Those of you reading this blog might already know that my siblings and I wrote a book called The Kids are All Right, and that it has nothing to do with lesbians or sperm banks. If so, please, do not tell the masses.
Here's why: Say someone is browsing the new paperback release table at their favorite bookstore and a title catches her eye. "The Kids are All Right?" she thinks to herself. "I heard that movie's great!" And, like any self-respecting book and film lover, she likes to read the book before she sees the film. Ka-ching! One subversive book sale for the Welches.
Of course, once she cracked the book's blue spine, she'd be confused. Where were the lesbians? Why are there four kids? And what's up with all this dying?
But then there's the off-chance she'd remember our mom from one of her soaps -- more than likely, it would be either "The Doctors," "Search for Tomorrow", or "Edge of Night," depending on our reader's age. And maybe she'd fall in love with this graceful and valiant woman as she battled cancer. She might even think, as we have, that Annette Benning should have been playing Ann Williams instead of Nic No-Last-Name in a hit movie called The Kids are All Right playing now at a theater near you.
If only my siblings and I had only gotten our acts together to do some good old guerrilla marketing around this whole movie thing. We actually talked about it, and our idea was to dress up real fancy and ambush the premiere, angling for face-time with E! News so we could promote our book. Coming out in paperback, today, September 14th!
"It's Pretty Wild to be here," Dan might have joked to Guiliana Rancic, bruising her delicate tan twig of an arm with a buddy-up elbow jab.
Meanwhile, Liz would have been gushing to Ryan Seacrest, "Julianne Moore looks just like our mom!"
"Actually, Annette's the one who looks like Mom," Amanda, the eldest, would have corrected her, somewhat grumpily. Just like in our book! Just like in real life!
Then, undoubtedly in a sweaty, spasmodic panic due to my fear of getting caught, I would have blurted out something vague and nonsensical, like "We're here because our book got turned into a movie that's not about our book!" And then, the master plan would have been put into action: Each of us would dramatically hold a copy of our book above our heads as security shoved us beyond the velvet ropes and into the weird crowd that gathers at those things. The whole town would have been talking about those scrappy Welch siblings, orphans turned red carpet interlopers!
(Speaking of interlopers, "You're an interloper!" was one of my favorite lines from the movie, second only to "I need your help like I need a dick in my ass!" I love Annette Benning. Didn't she look so hot in that sleeveless denim shirt when they were shopping for gardening supplies? Did I mention she'd be a great choice to play our mother?)
Alas, we didn't do any of that, obviously. Still, without the desperate antics, we have our own die-hard fans, God bless 'em. Like my mother-out-law. (Our preferred term, as I am an unwed mother who shares a son with hers.) She called me the other day to wish her grandson a happy first birthday. He was at daycare; I was alone at Office Depot buying some printer ink.
"Well, then can we talk about that stupid movie?" she asked, clearly annoyed.
"Sure," I answered. "But it's actually pretty good."
"I don't care what it is! They stole your title!"
"Well, we stole it, too."
"What do you mean you stole it?"
"Um, the Who song. You know, 'The kids are alriiiiiiight? The kids are alriiiiiiiight?'" I was whisper-singing.
"What? There was a song?" This from a woman who was actually alive when the song was a hit.
Funnily enough, "They stole your title!" is what we hear the most. Nearly every conversation I've had regarding our book this summer has involved either outrage or exasperation because of the movie "stealing" our title. One friend of mine went so far as to suggest that the theft was purposeful. As though Lisa Cholodenko was ready to go with the title "Two Lesbians, Some Guy and their Kids," until one day she noticed that there was a certain memoir that was getting quite a lot of attention (Not for nothing: People, Vanity Fair, Good Morning America and Entertainment Weekly!) and began to stoke her chin in an evil manner, giggling to herself with dollar signs in her eyes.
But, let's be real: Lisa Cholodenko probably has no idea I even wrote a book called 'The Kids are All Right'. Although, why am I so sure? Maybe Mark Ruffalo was bored in his trailer one day, Googled himself, and randomly came across our book. Then maybe he bought a copy for everyone on set and people were talking about the uncanny similarities between the two stories at the craft service table. Like how Liz, the pretty blond daughter in our tale, also got drunk and awkwardly made out with a boy at a party and how Dan, the little brother, also had a shitty friend.
OK, so that's about where the similarities end.
Though, come to think of it, both stories are about unconventional families that come undone because of bad decisions and come back together again because of love. So, that's a thematic partnership that could take this relationship to the next level.
In fact, I am pleased to announce that The Kids are All Right IS going to be a movie after all: In honor of our mother, and her decades-long career in TV, we signed a contract with Sony Pictures Television to turn our book into a TV movie. Our choice to go to the small screen was also influenced somewhat by the sage advice of the one-and-only Debbie Harry, with whom Liz and I tried to make small talk at a party. A mutual friend mentioned that we had written a book together, and Debbie asked us what it was about.
As I stood in front of the living legend, completely star-struck and absolutely no help at all, Liz babbled on nervously about our life story, saying something along the lines of, "Our father died in a car wreck, leaving our mother in debt. She was a soap star, and then she was diagnosed with cancer a month later and died and then we were all split up and sent to live with different families but then we found each other again, so there's a happy ending."
Then we both just stood there, smiling hopefully, waiting incredulously for what Debbie Harry had to say.
"Sounds like a TV movie," she said.
We couldn't agree more.
Diana Welch is an Austin-based writer and musician. She wrote The Kids are All Right with Liz, Dan and Amanda Welch. You can visit them online at TheKidsareAllRightBook.com