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Not a comedy, but he may occasionally say something that strikes you as funny. We learn more about growing up in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire than ever before. We hear again the wonderful teachings that changed the world. We see the ending that left his foll Just a man talking about his life. We see the ending that left his followers crestfallen. But an ending that was also a beginning, and that brought down the world's mightiest empire, creating new vistas for mankind.

Jesus is beyond history. The leading celebrity, religious figure, and historical figure of the last 2, years. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. Published July 17th first published July 13th More Details Original Title. Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Absolutely enjoyed this book! It fits right in on a lot of my beliefs - Jesus was a man first and we are all sons and daughters of God!

He says in the book: You have come to me seeking a miracle.

You have come to me seeking a sign. YOU are the miracle. YOU are the sign. Think about it! For me in my life this is so true! Jesus is the WAY, like a road to be followed, not to stand back and admire. He was put here to teach us how to take care of ourselves and brought us closer to morals!

The Self-Made Man: How Stephen Elliott Writes His Life - The Atlantic

T Finished! This book humanized the legend. It gave me a much better understanding of how the people in that time lived. Everything in this book is plausable. All you need do is open your mind - one reviewer said Jesus never married and would certainly never marry a pagan. This book says "why not? He was a man first. Being Pagan was the "religion" of the time and is making a come back. She was free spirited and fiery why wouldn't Jesus be attracted to her plus Jesus always loved most people that needed guidance and structure.

I thought, he's a man, why couldn't a man fall in love and want to be married. This is the authors reason for Jesus' missing 12 years - other people have Jesus in a Buddhist Monestary - we will never really know. Yes we are! We each walk our own path to our own salvation. You are the one making the choice, the decision you can't keep blaming Jesus for them! Elliott writes as Jesus : "It was increasingly obvious to me that my role was not an ordinary one, even by the standards of the prophets.

And yet I was hard put to codify just what was thrusting me forward at this speed, like a modern train through a tunnel. Trains aside, Elliott's book is harmless enough, even understandable -- a little like that dog-eared junior Bible you shied away from at church camp, only with attitude. They promise something new, some vague reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls, and you come away And I've got to tell you that the people who are mocking or skeptical at the start are the people at the end who have the most searching, spiritual questions.

In a press kit, he jokingly described Jesus' presence: "He has a lot of charisma, obviously, a wonderful melodious speaking voice -- but very masculine -- and like I say, he puts you at ease right away. It was a little like an out-of-the-body experience. And you need sunglasses for the halo. He must have been a person that a lot of people wanted to be around.

Some embellishments were necessary just to fill in the gaps. No, I don't get into that," he jokes. People around the world take it a little more naturally. That's not really Jesus' story: Did he have sex or didn't he have sex? Did he crap, or drop a load in the toilet? Best of all, though, is the campy rendition of JC gracing the cover, a sad-looking bust with penciled-in eyebrows.

Even more frightening than a drag Jesus, however, is the extremely fluffy "Travel Guide to Heaven" being proffered by DeStefano. Like others, including Elliott, his aims were true. When he refers to religions as flavors, he starts to sound a little less like a guru than a Long Island pizzeria philosopher -- which is appropriate, considering the toppings he offers for your heavenly enjoyment. They've got all these cloudy images with disembodied spirits floating around, and halos and harps -- all that nonsense.

How the heck is anybody gonna get enthusiastic about that? I wanted to write something that addressed the disconnect between the greatness of the teachings of heaven to the corresponding lack of enthusiasm," he says. If you know that there's a chance that you're gonna be blown up by some crazy terrorists, then it's hard to just go about your life, y'know, tra-la-la.

Stephen Elliott is a man who can't sit still. A member of the Dave Eggers literary cult, he's the author of seven books over the past 14 years, including The Adderall Diaries and Happy Baby , the latter of which was named one of the best books of by Salon and the Village Voice.

He has covered politics for the Huffington Post , followed bands for Spin magazine, and written erotica collections that appeared in Best American Sex Writing anthologies. At the heart of Elliott's brand is the story of a man coping with his childhood. In his fiction, he invents plots, characters, and conflicts to talk about the real trauma in his own life. On his website, TheRumpus. His angry father, his mother's death when he was young, the three months he spent in a mental institute—they all appear in his writing, along with tales of sexual escapades in Amsterdam, drug binges in Chicago, and his constant struggles with loneliness.

The Self-Made Man: How Stephen Elliott Writes His Life

His success comes from making public what most people guard privately. Elliott grew up in a middle-class neighborhood on Chicago's north side and comes from a family of writers. His father, who made his living in real estate, wrote short fiction and plays he wrote The Autobiography of Jesus Christ , which was put out by a print-on-demand publisher in ; his older sister is now a health reporter for a trade publication.

