My Advice to First-Time Expectant Father, Quentin Tarantino
The filmmaker who taught me how to swear is going to be a dad. Here's what he should know.
Hey there Quentin Tarantino. I heard you’re going to be a father. That’s pretty cool. I also heard you’re planning on scaling back your career and becoming a “man of letters.” According to a few interviews, I’ve seen you say that you’re going to scale back your movie-making life because it wouldn’t be fair to drag your family all over the world. That’s a good point. I agree with you. But I’m a little worried about you and your plans.
Here’s what you said: ” I wouldn’t catch my family and drag them to Germany or Sri Lanka or where the next story takes place. I can be a little bit more at home and a little more like a man of letters…I think this is the time for Act 3 [of my life] to learn just a little more about literature, which would be good as a new father, a new husband.”
Okay, Quentin, I see that you seem to think that becoming a father will mean you’ll get to hang around the house and read and write books. That’s what you mean by becoming a “Man of letters,” right? That you’ll use your new house-husband dad status to become a writer of books? Yes? Let me pause for a second while I laugh my ass off.
Hang on. Still laughing. Okay. Now I’m crying. Okay. Now I’m thinking about the last phone call I had with my literary agent. Okay, now I’m slamming a blackberry Truly. Okay. Now I’m crying again.
QUENTIN. Dear, sweet Reservoir Dog Future Dad. I gotta tell you, buddy, as someone who has published one book so far, having a kid does not put you in a great position to just randomly finish books. I told my agent I’d be done with my second book like the year my wife was pregnant. That was three years ago, brosef. I’m not saying I haven’t made progress, and I’m not saying I don’t find time to write, but you realize that this parenting shit is like having two full-time jobs, right? I love reading books. I love it. I would honestly go crazy if I didn’t read books. But do you know what happened last night while I was reading Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey? I’ll tell you. My 2.5-year-old toddler started screaming, in her crib, that she needed to go poo-poo and that it was time to be awake. She also started singing the chorus of Roxette’s “The Look,” you know the part: “She’s got the loooook.” Seem cool right? Kind of like something in one of your movies — you know cool pop culture reference layered on top of something very visceral, like a person’s need to take a shit at 10:00 pm at night.
Anyway, the point is, Quentin, is that I’m not really all that close to having finished that Jane Austen book, and the reason why is that I’ve barely started it because potty training is real, bro. My wife and I picked that book for our new book club because it’s mad short, like easily the shortest Jane Austen book. But we haven’t really gotten very far on it because of the aforementioned person who screams in her crib at 10:00 pm at night.
Look, I’m not saying you can’t read and write when you have a kid. You can! I was able to write a review of your last movie, which, I gotta say, I loved. But, small secret here bud — and even my editor doesn’t know this until now — I had to go see the movie twice because the first time, I had to leave early, because, you guessed it, a certain someone needed tucking in for her bedtime and my wife needed a hand.
So, take it from one man of letters to another. I managed to find the time to write you this letter. But, I rent an office to make that happen. Working from home — even reading books from home — is hard in these first couples of years. I became a man of Netflix in the first six months of my daughter’s life, which was great, because I was behind on Stranger Things at the time, and it was a good show to watch while she was sleeping on my chest at 3:00 am. If you figure out how to catch-up on a bunch of literature and write a few books in those stolen moments, give me a call. Because, the way I see it, all these things are possible, man. They totally are. But they’re not going to happen for a while.
Personal dad projects take years, Quentin Tarantino. And that’s because the real project is the lifeform you have to worry about constantly.
Okay. Gotta go. Somebody (I won’t say who) just pissed on my 1st edition of The Sun Also Rises. I’ll write to you again when I’m done with the hairdryer and when we’ve both written a few new novels.
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