My Secret Addiction
Time to confess to my guilty pastime! I’m addicted to a soap opera—Days of our Lives—and while it’s not truly a secret, it’s not something I tend to announce at social events. After all, many people discount soaps as silly and often absurd melodrama, and yes, certain storylines can veer in that direction…but it would be nearly impossible to weave a serial drama that has aired every weekday for 50 years and not occasionally ask viewers to suspend belief. I’m okay with that.
I started watching for a simple reason–my mother watched it every day on NBC. The earliest clear memory I have of watching with her takes place in the family room of the first house we owned, which we moved into when I was about 5 years old. Of course, the trials and tribulations of adult relationships was not particularly interesting to a preschooler. But I did find one character I could identify with: Hope Williams, who was also a little girl. She had beautiful black hair and cute dresses.
Once I was in school, I only saw episodes sporadically, either during the summer, school vacations, or when I was home sick. Still, because a single day can stretch out into weeks in soap opera time, it was never too difficult to figure out what was going on. Then the Betamax was invented in the mid-seventies, and by the time I was in high school, my mom and I were taping the show so we could watch together at the end of the day. As a college student, I was hooked enough to take “my show” into consideration when planning my class schedule.
When I was 25, my mom lost her battle with cancer. It was a terrible time in my life, and nothing was normal for a long time. But suddenly Days of Our Lives had renewed sentimental value–a connection to my mother, and our memories. To this day, some of the characters we enjoyed together are still on regularly. Twenty years after her passing, the show serves as a daily reminder of my beautiful mom.
When my boys were babies, we’d snuggle up on the couch at 1 p.m. and drift into naptime as the drama played out quietly on the television. It was my favorite part of the day. And it is still my sacred quiet time these days, if my schedule permits. Plus, now that I’m a romance author, I can label it as research; after all, writing romance is about creating chemistry between two characters, and then keeping them apart as the tension builds. Sounds a lot like the soaps, right? Supercouples like Bo and Hope, Steve and Kayla, John and Marlena, and Carrie and Austin certainly didn’t travel an easy road to be together. If they did, it wouldn’t be very interesting! So cue the familiar hourglass, and give me my daily dose of conflict, secrets, and betrayals, along with the eventual “true love conquers all” scenes that keep fans like me watching!
Now that I’ve bared my guilty pleasure—what’s yours?