Introducing myself, finding your passion, and who wants to start a Steemit Book Club?

in #introduceyourself5 years ago (edited)

Greetings Steemers!  

Every family has a skeleton in the closet. This is how I found mine.

First sentences are important: They are magnets for short attention spans. We will get to that skeleton shortly.

First of all, thanks for a great reception to my first post:

I’m excited by this community because, among other things, there’s the model, which is inclusive rather than exploitative of “content producers.” It’s amazing to watch the community evolve. And it’s mostly positive. That is, except for a few Your-Posts-Are-Making-More-SBD-And-I-Think-Mine-Are-Better-So-I’m-Going-To-Downvote-Yours haters.

(Not to mention the We-Want-More-People-Here-But-Only-If-They-Don’t-Write-Popular-Posts-That-Compete-With-Mine individuals – you know who you are.)

So this is my long-overdue IntroduceYourself post.

My name is Neil Strauss, and I’ve written eight New York Times best-selling books and thousands of articles for Rolling Stone and The New York Times. My life goal when I was eighteen was simply to write for the local weekly paper, so all this has been beyond a dream come true.

So this IntroduceYourself is about passion, purpose, and dreams.

I’m going to tell my story here, which is something I’ve never done before, not even on my own blog or in my books.

When I was a kid, I was the smallest kid in class, had thick glasses, wore cheap polyester clothes, and was always picked last for sports teams (or on a really exciting day second-to-last), even after all the girls in the class. My mother was constantly criticizing and punishing me, which didn’t help my self-esteem much either:

So I escaped into books. There, I found a world where kids like myself were stopping crime and saving the world (even when they were grounded) and breaking the rules and successfully dealing with problems like mine.

It opened my eyes to the power of words, and soon I was reading books way beyond my age level. I could usually be found walking around school with my head down, an open book in my hands. Even during naptime, I cradled a book between my folded arms and continued to read.

There was one other person in my class who read a lot named Alyssa—and I wanted to marry her, even though I was never able to work up the courage to talk to her.

By second grade, I knew what I wanted to do with my life:

And by fourth grade, I had written half a dozen books, some of them with one of my few “friends” Chuck, and all of them atrocious.

But I was so proud of them. I found a book with the names of agents and publishers in the library, and sent them my Hardy Boys-inspired “masterpiece”:

You’d think that they’d be touched to receive this hand-written submission from a couple of young, hopeful eleven-year-olds. Maybe they’d want to encourage a child’s dreams.

But…I didn’t get a single personal response.

It was the first of many rejections to come.

But I kept writing…and reading…and writing…and reading…and submitting my stories to magazines and journals with no success or even vague interest.

During my senior year in high school, there was a swim coach named Greg Baker. He was also one of the school’s English teachers. Before teaching, he was a swimmer training for the Olympics, but was partially paralyzed in a car crash and had to use a wheelchair:

He was teaching a course on James Joyce, which I wanted to take because every year after completing the book, he brought the students to his house to drink a Guinness Stout.

That probably wasn’t legal.

Anyway…when I read Ulysses, it blew my mind wide open: I didn’t know that it was possible to do so much with just words. It was not just a book, but an endless, bottomless puzzle: it was hypertext before there was hypertext.

And, as importantly, there were lots of dirty words, double-entendres, and sexual references in the book. It was amazing that art and literature could still be sexual and smutty. As an 18-year-old virgin, I definitely related to Leopold Bloom’s sexual frustration and obsession as well.

Since then, I’ve re-read the book every few years and I still find more in it every time. This is a page from my well-worn, obsessively marked-up copy:

It’s easy to tell which marks here I did when I first read it in high school: they’re the ones with all the dirty words underlined and annotated.

During freshman year of college in upstate New York, a friend of mine named Todd Polkes had gone to Manhattan to try out for an internship at a small avant-garde music magazine called Ear. They rejected him because they said he was too well-dressed.

