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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


On yesterday's (Monday's) air-show, Lucinda urged Katie to write a sequel to her mega-best-selling novel, Oakdale Confidential. Katie wasn't sure if she should, but Mike urged her to go ahead, telling her how proud their kids will be of having a famous writer for a mother. (Actually, they'll probably think its normal. My then five year old once asked a playmate at Barnes & Noble, "So which of these books did your mommy write?")

The question now is, will Katie be able to think of what to write, write it, send it in for editing, make the requested changes, brain-storm a new cover design, proof the copy-edited manuscript, see it printed, shipped to warehouses nation-wide and placed on the store shelves by November 14, 2006 (a.k.a. two weeks from now)?

The answer to that nail-biter, here.

What can I say? The girl is good.

Monday, October 30, 2006


For (well, it seems like ever) married people (especially with children) have been considered by cool cat society at large as boring, traditional, conservative, bourgeois.

It's the single, the living together, the footloose and Sex in the City free who were hip, with-it, adventurous, open-minded and edgy.

Now comes a report from the Census bureau:

"...That 49.7 percent, or 55.2 million, of the nation's 111.1 million households in 2005 were made up of married couples--with and without children--just shy of a majority and down from more than 52 percent five years earlier."

So I guess it's the single people who are now living the boring, predictable, everyone-is-doing-it-so-I-might-as-well-get-on-board, traditional, don't-want-to-take-any-chances-and-risk-people-judging-me lifestyle, and married people who are bucking trends, taking a risk, embarking into uncharted country and living on the edge.

I'm a counter-culturalist.

Who knew?

Friday, October 27, 2006


For reasons I've confessed before, I have a vested interest in seeking out movies and television shows about mixed relationships, especially kiddie fare that paints those relationships in a positive light.

So I was looking forward to seeing Shrek, which positioned itself as a tale of two different species, green ogre and beautiful, human-type princess, overcoming the odds and being together.

That was the theory. In practice, Shrek proved to be yet another "I no think that word means what you think it means" film in that it was the tale of an ogre who overcomes the odds and marries... another ogre.

Princess Fiona's big secret is that she turns into an ogre at night. Which means rather than being the story of two different creatures falling in love, it is the story of two identical creatures falling in love.

In other words, the exact opposite of the story the filmmakers thought they were telling.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006


My husband is African-American. He also has a nuclear engineering degree from MIT. As a result, he has spent most of his life pretty confident of being the most educated person among any group of people he's with.

The first year we were married, we hosted a Passover Seder. A friend was explaining how, "School wasn't for me. I only got a Bachelor's."

In response to my husband's quizzical expression, she helpfully explained, "You're among Jews, now."

This weekend we went to a wedding. We were seated at a table with two other young, married couples. On the left of us, the wife had just gotten her Ph.D. Next to her was her MD husband. On the right of us was a recently out of residency MD. With his wife who had a Master's.

(I have a Master's myself, but my husband is kind of used to that by now).

He looked to the left. He looked to the right. He told me, "I think I'm beginning to understand. I guess school just wasn't for me..."

We tried not to use any big words he might not be familiar with.

Monday, October 23, 2006


Who isn't me.

In another one of those wonderful real-life/fiction blurs that make my job so much fun (really; I love the postmodernism of it all), book club readers of Oakdale Confidential can win a half hour chat with the author -- Katie Peretti.

Now, Katie Peretti is the lead author on Oakdale Confidential. She also... uhm... doesn't exist. Who does exist is Terri Colombino, the actress who plays Katie. (Few people remember that the catch-phrase, "I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV," actually originated when Chris Robinson, who played Dr. Rick Webber on General Hospital started pitching cough syrup. Of course, then he went to jail for tax fraud and lost that gig. But I digress).

So the book club that wins the chat will be talking to Terri, who plays Katie, who, on-air, wrote the book that I wrote off-air.

America. What a country....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Dead Poets Society is a movie about a teacher teaching his students how to think for themselves. By telling them to do everything he says.

