"Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
Nothing can be done without hope and confidence." ~~Helen Keller

Hi all,

Welcome to the 600th JABB newsletter!  That's just mind-boggling to me!  How does that even happen?!

God bless,

My Dyeland Favorites: Part III

All stories referenced can be found here.
Favorite Cameo- I love all the times Joshua appears briefly in a scene as a butterfly... and once as an albatross.  Sometimes they're part of a bigger story in which Joshua appears as his normal self and sometimes not.  In the latter case, it's a proper cameo.  But... I'm looking at this question in terms of someone who has *only* appeared as a cameo.  And in that case I'm gonna go with...

Paul of Tarsus

I have a complicated relationship with Paul so he was no where near the top of my list of Biblical folks to introduce into the Dyeland stories.  And when I wrote Cameron's plot line, it definitely wasn't because I was building towards Paul.  I wasn't even sure I was going to give Cameron a redemption arc.  I really didn't want to.  He was a racist who coulda killed Joshua!  But...  I knew leaving him rotting in a cell, mired in his hatred wasn't what Joshua would want.  So... when it came time to pick a mentor for Cameron, the guy who used to persecute Christians before becoming one and spent time in jail seemed like an obvious choice. 

Favorite Unfinished Business- To be clear, the spirits who appear in the Dyeland stories are NOT ghosts.  They don't have unfinished business that they need to clear up before moving onto Heaven.  Only Yehuda could reasonably be considered a ghost and even he doesn't get that title any more.  If he were to reappear, he'd be a spirit. 

So I'm not talking about unfinished business in that sense.  And I most definitely don't believe the actual people behind the characters have unfinished business!  But I have given some of them plot lines that allow them to experience things that they missed out on... not because they *need* to experience them.  They don't.  But it might be nice for them.  So...

Yosef is probably my favorite character for this.  And John.  The latter most assuredly knew what Yeshua was doing with his ministry back in the day but he didn't get much of a front row seat for it because he was 1. practicing his own ministry, 2. in jail, or 3. dead.  So this time around, John got to be more present as Joshua called the Friends together.  He's also Joshua's most frequent roommate/work partner.  As for Yosef, I think he had a pretty significant moment with helping Joshua carry his cross during Superstar.  He wasn't there when Joshua actually was crucified so I think it was probably meaningful for him to help Joshua through a particularly challenging re-enactment.  Similarly, Yosef was present when Joshua confronted Cameron which was sort of a parallel to his trial with Pilate.  Both men taunted Joshua and wanted him dead.  But with Cameron, Yosef was there to offer support and a loving presence.

Favorite Revelation Scene for Andrew- While I'm tempted to say the time he informed JenniAnn that she was his assignment, that wasn't quite a revelation.  She knew he was an AOD.  So I think the revelation scene with Raquel in "We Trust to Thee."  It's a sort of double revelation in that Raquel learns that not only was Andrew with her husband, Hank, when he died but he was also there for her daughter when she was murdered.  Andrew is so upset about not being able to save Dawn that he tries to flee the room.  But Raquel won't let him because she's come to care for him.  As sad as she is about Dawn's murder, she's comforted that she had an angel and a friend by her side.  And it's even more lovely in hindsight because the two have remained close with Raquel even being one of Andrew's children's grandmothers. 

Favorite Biblical Echo-  Definitely Joshua's and JenniAnn's initial dialogue in "Promises of Someday" which is modeled off of Jesus' and Mary Magdalene's exchange at the tomb.  There's also a visual echo in that the scene with Mary often features Jesus wearing a hooded robe which obscures his face... hence her not recognizing him.  When Joshua meets JenniAnn, he's wearing a hoodie that obscures his face.  Also, I don't think this was intentional but I had Joshua say "Follow me" for the very practical reason that he was leading her to Andrew and Belle.  But in a wider scriptural context, of course Joshua would say "Follow me."

Favorite Invented Tidbit About Andrew- I think his love of anything red velvet cake is pretty cute.  I'm not even quite sure how or why it started.  Thanks to Steel Magnolias, I associate red velvet cake with the Southern U.S. so it was maybe partly a nod to John Dye.  But also... I really like red velvet stuff.  So it coulda just been "I need a flavor that Andrew would be fond of...  Hmm, red velvet is yummy!"  Whatever the reason was that I chose it, I hope Andrew has all the RVC he could ever want!

Favorite TBAA "Fix"- So I've made no secret of the fact that TBAA sometimes irritated me... particularly in how Andrew was handled.  And it *really* bothered me that he was basically a side note in the show's finale.  And Monica got Jesus to announce her promotion while Andrew only got Sam!  And, don't get me wrong, I love Sam.  But... he's not Jesus.  So... I wrote a sequel to the finale ("The Walk") in which Andrew gets much fussed over by JenniAnn and later their friends.  And while I couldn't have Joshua make an appearance to Andrew just yet, it's obvious he's very proud of Andrew and very intensely involved in his life.  And I think it was a pretty cool reveal that Andrew and Dyeland were made of some of the same stuff.  I think it was also the first time it came up that Satan is afraid of Andrew which is a plot element that will soon become relevant again.  So... quite a lot in it for a short story!

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this look back.  Thank you everyone who is and has been a part of JABB!  Now... onto 601 and beyond!

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye without whose work we, obviously, wouldn't have reached this milestone.

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