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Selecting files to back up

I'm just starting with tarsnap, and have it built, installed, and running on my iMac running Mojave, and I've been doing some dry runs to narrow down what I back up. Mostly things are working as I expect, but I've got one case that I haven't figured out a way to do. That's where I want to exclude a directory and its contents *except* for a smattering of files under it. Here's a simplified example.

Say I have:

$  find a -print


$ tarsnap --dry-run --no-default-config -c -v a
a a
a a/f0
a a/b
a a/b/f2
a a/b/f1

works as expected. Now, what I really want is to not archive anything in a/b except a/b/f2. I can do that with -T:

$ cat T
$ tarsnap --dry-run --no-default-config -c -v -T T
a a/f0
a a/b/f2

but that means I lose all the directory metadata (if I include the directories, it backups up the directories *and* the files I include explicitly.) I could use nodump, but I'd have to set nodump on hundreds of thousands of files, and I don't know what that would interfere with (for example, one of my local backup methods is Time Machine and I want it to back up some of the files I don't want tarsnap to back up). I've tried include and exclude in .tarsnaprc, but nothing I've tried has worked the way I want. So... any thoughts?