Paving My Author's Road

On This Day January 25th…Guiding Light


Last year I did a series of “Did You Know” and “On This Day” posts. Posts honoring men, women  and writing/publishing related events. In particular for Black History Month. As well as Women’s History Month. Well, it’s back again, this time all year around. Featuring local, national and international events. And today’s event in history is sure to be a doozie. If you’re a soap fan that is, especially this one.
On this day, January 25th, the first broadcast of The Guiding Light (shortened to Guiding Light in 1975) aired on NBC Radio in 1937? The series was first created by actress and writer Irna Phillips. In fact Ms. Phillips was the soap’s chief writer for 21 years. Before she transferred to sister soap As the World Turns in 1958. Another soap she created. And for a bit of trivia, her protege Agnes Nixon, took over as head writer after Ms. Phillips transfer. And later went on to create the soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live.

I hope you’re not thinking that today’s post is in no way historical because it’s about a soap. Or how does this relate to writing. Because think again. Guiding Light is the longest running daytime drama in television in American history. It’s even included in the Guinness World Records. Guiding Light had its last episode September 18 2009, marking 57 years on television. Now add the 15 years it was on radio before the first televised episode. That’s 72 years-after 18, 262 episodes! That’s a whole lot of writing.

Also, soap operas is a storytelling genre that focuses on emotional relationships. Moral conflicts, tensions, family, friendship and love relationships. Racism, LGBT, drugs and addictions, Aids, cancer, etc. You name it, they did the storyline. In my opinion, watching soaps is also a great way to study how to write seductive romance story lines. And I’m sure some of us have watched a soap, have a favorite soap(s) and or still watch them too. I did.

I got into soaps because my mom was into it. And  she’d have me watch it so I can recap for her after she came home from work. This was during the summer, school breaks and holidays. I loved All My Children, Days of Our Lives and General Hospital. I especially loved Jason Quartermaine and Sonny Corinthos. Man that man was all kinds of smoldering hotness.

But I didn’t get into Guiding Light until the late 1990s and early 2000s. After actress Bethany Joy Lenz joined the show as Michelle Bauer. I adored the actress and loved the story line with her and Danny Santos. I’m a sucker for good girl and bad boy, contract relationship/marriage story lines. Then coupled with the fact that Danny Santos is part of a mob family, making him a good bad boy…I was hooked.

Here’s another trivia fact for you. Bethany Joy Lenz went on to play the role Haley James. Who married high school boyfriend and basketball star Nathan Scott, in One Tree Hill. Lenz along with Chad Michael Murray  were the reasons I watched the show from episode one. Chad Michael Murray also had recurring roles in the beloved Gilmore Girls and Dawson’s Creek.

Then came Passions. And yes I loved it too. It had witches, curses, soul mates, etc. How can I resist? Though the two week long narrative thread of Kay Bennett dragged into hell through her closet was a bit much.

Anyways, I just want to say Happy 79th Birthday Guiding Light! And though you’re no longer on air, you have not or will ever be forgotten. Nor the directors, the actors and especially the writers.

Tell the truth, you’ve watched Guiding Light and a soap or two. Have any favorites? Have a favorite story line, couple or super couple? Or characters you wished had a romantic story line but never did? Was there ever a story line you wished the writers developed more, that they didn’t drop? Or wish they had? What are your thoughts about soap opera in general, love them or hate them?

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January Writing Update:


PS I’m looking for a few more good bloggers to become blog hosts for my poetry chapbook Can You Catch My Flow? It’ll be soon available in print but you can find the ebook at Smashwords and Amazon.

The tour dates is from March 1-April 30, 2016 and if you’re interested, click the banner below to the sign up form. Looking forward to hearing from you! 😀