Lathering up for a look back…

Seven years at Soap Opera Weekly and a lifetime of soap opera worship have afforded me so many wonderful experiences. I don’t even know where to begin a little stroll down memory lane.

Do I talk about how my first official phone interview was with Chris Beetem (ex-Jordan, ATWT) in 2004 and my first in-person chat was with Tamara Braun (Taylor, Days)? Do I marvel at the time I got to interview Lucy Lawless, because she was guest-starring on Veronica Mars? Can I take people with me to my two ABC Super Soap Weekend experiences and the mind-blowing moments of riding in Thorsten Kaye’s (Zach, All My Children) car during his motorcade? Do I laugh about how I ran into Beth Chamberlin (ex-Beth, Guiding Light) ten thousand times during last year’s Emmys in Las Vegas?

I’ve sat at Emma Snyder’s kitchen table in Oakdale — with Cyndi Lauper, to boot. I’ve been to Llanview’s UltraViolet to watch Lifehouse perform. I’ve wandered through L.A.’s premier fashion houses…strolling past the entrance to Ridge’s office at Forrester Creations and peeking in at Nick’s domain at Jackie M.

Being in this industry hasn’t been just a job for me, it’s been a rich, moving experience — one that encompasses everything I love about daytime. I have learned so much, met so many fantastic people, and been witness to so many cool things! Not that it has all been sunshine and roses. I’ve written obituaries for greats like Helen Wagner and Farley Granger. I’ve reported on dark  real-life matters. I’ve been here for the cancellation of Passions, GL, ATWT, All My Children and One Life to Live. I’ve watched this once-great and thriving industry get slowly stripped of all the wonders that kept me captivated as a teenager.

For that, I am deeply saddened — and my sadness is mostly for the devoted soap fans out there — of which I am mostly certainly one! I’ve listened. I’ve watched. I’ve read so many letters and e-mails over the years. I’ve laughed and cried with fellow viewers — and sometimes butted heads, too.

Believe me, I know how much people out there love their shows, because I feel the exact same way. These are “our stories.” The Bradys, the Newmans, the Buchanans and Quartermaines… they’re our families and friends. Every day, we visit Pine Valley and Llanview and Salem and get embroiled in some crazy new adventure.

And now it seems the craziest adventure of all lies ahead. I don’t know what we’re going to do come January 2012, when we’re down to four shows. How will we reconcile those spaces in our viewing schedule? How will we accept that we might have to redefine soaps — or redefine ourselves without soaps? It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a process, it’s going to be a challenge — and it’s going to be a huge change.

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