On This Day – March 21st


Today is the day in television history we all have to thank for the widespread use of ‘cliffhangers’. This day in 1980 was the final episode of Season 3 for CBS’s critically acclaimed show, “Dallas”. The episode, entitled “A House Divided” featured the ending scene of someone shooting J.R., the show’s leading man for those that never watched it. This launched the 8 month “Who Shot J.R.?” media and fan frenzy leading up to the season premiere in November, which was delayed by a Screen Actor’s Guild strike. The season 4 episode, “Who Done it”, reached an estimated 83 Million viewers, catapulting “Dallas” to more notoriety worldwide.

It also sealed the fate of TV viewers to this day to suffer through the agony of cliffhangers. Sometimes writers now do not even wait until the end of the season to give us a big cliffhanger, instead insisting on dishing smaller ones out week after week to keep us pining away for our favorite on screen characters. This device certainly has appeal as ratings are what determines which shows get made and which get cut every season.

I think if I was a plotter writer instead of a pantser, I would do this with short stories and release each segment several weeks apart in order to drive readers into a frothing frenzy. That would be fun. Although I don’t want to end up like George R.R. Martin, with people clamoring me to finish a series as badly. Will be big dollar signs for him when he does.

Our lives could be a cliffhanger in the vein of these television shows. Each day leaving us wanting the next, barreling towards our goals and inevitable conclusions. So my Gentle Readers, go out and chase your own cliffhangers in life, always hungry for the next episode in the show that is you. Until next time. Live well, write well, be well.


Spell a Day – Jan 31st 2016

Today’s spell a day is a two-parter. The first part is that on this day in 1949, the first Soap Opera appeared on television. This leads into the second part of “washing away” negativity from your life.

Soap Operas were so dubbed because most of their sponsors in the early years were the soap/detergent companies. Because of the melodrama evident in their storylines, similar to an opera, they coined a new genre in the infancy of television.

Soap Operas are almost a thing of the past it seems as they have been replaced by endless talk shows on day time TV. I remember growing up and occasionally watching day time TV with my grandmother. This was especially true during the summer when I would come inside for lunch and she would be watching Bold and the Beautiful, Young and The Restless, Day’s of our Lives, Guiding Light. Usually she was also folding laundry, which I felt obligated to help with. During the school year I wouldn’t get to have these moments with my grandmother, but she would gladly tell me all about it when I got home from school.

It is recommended that you take a long shower today with lots of soap. Visualize the soapy lather gathering up all the “dirt” and harmful influences in your life,pulling it from your very skin. Then picture all of this negativity washing down the drain and out of your life.

Anyone have a favorite soap opera that may or may not still be on the air? Until next time Gentle Readers.