As soon as he told me this, I knew the job was perfect for me, because I’m a slob. So I got the internship and began spending all my free time at the magazine, helping out in whatever way I could. No job was too low or small for me.  That’s where I first really learned about writing and editing, and received the guidance and mentorship I needed, until I was finally published for the first time.

And I learned that the publishers and magazines were right to reject my early work: It sucked. I had the passion but not the knowledge or experience. The lesson: Just having a dream is not enough; just having a mentor or guide is not enough; just working hard is not enough. You need to be receptive, positive, and open: in short, teachable.

I still see the publisher of Ear, Carol Tuynman, to this day. Here we are just two months ago in Alaska, where she lives now:

With those first clips at Ear, I was able to send them to another magazine, Option, to get writing assignments. At Option, they didn’t know I was a young college kid living in a dorm, and I never told them. I’d be on the phone with my editor trying to shut up everyone in the dorm so I could sound professional.

From Option, it was The New York Press. From the New York Press, it was The Village Voice, where Joe Levy, the editor there, truly taught me to write and appreciate good writing. Not much of this paid well (I got $75 a week at The New York Press), so I was sleeping on a sheet on a roach-inhabited floor because I couldn’t afford a mattress, but it was perhaps the most magical time of my life.

During senior year of college, I remember taking a girl on a date to a newsstand and showing her my byline in four different publications. It didn’t help, and I went home alone. In fact, I credit my career to my lack of social life and popularity. It gave me a lot of time at home alone to write.

The rest of my story, you can read on Wikipedia. That doesn’t mean it’s all true. But it’s at least more concise than this.

And because of how important Carol (and David Laskin) at Ear were, and Joe Levy at Rolling Stone, and later Jon Pareles at The New York Times, whenever I get a sincere, thoughtful email from a young writer who needs advice, I try to respond (if I’m not on a brutal deadline). Some of those writers have gone on to write New York Times best-selling books; others never mustered the discipline to finish a book.

To sum things up: If you’re having trouble finding your passion, try looking back on what you were doing when you were 11 years old or so. Was there anything meaningful you were doing that was just for you: Not for school and not for your parents?

That’s probably your passion.

I'll end this monster of a post with a quote from Joseph Campbell that I often think about and that ties everything here together: 

“I feel if one follows what I call his bliss – the thing that really gets you deep in the gut and that you feel is your life – doors will open up. They do. They have in my life, and they have in many lives I know. And…if you follow your bliss, you will have your bliss, whether you have money or not. If you follow money, you may lose the money and then you don’t even have that. The secure way is really the insecure way.”

Thanks for reading. And if anyone is interested in reading Ulysses with me when I dive in next, let me know and we can launch a Steemit Book Club.


And as for that skeleton, I found it in my father's closet when I was a teenager. It was a family sexual secret (most of them are), and it changed my life. I wrote a book about it called The Truth. It was the scariest thing I've ever done. My mother said: "If I'd known you were going to become a writer, I would have been nicer to you."

I think she was joking. Not sure though.

I believe that nearly every family has a skeleton in the closet. Some are more closely guarded than others. Hope you find yours, if you haven't yet, before it finds you.


Hi, Neil!

Great to have you here. The book club is a great idea!

I think the big question everyone is too afraid to ask (except me) : "When can I buy your next book with Steem dollars (or even any of your older ones)?"

As Michaellamden68 put it, brilliant. The elusive obvious. On it!

It's intuitively obvious to the most casual observer.

Welcome; what a brilliant suggestion!!

Meanwhile, the son of Michael Jackson already went 15th year ...
The young man is tired of bullying classmates in all schools where he studied, on behalf of his father. And he called his blanket. The child has changed its name to Bigi.

Read other interesting stories on my blog

Dude, you already have a (-1) rep. I don't feel like flagging you because it would be brutal on your (lack of a) future Steemit experience, but you really need to stop spamming your promotional link where it isn't remotely on topic. I strongly suggest you remove this comment before someone else who has less self-restraint than I do comes across it.

