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Life on 200 Words a Day
All the World's a Soap

No one admits it. I will. I’m not just a fan of soap operas. I’m addicted to them, and not just because I write them as a hobby that risks turning oppressively lucrative (don’t ask me which: I still have enough sense to slightly shade my immersion). Soaps are my daily bread, my five-times-daily ablutions, my nighttime lullabies. I have them recorded and catalogued for me by plotline, character, date, country of origin, by network, by actor. Mexican soaps have me by the heart, Argentina’s by the ears, Bollywood’s and America’s by the tears. I’m learning Russian not to read Dostoevsky in the original, but to watch Russian soaps. I’ll never get around to seeing the entire collection. But I like to have its digital repository line my basement shelves, the way I like to know that Saint Simon’s Nile-long memoirs of Louis XIV’s court are always there for the tasting, and for the same reason: Saint Simon was the world’s first soap opera composer, first to amend, for the better, Shakespeare’s all-the-world’s-a-stage jingle. Soaps are about the eternal dialogue of love and grief, two sides of life’s only universal coin, the oldest story that manages to be always retold without ever getting old, as we do. It’s the heart’s Esperanto. The addiction coincides, decades ago, with the first time I read Vargas Llosa’s Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, one of the great literary fugues of the last century and an ode to imagination’s fertility. Pedro Camacho, my idol! I have never loved life or grieved so much since turning on the light, and desperation, of soaps.

L.D. Amabed Jr.

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