"Go with it as best you can. Do that
day by day and give the rest over to God. There's
nothing else you can do, is there?" ~~ Paul Edgecombe in Stephen King's The
Before I get into the newsletter, I wanted to share an update
on my pet mice since I mentioned them last time. Sadly,
Gussie passed away early last week. Thankfully, she was
able to pass on at home and I think that helped Jackie to
realize what was going on. Jackie's doing pretty
well. It just makes me sad to see her alone. But
I'm grateful that Gussie is no longer suffering.
I've now been able to resume focusing on my abundance of
housework so, once again, this is a short newsletter looking
back on my favorite bits of JABB's nearly 600 newsletters and
the related stories. I hope you enjoy the continued
(short) trip down memory lane.
Favorite Head Canon- Okay... so this one may be
controversial. And it may eventually be more than head
canon. I haven't decided. And, yes, a person can
have head canon about stuff they write. I have lots of
head canons about various Dyeland characters that I haven't made
official because sometimes I like for things to be
ambiguous. Or I might change my mind. Or it's just
not really that important. But, anyway, my favorite...
Yosef is unable to father children.
Do I believe this historically? No. Personally, I'm
not even convinced that Yosef of Nazareth didn't father some/all
of the "brothers and sisters of Jesus." I have no problem
believing he and the real Maryam had other children... but
neither do I have a problem believing they did not. Since
I opted to have those folks be cousins/adopted siblings in the
Dyeland stories, that did leave Yosef without any direct
descendants... although he would still be biologically related
to the "brothers and sisters" since they're the children of his
sister. Ultimately, I did that because there's not
consensus among Christian denominations so no matter what I did,
someone was going to disagree. So I picked the variation
that best worked with my stories. I didn't want to
necessarily have to account for a slew of siblings when writing
flashbacks. And since adoption is common among the
Friends, it felt thematically appropriate to have Joshua come
from a family that included adoption.
The reason I like the idea that Yosef couldn't father children
is there's kind of a running theme in the stories of things
that, at first, seem troubling but end up being the only way for
a character to become fulfilled. For example, I think both
JenniAnn and Shelby experienced some angst in being asexuals and
seeing their friends pairing off. They felt left
behind. But if JenniAnn wasn't ace, her relationship with
Andrew would definitely be more difficult. And if she'd
been interested in sex and, thus, more likely to get pregnant,
maybe she wouldn't have the five kids she actually has and very
much loves. And Shelby might not have grown so close to
Violeta. And who knows where that would have led Violeta
who is mildly obsessed about finding her anam cara. So,
along those lines, it's kind of cool to think that Yosef was
initially so troubled by Maryam's pregnancy but then literally
had the best son ever and, after his death, found out that
Joshua's Incarnation was the only way he was going to get to
experience accompanying his wife through a pregnancy. It's
commonly said that God is a father to the fatherless but maybe,
just once, he was also a child to the childless.
A runner-up would be my head canon that John/Yohannan was
asexual. I dunno. I just get that vibe from
Favorite TBAA Throwback- So even though Dyeland is
spun-off of TBAA, more often than not, the Dyeland stories are
completely independent from TBAA barring some characters.
But sometimes they pick up a plot line introduced on TBAA and
run with it. And I think my favorite example of that is
the introduction of Arthur (formerly known as Mike on
TBAA). There's a lot about "Netherlands" that bothers
me. But I actually quite liked the idea of Monica having
this mysterious, life-changing connection with a human. It
fit in really well with the idea of human/angel anam
caras. I think it actually makes the Dyeland stories seem
like less of a departure. Arthur and Monica also gave me
the opportunity to explore some things that I just can't with
Andrew and JenniAnn... namely what it would mean to give up sex
when one has previously had an active sex life. And then
there was Liam. The "surprise kid" trope just wasn't
something I could do with Andrew and JenniAnn since he can't
father children and JenniAnn would surely have noticed if she'd
been pregnant for nine months.
Favorite Soap Box Moment- I think probably the discussion
of purity culture in "The King." Purity culture is one of
the seediest, most insidious aspects of modern Christianity
IMO. So it was really cool to be able to write a scene in
which some of its evils are laid out and then Joshua and Maryam
have the opportunity to respond.
I also appreciate every opportunity to bring up that Joshua
isn't a blonde white man and is very much unimpressed with
Favorite Romantic Moment- This is hard... But I
think I'm going to have to go with the first time JenniAnn lets
Andrew see her topless in "Cupid and Psyche." I think it
was important for a number of reasons:
1. It allowed him to see her scar from when Rex shot her
which is something that had become out-sized in his imagination.
2. It allowed JenniAnn to reclaim a part of her body, in a
manner, after she'd been assaulted by Rex.
3. It showed she'd made some progress on pre-existing body
4. It demonstrated that being asexual doesn't necessarily
mean that a person is squicked out by intimate touch.
JenniAnn doesn't want to have sex. That doesn't
necessarily mean she doesn't want to share physical intimacy
with her partner. Ditto for Andrew.
5. I just think Andrew's really cute in that scene.
6. Honestly, it was a big step for me. I was kinda
nervous writing it both in that it felt a little uncomfortable
for me but also I wasn't sure how people would react. It
was fine on both counts.
I also really love Yosef giving Maryam a wedding ring in "The
And because sometimes being tropey is fun... I loved Lor
"rescuing" Cora from the convent in "Origins."
I also enjoy the "sex scene" in "Song of Songs" because I
thought clothes piling up on a chair was a nice way of doing the
old "showing the door close behind two amorous people"
schtick. Also, I'd been waiting since circa 1989 for
Vincent and Catherine to get their happily ever after. It
And this is one where I'll probably think of another example
right after I send this.
This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for
looking awesome in that green shirt in that one TBAA promo
shot. Been thinking about it as I wash my own green
shirts as part of Project Post-Mice Clean-Up.
JABB TOC JABB
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