Great to have you around Neil. I hope your story helps giving some perspective to Steemians who whine that their writing doesn't get immediately the attention they think it deserves. I'm looking forward to observing the catalytic effect that having a veteran writer like you here will have on our community of budding writers and content creators.

Thanks, Recursive. And it's not just Steemians who whine about this: I know many published authors who do the same. I think the key is to make how well you write determine your success, not how well it is received.

Love the book club idea. Start the ball!

Great posting and brillant ideas, I'm looking forward to see the results and will follow the evolution of it all. Thank you so much, namaste :)

Being a book worm myself I fully support your idea @neilstrauss

For example we could all have steemit e-book accounts and share them. Whatever it is I am in.

Strauss, never thought I'd say this, but I do want to read Ulysses with you.

Wow. Great story and thanks for sharing! You recognized your passion at an early age. Look forward to your Steemit Book Club! Great idea!

This is fantastic. Thanks for posting. ​This story has inspired me to start writing on steemit. I appreciate all of your hard work. Thanks!

To sum things up: If you’re having trouble finding your passion, try looking back on what you were doing when you were 11 years old or so. Was there anything meaningful you were doing that was just for you: Not for school and not for your parents?

Indeed, one should find the things they truly enjoy for oneself when young. The money that come with it is just for the food, the house and other necessities that are created for the convenience of commodity exchanges. Can't bring money to the grave but can leave a legacy for your loved ones and many others. Rather enjoy the rest of the life doing something that one truly likes.

The book club idea is awesome. Count me in please!

The letter is a jewel:

My first poem was at 5: "Dad, you work harder than an ant/and I love you more than a dog." (metaphors, ugh--but very proud of my young self for "ant" leading into the "and" internal rhyme).

And yes, a bookclub would be a nice addition.

Thank you for shared this story. Your story inspires me to resume a project on a book that I am writing and also it inspires me to be a better father. I love the idea of an Steemit Book Club, please count with me.

It's an honor to have you here Neil. I read few of your books and now you are here, crazy :)

Thanks for sharing about your life as a writer. From your interviews with Joe Polish (Anatomy of Addictive Writing is the best) to Tim Ferriss, I always appreciate and am inspired when you talk in depth about writing.

Your story touches the heart. I wish you creative success and amazing discoveries. And love! Love is spilling out everywhere.

Sign me up. Read the biography of Marilyn Manson. I like to call him the pos(t)er boy of industrial. Maybe he should drop acid again. My brother read The Game. I dig your stuff.

great content and welcome to steemit bro

Hi Neil!

Great introduction.
Fantastic idea about book club.
Keep going. I will follow you on steemit.

Fisrt thanks for your post @neilstrauss :)
I am not really good in english, but when I wrote here every day words, I am every day better.

Hi @neilstrauss your story and writing is very good inspiration for people like me who does not possess a good writing skills.

@neilstrauss Welcome aboard! Listen I don't want to spoil a secret, but we've got a secret project going to encourage authors to create books and stories exclusive to steem and allow them monetize them through upvotes, donations and even sales.

For now if you have have content you want to contribute to that. just add the "storytime" hashtag to your works. Ideally these should be short stories, or individual chapters (blockchain has a limit on letter counts). Anyways, use that tag and it will be picked up automatically and added to the library of our ebook and tablet friendly reader front end to steemit.

For an example of what this can look like, take a look at this short story...

Note that I wrote it to use the max character count the blockchain can handle. So you can see how much content you can cram in there.

If you want to follow me, as soon as the app is ready for beta I'll be pinging all of my followers to let them know.

Anyways, great content and welcome aboard!

