Spellcheck doesn’t think “Soapwriting” is a real word. And maybe it’s right. But I used to define it as a means of gainful employment, and one I considered in my youth.
I was raised “on the Soaps,” as we used to call the daytime serial dramas that played on midday television Monday through Friday. Well I remember my mother setting up her ironing board in front of the TV so she could keep up with the goings on of the families of “As the World Turns” and “The Guiding Light.”
I watched these shows all summer, and during the school year eagerly looked forward to having my mother fill me in on the quirks of each storyline. As a college student, I often planned my study schedule around catching up with my soaps.
With the advent of VCR technology, I followed these shows year-round, and considered it a blessing to be able to fast-forward through the commercials, now able to watch two hours of television in less than an hour and a half. (An advertiser’s worst nightmare!)
My mother, my aunt and I frequently discussed the storylines of these two shows for over 50 years. No kidding! Fifty years! And on Fridays, we referred to it as “the big bang” when the writers put in a hook to leave us dangling with suspense until Monday, ensuring we’d tune back in.
I was certain that someday I’d write for the soaps. When my mother and I were able to watch them together, we’d often say a line ahead of the characters, then high-five or whoop it up when we got it exactly the way it was written. Some soapwriters, and storylines, were way more predictable than others.
But now the classic soap opera has gone the way of so many other institutions of my youth, and writing for them is no longer a career option. Instead, I’m busy writing all kinds of other things, and today you can come find out all about them at Olde Towne Trading Post in Ilwaco, 1 to 3 p.m.
I figured if you read this far, you might forgive me for one more small plug for my booksigning today. I’m hoping book buyers have not gone the way of the soap opera, and that many are still alive and well right here on the peninsula!