"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Week in Food--and Soap

I've been referring to our week as "International Food Week". It certainly wasn't planned, it just turned out that way--at first. Then I tried to keep it going.

On Saturday we dined out at a Mexican restaurant in Concord. On Sunday I made Rogan Josh. Monday was Italian night, with angel hair pasta and calamari. Last night we had tilapia--not a native species. It was my usual tilapia recipe but I added the chopped pecans, which I normally do as a topping for pan-cooked trout.

As a side dish we had risotto, which I cooked for the first time using the microwave. I practically never "cook" using the microwave, only use it to heat leftovers. The microwave cooking method for the risotto wasn't really a time-saver, compared to doing it on the stovetop, but it cut down on the stirring and the chance of sticking on the bottom of the saucepan. Much to my surprise, the risotto was a triumph, and a nice accompaniment to the light fish.

Tonight I'll be cooking green chile chicken burritos. Tomorrow is pizza night, which I regard as an all-American meal although it originated in Italy.

Yesterday I received news that did not, alas, turn out to be an April Fool's Day joke.

After 72 years on the air, my soap is being cancelled.

Guiding Light has been part of my life as long as I can remember. When I was little, our housekeeper kept the soaps turned on in the room where she did the ironing. Thinking about those days, I remember the smell of the steam iron combined with the tinned soup that would be my lunch. The soundtrack to this memory is Springfield housewives bemoaning their husband's infidelities (I didn't understand the cause at the time) or sitting at hospital bedsides.

In my freshman year of college my roommate was a huge Another World fan and she hooked me. But one of my theatre professors was the biggest GL fan alive, he talked about it constantly, so I sort of kept up with it. In grad school, GL came on at just about the time I got back to my apartment after lectures or teaching. That's when I became a hard-core, die-hard fangirl. I'd stopped watching AW--also a Procter & Gamble production--by the time it bit the dust.

GL had its moments of hipness. Sometimes they had musical acts--the B-52's performance was indelibly imprinted on my young mind. Sometimes they jumped the shark (the "Dreaming Death", the Cloning of Reva, Crazy Annie Dutton and her dead-baby pregnancy). But as long as Roger Thorpe was around (rest in peace, Michael Zaslow), or Vanessa Chamberlain (played by Meryl Streep's sister-in-law) Philip Spaulding, or Prince Edmund, or even weird Jonathan, I could handle the stupid stuff.

In Colorado I always took my writing break at mid-afternoon, when GL came on. Kept to the same schedule when we moved to New Hampshire. Because the Chap also worked from home then, he would sometimes wander through the room when something bizarre was happening, and obtained a little knowledge of Springfield and its people.

When the Boston station moved the broadcast from 3 p.m. to 9 a.m., I started taping the show and watching it in the evening--when the Chap was around. Watching GL together is a part of our daily routine. We don't necessarily like what we see...the show has suffered a gradual decline. But we always stuck it out. Last year when I saw one of the head writers in New York, I was so excited.

In recent weeks we rejoiced at the return of a favourite character...a short-lived joy.

How odd--and sad--to think that after September 18th, there will be no more GL. Not on CBS. There's a chance the show might move to some other outlet, but I'm not very optimistic. I expect a parade of familiar faces in the final weeks and months. So many very well-known actors got started there. Perhaps some of them will return.

The cancellation of GL is a result of the economic downturn that affects me personally--in a shallow, superficial way. What's worse is that actors and writers and producers and directors and cameramen and grips and make-up artists--the whole universe that brings Springfield to life--seem likely to lose their livelihoods. In this economic environment, the timing couldn't be worse.

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