LOL ok, so I just realized you're an already published author. Somehow that just didn't register as I was reading your post. I really need to stop trying to use this site on my phone, looks like half the post is missing on my phone, but on my desktop it's just fine. My phone cuts off at The lesson: Just having a dream is not enough; just having a mentor or guide is not enough; just working hard is not enough. You need to be receptive, positive, and open: in short, teachable
So umm yeah, sorry about that.

The steembooks thing is meant to lure folks away from wattpad etc. But you're welcome to join us too!
As for your book club that's a great idea too. Trying to figure out how that would work in steemit in general. But we do have and if you ever want to do face to face video conferences I've been using which can handle a huge number of participants and has no cost.

Love what you're doing. Will follow you and stay tuned in, and maybe participate sometime as well. Have a ton of unpublished stuff I love on the hard drive, which is one of the reasons I'm here.

@neilstrauss Awesome and glad to hear it! I'm really excited to have someone who actually reads books, try this stuff out. So many people just quickly scan anymore and don't give themselves time to really enjoy it and think about what they just read.

Its actually really weird.... he didnt mention once that i noticed in this or the phil collins post what i guess might be his most "pop appeal" work. The Game... which is kind of a bible to douchey PUA types. I wouldnt have made the connection if he wasnt mentioned in another thread i wouldnt have made the connection myself.

Brilliant post Neil, good to see you back
And count me in on the book club, haven't read Ulysses before, look forward to it

Thanks, Stevo, not going anywhere. Sometimes it just takes a while between posts because of deadlines.

Thanks, Stevo, not going anywhere

How can you be sure of that? Futures contracts reduce degrees-of-freedom. I guess you mean given what you know now, you don't expect to be leaving Steem.

May I ask what is the motivation for you to promote to Steem so significantly (you have twice already given exclusivity to Steem)? Is it predominantly ideological or is it your male reader demographic is well represented in this cryptonerd space? I doubt it is the blogging rewards, as I presume you're rich already from your fame.

The ideological motivation would appeal to me the most.

Tangentially, I was nearly the same kid as you describe wearing polyester clothes, often being a recluse in my hobbies at home, and often selected near to last for sporting. The difference was I was getting a bloody nose every day at 5 years old playing tackle football and I loved it. And when they selected me near to last, they sometimes paid the price in defeat or at least some shock. So I was the nerdy looking smaller kid, who was deceptively athletic. And by age 13 or so, I had already filled out and I was not a virgin after age 15. And by high school, I had already become very social. And my hobbies were not just reading (although I did read the Hardy Boy series, I didn't have access to many other books) and I was also very into engineering and hacker activities. In retrospect when I decided one day in elementary without any outside influence that I would stop wearing underwear, I realized I was a rebel and I loved it.

Great story. And I think the secrecy of not wearing underwear story is great: you're rebelling but no one else can see it. Think you can draw a straight line from that to some of your later activities. As for what draws me here, it's a confluence of interests and curiosities that are converging on Steemit (which probably started ideologically with my book Emergency), but most of all, a feeling of excitement that I'm committed to always following. Same as my passions when I was a kid, I suppose. And I would never sign a contract that reduced my freedom to freely express myself.

👍nice post @neilstrauss , keep up the great ur work

@neilstrauss I have to thank you because I have my current girlfriend because of your book The Game. At first, she was just going to be the start of a long line of "hook ups".... But, she ended up winning my heart, and I stopped at the first one! :)

Excellent post btw. Welcome!

Nice. "To win the game is to leave it." Congrats on winning each others' hearts!

“I feel if one follows what I call his bliss – the thing that really gets you deep in the gut and that you feel is your life – doors will open up. They do. They have in my life, and they have in many lives I know. And…if you follow your bliss, you will have your bliss, whether you have money or not. If you follow money, you may lose the money and then you don’t even have that. The secure way is really the insecure way.”

Another way I have heard this sentiment expressed is someone said to me "The degree to which you can be comfortable living with uncertainty and risk is the degree to which you will experience success." Or in shorter form, another way: All the magic happens outside your comfort zone.

