A letter tapped out to my ex-wife this morning: “Dylan is now 27. I’ve been comparing his present situation to where I was in my late 20s, and where my late brother was at the same point. My life eventually worked out; my brother’s didn’t. The worst feeling in the world is being 27 or thereabouts and coping with the fact that your life isn’t coming together, and that the best way to improve things and maybe move up to the next level is unknown to you, and you really don’t know what the hell to do.
“I finally awoke to the idea of writing and reviewing films at 27; my brother was half-floundering around and not tapping into anything special or strong at that age. Both of us were angry and crusty (childhoods of suburban regimentation coupled with dark mood clouds from our alcoholic dad, mitigated only by our mom’s gracious spirit), but I discovered a path out of all that. You have to fall in love with something outside of yourself and then, if you’re lucky and strong enough, use that to try and transcend things and hopefully alight to other places.
“I know that sometime in our 20s we all have to get past the hurt of childhood and say to ourselves, “Okay, that happened and yes, my parents are far from perfect, but here I am right now.”
“Maybe I could have been a better dad with Dylan, maybe I could have shown more love, but I was a reasonably good one under the haphazard circumstances (seeing them only on vacations, holidays and occasional weekends, and some of this colored by my early to mid ’90s vodka problem) and I was certainly much more affectionate with Dylan than my dad was with me when I was young and in my teens. The ’90s were exciting but turbulent years for me, but I made it through and did my best under the circumstances.
“By my late 20s my dad had gone into AA and was making his apologies for his alcoholic behavior, and we were okay with each other more and more as the years went on.
“Dylan’s decision to live in his own realm and not communicate is not catastrophic. It’s understandable and most likely not permanent. As consolation I’ve been hanging on to the fact that Variety critic Owen Gleiberman, a friend, didn’t talk to his parents for four or five years in his 20s — he wanted to create his own karma — but he eventually reconnected and got married, etc.
“Jett and Cait are getting married in September. Jett’s rule is that Dylan has to give up on the hostility with me sometime between now and then or he can’t come to the wedding.”