Synopses & Reviews
In Sometimes I Think About It, Stephen Elliott gathers personal essays, reportage, and profiles written over 15 years to tell a powerful story about outsiders and underdogs.
Moving from the self to the civic, the book begins with a series of essays that trace Elliott's childhood with an abusive and erratic father, his life on the streets as a teenager, and his growing interest in cross-dressing and masochism. These stories, which range from a comic portrait of a week spent hosting his younger brother to a brutal depiction of depression, provide a context for the essays that follow.
Stepping out into the world, Elliott tells of a man who loses his family in a rock slide in Southern California, explores the vexing realities of life in Palestine, and paints a chilling picture of a young man caught in the prison-industrial complex. The last section, "The Business of America Is Business," shows Elliott's abiding interest in the spectacle of money in America, from pop music to pornography to publishing, and it concludes with an off-kilter account of the tech industry's assault on West Los Angeles.
Building on the extraordinary storytelling that characterized his breakout book, The Adderall Diaries, Elliott's search for dignity and happiness leads him to tell with great sympathy the stories of those who are broken and seek to be whole.
“Stephen Elliott’s essays treat the darkest subjects with the lightest touch, showing humanity’s ugliness as one side of a spinning coin, with beauty on the other; how beauty is often suspect, brutality easier to trust. Frankly intimate and frequently funny, Elliott’s observations — on loneliness, on sex work, on the people of Silicon Valley — open distances that you sensed but couldn’t see until he showed you: there, there.” Padma Viswanathan
“I am among the many readers who have been waiting impatiently for a new book from Stephen Elliott. I devoured Sometimes I Think About It in a matter of hours and set about rereading it at once. I did this because I read to feel the presence of a wise, true friend on the page and because Stephen Elliott never fails to supply that, plus amazement and sorrow and every detail the rest of us miss. He is writing here in the tradition of Didion and Hunter Thompson. These are fierce meditations on outcasts and outlaws, on what it means to have your world slip out from under you. I cannot think of a writer who reveals to us the terrors and wonder of disequilibrium like Elliott. This is exquisite work from one of our finest writers.” Steve Almond
“In lean, often heartbreaking prose, Stephen Elliott gives us an American landscape defined by lost opportunities for human connection. There are sons without fathers, left unprotected; fathers who cannot love their sons; grown men haunted by the absence of family. In intensely personal essays and intimate reported stories Elliott writes of this painful gap — between our need for closeness and our actual capacity to care for one another.” Alex Mar
“I love these essays so hard I want to chew on them. For the bite of it. Stephen Elliott has the uncanny ability to go out into the culture and locate a self set loose from consumer culture and money identity. When it comes to outsider bodies and lives and stories, Stephen Elliott is there to remind us that the edges are where our cultural shape comes from. Without the edges, the center doesn't even exist. Sometimes I Think About It is an outsider tour de force.” Lidia Yuknavitch
"An essay collection by a writer who may be writing under...the influence of genius." Vanity Fair
About the Author
Stephen Elliott is the author of eight books, including Sometimes I Think About It, Happy Baby, and The Adderall Diaries, a Best Book of the Year in Time Out New York and Kirkus Reviews, and one of 50 Notable Books in the San Francisco Chronicle.
His novel, Happy Baby, was a finalist for the New York Public Library's Young Lion Award, as well as a Best Book of the Year in Salon.com, Newsday, Chicago New City, The Journal News, and The Village Voice.
Elliott's writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, The Believer, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading, Best American Erotica, and Best Sex Writing.
He is the founding editor of the Rumpus and senior editor at Epic Magazine. He created the web series Driven and has directed three movies: About Cherry, Happy Baby, and After Adderall.
Stephen Elliott on PowellsBooks.Blog
Describe your latest book.
Currently I’m promoting my essay collection, Sometimes I Think About It
, and the rerelease of my novel, Happy Baby
. I’m also deep in a new novel tentatively titled, A Painter Is a Spy for a Lazy Country
, and writing and directing the web series Driven