Following our bliss is usually terrifying, because since it is a passion it is also deeply something we feel vulnerable expressing, and our heart is much more invested in whether we fail or don't. I don't much care if I fuck up washing a dish, but I care if I misrepresent my own singing or writing talent by botching a note or failing to articulate what is floating around in my mind and heart.

The rule that reward is proportional to risk seems to me to be an unavoidable fact of reality the more I grow and learn.

Thank you, Neil for such a great post, I hope to read more from you that I value. I have heard of your works from friends but with all that I have going on in my own world of creating, I have yet to make reading your books a high priority (If only I had twice as much time in a day, right? Then I could just do everything ever!).

I have started reviewing good books on my Steemit blog. I am looking for a good read to end the summer.

steemit book club? sounds great! 8]

Hello @neilstrauss ! Thank you for your post and the book club is a great idea!

Just a question : " Will you connect your blog to Steemit soon ?"

Welcome Neil :)
and YES, let's launch a Steemit Book Club

Agreed. I'll write a post launching it next week. Would be great to hear what books you and others would want to start with. We can do Ulysses, as mentioned here. Have always wanted to read Infinite Jest too, so this could be some needed motivation to tackle it.

I'd love to read Infinite Jest with you, Neil.

I just finished the amazing and similarly dense The Power Broker by Robert Caro. After completing that, Infinite Jest finally seems possible.

For a lighter DFW, I recommend the book Although of Course You Becoming Yourself in the End.

Great, we now officially have a reading list going: Ulysses, Infinite Jest. And wonder if "Although Of Course" is better read before or after Infinite Jest. Will pick it up. Haven't seen the film version yet.

Nice, easy and interesting to read about you Neil. I wish I can write more about myself too. But some times depression holds my hand and mind and I lose my thoughts. Your article encourages me.

Love that image of depression holding your hand. I'd say write anyway, write through it. Some books to read: The Depression Book by Cheri Huber, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig.

From the Matt Haig book:
I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression. I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if - for me - it is the price of feeling life, it's a price always worth paying.

Also from the Haig book:
"The world is increasingly designed to depress us.
Happiness isn't very good for the economy.
If we were happy with what we had,
why would we need more?
How do you sell an anti-ageing moisturizer?
You make someone worry about ageing.
How do you get people to vote for a political party?
You make them worry about immigration.
How do you get them to buy insurance?
By making them worry about everything.
How do you get them to have plastic surgery?
By highlighting their physical flaws.
How do you get them to watch a TV show?
By making them worry about missing out. "

Thank you so very much...Advertise your life throughout as we are here to achieve our needs. I will read more and will try to write as well...

I guess I'll have to take a look at The Truth to find out more about the skeleton.

I'm sure it'll be interesting to see how things have changed and developed since the pick-up days.

When you find the skeleton let us know! I don't have time to read these days... ;)

Marvelous, simply marvelous.
Thanks for opening up that window onto a beautiful life. We become who we are because of our challenges, and at some point in life become grateful for every one of them, huh?
Loved this piece, excited by your book club idea, and thrilled to find Steemit! So thrilled that I wrote/posted before I read a single yeah, synchronicity.
Mossy Rivers

Thanks Mossy. And you put it perfectly: "We become who we are because of our challenges, and at some point in life become grateful for every one of them." I'd even add that if you can find a way to become grateful for the challenges not just afterward but during, the better off your life will be - and the better equipped you will be to handle them.

Neil, on behalf of all men, I'd like to thank you for creating "The Game".
After finishing it, I honestly had the most amazing month of my life. It was like a dream, like reliving your experience, the one you put down on paper in the book, but through my own eyes.
Thank you!

PS. I'm all in for the Book Club

Thanks nts-toolinthebox, amazing. And glad you're interested: going to make the Steemit Book Club happen. #sbc

First of all thank you for sharing this with us! I know for a fact that my family has skeletons I just don't know what they are, I don't know if I should find them first, because I don't fear them, but probably you're right, it's better to face uncomfortable situations.