"Think for yourselves," Robin Williams instructs his little fresh-faced preppies. "For instance, people who think for themselves go to caves and read poetry."

So off the minions tramp to caves to read poetry.

"People who think for themselves defy their parents."

Time to defy Daddy and sign up for the school play!

"People who think for themselves do delightfully wacky and spontaneous things."

Wait, Boy Who Gets Phone Call from God in the middle of Assembly. I did not deem a phone call from God acceptably wacky and spontaneous. So I will yell at you for it.

At the very end, when Robin Williams is forced to leave his job, Ethan Hawke demonstrates how much he has learned from this gibberish-spouting Mr. Chips by leaping upon his desk in a show of bravado, defiance and eccentricity... just like Robin Williams did when he first arrived in the classroom.

Yeah, those boys really learned how to think for themselves, didn't they....

I no think that word means what you think it means...

Friday, October 13, 2006


ALIEN as ultimate parenting metaphor...

First, this bloody, oddly-shaped thing bursts out of your body whenever it darn well feel like it.

Then there's the period when you can hear its little feet scurrying and you can see it out of the corner of your eye, but its hard to catch.

Its after the cat, too.

Every time you turn around, its unexpectedly bigger.

The only thing to finally do is throw it out of the house to fend for itself and possibly reproduce with others.

Yes, this is what pregnant people think about in the middle of the night when they can't sleep....

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I was watching Monday's episode of "New Adventures of Old Christine," (I have two small children, I watch all TV on a minimum of 24 hour delay). Christine's ex-husband's new girlfriend was a church-goer, and they had taken Christine's son to church. Christine freaked.

And, in a world where everyone says there are no new stories under the soap-opera sun, it made me think: why haven't we ever seen a story of conflicting faiths on daytime?

I'm not talking about the periodic, half-hearted stab at interfaith romance (Rose and Jake on GH, Robin and Mike on DOOL -- where we learned that Jews only eat tuna-fish on Shabbat, a piece of information my brain still has trouble processing 20 years after the disturbing scene aired), but something more down-to-earth:

What happens to a couple when one half, for whatever reason, gets religion? How does that affect their relationship? Their child-rearing? Their day to day life?

I suppose the reason we have yet to see such a story on daytime is because, on daytime, everyone is vaguely religious, but not really. A Catholic priest (Father Ray; GL) may wander through the scene once in a while, and even share the obligatory Thorn Birds-romance (LOVING's Shana and Jim), or an Episcopalian minister may pop his nose in (Andrew; OLTL).

But, overall, the good people of daytime subscribe to a vague, nebulous Christianity, where Christmas is celebrated (but rarely Easter), babies are baptized non-denominationally and funerals and wedding are conducted by presumed reverends with assumed bibles in their hands.

What would the good Reverend Ruthledge, whose sermons used to take up entire episodes of GL seventy years ago, think?

Monday, October 09, 2006


Castaway was on TNT this weekend (a lot; I think it's their new Shawshenk Redemption). In spite of all the critical acclaim it garnered (see Tom Hanks fat, see Tom Hanks thin, see Tom Hanks hairy), I couldn't help thinking, you know, the soaps do (and overdo) this story a lot.

And they do it better.

Back from the dead is a soap staple. We get to see news of the miraculous resurrection travel around town. We get to witness loved ones' first glimpse of the mistakenly presumed dearly departed, and we get to see the girl/boy left behind wrestle for months (years, sometimes!) about their feelings for their old love and their new one.

What did we get in Castaway? Not only were we not treated to the moment when Tom Hanks sees his first human being in over three years (the cut is from him seeing the freighter that picks him up, straight to his reunion with his best friend -- what, did the filmmakers think there was no drama to a man's first reconnection with civilization?).

And then we get one (!) scene with Tom and Helen Hunt, where he says, "Come with me," and she says, "Nah, I'll stay with the dentist." And that's it.

This is angst? This is drama? This is what you need to hire two Academy Award winners for?

