Monday, December 18, 2006

A revisionist view

My paternal grandmother was a wise, warm, intelligent person. She read voraciously in English, not her native language, into her eighties. She and my grandfather had an active social life. She kept up with politics and world affairs. She read two or three papers every day. So it seemed odd to me, as a kid, that she was addicted to soap operas. Every day she had to get home from her canasta or mahjongg game in time to see her “stories,” as she called them. When I challenged her (brat that I was), she always said, in amazement, “They’re so true to life.” But I loved my grandmother and was happy to make allowances for what I saw as her one peccadillo.

Now, though, some three decades after her passing, I’m reconsidering.

In the news lately, we’ve had the affair, the affair, the Judith Regan affair, and some sort of basketball brouhaha involving multimillionaires brawling in public.

Within the last week or so, acquaintances—upstanding middle-class people about whom one would never think such a thing possible—had their own Jerry Springer moment (the police were considerate and professional).

In fact, the more I look back, as an adult, at my own family’s history, the more I find myself coming around to my grandmother’s point of view. Some of those soaps really were true to life.

When I edit fiction, I try to help the author maintain a certain level of plausibility. After the last couple of months, I’ve revised my definition of plausibility—downward.


Susan Jones said...

There are few gifts one can give that last a lifetime, the inspiration you’ve so willingly and unselfishly shared with the world through your art and talent is one. I’ve been a fortunate benefactor, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and the very best of the new year to you and yours.

Dick Margulis said...


Thank you for your kind words (I trust they weren't specific to this particular post). The same wishes to you and yours. And don't worry about those stitches. I don't think there will be any scarring; the face heals well.