnam whose entire
adult life has been grief and guilt and feeling like he's failed
the women in his life. Finally, he gets to feel wanted and
I think that's also in "The Messiah." The character of
Josef is from Moonlight and so, obviously, I didn't
choose that name. I did choose Nico's name but just
because I thought it sounded cool and befitting a ship's
captain. I don't think Nicodemus even entered into my
mind. So it didn't even occur to me until I was writing
"The Messiah" that I'd unwittingly ended up with a Josef and a
Nico to stand-in for Joseph of Arimithea and Nicodemus.
They are also, coincidentally, among the wealthier characters
which tracks. It ended up being a red herring given Joshua
didn't die. But, for me, it added a layer of concern for
the characters and they might have reasonably assumed that God
had purposefully arranged for a new Joseph and Nicodemus to be
present for his death and ready to act accordingly.
That being said... It's also kinda fun for me that
JenniAnn is cousin to Catherine Chandler and Vincent
Wells. Those were names that came from Beauty and the
Beast and yet, in real life, I'm related to Chandlers and
Wellses. So that's a real life coincidence that I'm pretty
On a more somber note, I felt like there were a lot of
coincidences surrounding JABB and John Dye's death. "To Be
With You" was the last story I wrote before the news reached
us. And, looking back, it feels right that it ended with
Andrew having this reassuring vision of the future. In a
way, it seems like a finale. So it felt like an
appropriate end to a specific era of JABB. Further, the
last newsletter before John Dye passed on was JABB 317.
317 is a significant number within the Dyeland stories as
3-17-00 is when Andrew came to Dyeland and, as such, he and
JenniAnn celebrate it as one of their anniversaries. So
there was a full circle feeling to, again, ending an era on a
number associated with origins. Finally, as most of you
probably know, every day I send a TBAA quote to the GoogleGroup
(formerly YahooGroup). On January 10, 2011, before the
news reached any of us, this is the one I happened to send:
"This life is a flicker. It burns white hot for an
instance and then it's gone. But it sets the course for
the eternity." ~~ Tess, The Homecoming, Part II
That was a very sad time so it's hard to think of anything as a
"favorite" that was connected to it. But as time went by,
those "coincidences" did make me feel like God was very near to
us all then. And the 317 did help me to feel like as hard
as it was to leave John Dye in the past, there would be a new
beginning. And there was. As I've written before,
Joshua would not be a prominent character if not for the fact
that in the first couple of years after John Dye died, it was
difficult for me to write for Andrew. Joshua was added to
lift that burden some. And then I just came to love
writing about him.
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye whose depiction of
Andrew still brings me comfort at difficult times.
JABB TOC JABB
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