Elliott says he began writing in —a year after his mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis—to make sense of the world. Over the next few years—as Elliott has recounted in interviews, in his books, and in essays published on various websites, including The Rumpus —he watched his mother slowly erode on his family's couch. He and his sister would bathe her. Every day, he would empty the urine bucket she kept by her side.


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During that time, Elliott's behavior wasn't entirely angelic. The year he started writing, scribbling poems and taping them to his bedroom walls, he began smoking cigarettes and weed. He and his friends grew their hair long and broke into parking meters. Elliott said he was drinking and dropping acid by His mother died when he was After her death, Elliott's father became angry and his behavior appeared erratic, according to Roger Dimitrov, Stephen's childhood best friend.

Dimitrov, now a psychology PhD student in Chicago, remembers Stephen's father as imposing and icy. Once, Elliott has written, his father shaved his head after an argument. Not long after, he handcuffed Stephen to a pipe in their basement when the teen threatened to commit suicide. Elliott ran away after that and, as he does with most things in his life, he eventually used those stories in his work. That's what the caseworkers could never understand.

It wasn't the handcuffs or the beatings or his shaving my head. That was nothing. It was the terror. If he was cold, he hid out in a laundromat. Stephen spent his 14th birthday drinking cheap vodka in the basement of a building he had broken into. Eventually, months after he had left home, the police found Stephen sleeping in a doorway and hauled him in. Stephen became a ward of the state, living in and out of group homes or on friends' couches until he turned Despite his upbringing, no one who knew him doubted his intellect.

Stephen went on to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During his junior year, he told me, he dropped out and moved to Amsterdam. He worked as a barker in the red light district, luring passersby on the street into live sex shows. Theo, the main character in Happy Baby , does the same. Amsterdam, Elliott has written, was where he had his first encounter with sadomasochism.

It was an experience he described in explicit detail in an essay on the culture and sex website Nerve. She had spiky hair, clay-colored skin, and called herself "mommy. He felt oddly comforted and terrified by what she did to him. Throughout his college years, Elliott kept writing. When he returned to school, he started gaining recognition for his work. After college, Elliott returned to Chicago and worked odd jobs as he tried to get his work published. For several months, he worked as a stripper on the city's north end. That job later inspired Elliott's third novel, What It Means to Love You , a story of three dancers who navigate Chicago's sex-work underworld.

He also began hanging out with other writers, filmmakers and artists—bright, creative people who, like himself, had tough upbringings. With them, he experimented with cocaine and other drugs. By the time he entered graduate school for film studies at Northwestern University, Elliott told me, he was shooting heroin. Once, he injected himself with a dose of heroin that nearly killed him. The scene appeared in The Adderall Diaries.

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It was Thanksgiving of , he said, and he spent eight painful days in a hospital bed recovering from his overdose. There is no such thing as a turning point in Elliott's life. What's clear is the role writing has played in helping him escape his circumstances, especially the agonizing ones. After his overdose, Elliott published his first professional story, called "A Coward and a Thief," which was about his relationship with his father.

It appeared in a nonprofit monthly magazine called The Sun in He was living out of his car at the time, driving cross-country. When it was published, the story received no critical attention. Elliott craved recognition, he told me, and to achieve that, he decided he needed to produce something better for a publication with a wider circulation. The next few stories he submitted to publications were all rejected. He wrote the novel. It was called Jones Inn. It was based on journals Elliott kept during the months he was on heroin.

The second "T" was dropped from his last name. In , Elliott moved to San Francisco on a whim. Three years later, he received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship, a prestigious award to spend two years writing in residence at Stanford University. The fellowship was the first time Elliott had dedicated himself purely to the craft of writing. The story of Happy Baby travels backward in time, following the novel's narrator, Theo, as he copes with the emotional scars he suffered at group homes as a child. Dave Eggers, the book's editor, said that the reverse chronological order of the book was a happy accident; Elliott had unintentionally sent in sections of the manuscript backward, and Eggers thought the story was more powerful ordered that way.

Salon 's review of Happy Baby claimed it was "a most impressive little novel, heartbreakingly and bewilderingly alive in a way most bigger books can't even imagine. Elliott's memoir, The Adderall Diaries, came out in The book is about how he coped with a paralyzing spat of writer's block by self-medicating with a drug commonly used to treat ADHD.

He begins by following a murder trial in the Bay Area, but the book ultimately shifts to ruminations about Elliott's own past and his struggles with his father. So, Elliott decided to publicize the book himself. He organized a lending library, offering an advance copy of the book to readers if they would pass it on to others after a week. He also went on what he called a do-it-yourself book tour across the country, reading in people's homes if they agreed to host at least 20 people. He filled 73 readings in 33 cities in three months. The tour was covered in the Times.

He also developed an iPhone app for The Adderall Diaries , creating one of the first interactive apps for a book. It included a discussion board for readers to talk about the memoir with others, 60 extra pages of book-tour diaries, a video interview, and a feed to keep readers up to date with news and events.

The Times ran a story on that, too.