Give me a soap back from the dead, any day.

Furthermore, the movies seems to think that it's about the importance of not obsessing over time. After the first scene in Moscow, where Tom lectures his workers about "never turn your back on time," we get scenes of him on the island, marking the days of his exile and learning not to stress so much over minutes and seconds.

The movie thinks its about learning to get off the modern-age treadmill, smelling the roses, savoring the moments, etc.... BUT, what actually happens in it is that Tom Hanks does turn his back on time (or, more accurately, it turns its back on him) and as a result he loses his girlfriend (and basically, his entire life).

So how is the moral that time isn't important applicable here?

Coming soon, more movies that aren't about what they think they're about, including Dead Poet's Society and Shrek.

Friday, October 06, 2006


GalleyCat reports (well, more like snarks):

... Troubled wide receiver Terrell Owens - who was called out by teammate Donovan McNabb on many issues, but most especially about his recent biography (which McNabb deemed "a children's book") - is actually putting his name on a kids' book.... LITTLE T LEARNS TO SHARE, aimed for the 3 to 5 year old set, "uses adorable illustrations and rhyming text to show one boy learning to share his new football with friends" as a means of "sharing with children the lessons he didn't learn as a child (and has had to painfully acquire as an adult)."

And why am I mentioning this particular fact on this particular blog? Only because the September 29 issue of The Boston Globe earlier snarked (lots of that going around):

We now know who has the toughest job around. Kim Etheredge. She's the publicist for Terrell Owens, and if you want the definition of impossible, it is ``publicist for Terrell Owens.".... She has to make sense of a guy who makes no sense. She has to come up with explanations for a guy for whom there is no excuse.... On one side, she works for Owens and must also answer to agent Drew Rosenhaus. On the other side, she's got Bill Parcells. Then there are questions from 4,371 members of the media who don't realize that in the Dallas Cowboys with Parcells and Owens and Jerry Jones they are covering nothing more than the sports equivalent to ``As the World Turns."

So I'm wondering, for Oakdale Confidential: The Sequel should Katie, Carly and Maddie hit the gridiron in picture-book form? After all, if anyone needs a lesson in sharing nicely with others, its these ladies...

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Here is the updated cover for Oakdale Confidential: Secrets Revealed out in November 2006.

I feel like this should be one of those games you get in Highlights for Children Magazine, where they'd put two similar pictures side by side and ask, "How many differences can YOU spot, boys and girls?"

In addition to the new cover, this edition will feature a Note From the Author, a brand-new, mini-mystery Epilogue starring Katie, Simon, and Carly which will lead to an on-air mystery, plus a 16-page photo insert celebrating 50 years of Oakdale!

To compile the insert, I sorted through fifty years of vintage photos, which was a blast and a half. Ultimately, I couldn't use every shot I'd have liked (a combination of space, legal, and financial reasons), but I do hope you enjoy the ones that made the cut.

I look forward to hearing your opinions ('cause I know you'll have them!) next month!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


MTV.com interviews Jordana Brewster (ex-Nikki; ATWT) with the probing journalistic inquiry:

MTV: You got your start on soaps like "All My Children" and "As the World Turns." So which is scarier: cheesy soap-opera dialogue or Leatherface?

Brewster: Leatherface ... [but those shows prepared me] because there was a lot of crying on the soaps. They were excellent training for a horror film. ... They had to pull me back sometimes and say, "Jordana, stop crying!" At some points, I'd start and it was too much ... but crying is really cathartic; it's actually really fun.

Good answer, Jordana! I never saw the point of actors denying their soap backgrounds (Meg Ryan, I'm talking to you...)

(Pictured above, Jordana with co-star Ashley Williams)


My seven year old son has picked up one of my books to read for the first time. (NOT Oakdale Confidential; a children's book I wrote a few years ago).

His reaction: "Chapter one is really good, Mama. (Pause) I wouldn't want to hurt your feelings by saying: This is the worst book ever written. (Pause) That's just an example, Mama, it's really good."