I am interested in reading Ulysses, please count me in.
Also I am very interested in joining or helping with the book club, in fact I was already planning on writing a book about short stories that I wrote for steemit before the official launch last July. (short comedies mostly).

Anything I can do to help, please let me know.

And I'm sorry for the long text by the way.

" If you’re having trouble finding your passion, try looking back on what you were doing when you were 11 years old or so." Wow!

Funny you should say that, that's exactly how I've found my passion by remembering the things that made me happier, and the crazy part is that I've sent you an email telling you about it and thanking you the inspiration.

It dawned on me when I was watching a society's workshop with Andrew some time ago.

And now, you're here so I can thank you again. :)

Thank you!

the-alien, you are the first person here to volunteer to help with the book club. So I'm taking you up on that offer.

What's the best way to discuss? Slack?

Glad you saw that Andrew video and found your passion, looking forward to hearing more about it.

I'm absolutely happy to help of course!

Just emailed you, so you may want to edit the post to remove your email address.

Thank you! I will remove it right now. I just answered back, thanks once again!

For your information, the Steem Slack will be closing soon. is the current alternative.

Yeah it's true. It will close in 2 weeks right? I'm on as well. Great post the other day @complexring!

I have the luxury of being new to Steemit, seeing this year-old post for the first time, and wondering--what ever happened to this Steemit Book Club? I'll do some digging.

P.S. great to see Chris Powles on Steemit! We made it boys!

Hi @neilstrauss I'm a great fan of yours I will purchase the truth soon to see what it's all about and Ulysses. I just up voted you and it was worth $40 lol normally when I vote near the beginning of a post it's worth 1 cent. Must be part of the algorithm.

Yes it is part of the algorithm. Votes are much more powerful when voting along with others than they are when voting alone. The idea is to identify a consensus of voting, not just one person making a potentially stupid or malicious vote (not suggesting that you have ever done this).

welcome neil to steemit
it's really nice to lunch a book club

Good to be here. And looks like everyone else is into it too. Have some thoughts on how we can do it in a way that's egalitarian. So look for the SBC launch post next week.

Neil, I can't describe the impact that this post had on me, and I'm not even sure why. But thank you for it. It's truly fantastic. Welcome, again.

i am totally into the book club idea - i have never actually been in one, but i am an avid reader!

Thanks for the great article. And I would definitely like to join a Steemit bookclub.

I absolutely love reading your article. Fabulous :)

Neil thank you for being here. Also i have a more one reason to thank you because "The game" was a life changing book for me and it was the sparkle that made me what i am today!

Incredible. And don't forget: You made yourself who you are today. Congrats.

Thank you for the straight up courage to sllep next to those magical cockroaches! I've always wanted to read James Joyce but never knew how to dive in, as you say.

Steemit bookclub is a great idea, I'd be in

i love loovvve this post! Definitely resonates with me.

neilstrauss Neil Strauss tweeted @ 06 Aug 2016 - 21:35 UTC

My origin story; /

Disclaimer: I am just a bot trying to be helpful.

The book club is a great idea, now if only Oprah Winfrey could get hip to Steemit and get on board too…lol.

Welcome, and hugs!
Family skeletton are always either awkward or sad... i'm glad you didnt give up!

Wow, This inspiring me a lot. Thank you for sharing your thought!

Woah! This is not the Neil Strauss I remember about while reading The Game in my teenage years! This is the real Neil Strauss as an everyday dude like the rest of us! Great stuff!

The secure way is really the insecure way.

That's a gem of a quote from Joseph Campbell. Thanks for sharing your story and how that quote has played out in your life.

Glad to see you around :)

I enjoy writing and love books myself!
And I think that steemit is the perfect place to show your work to people!

Awesome to have you here! Can you get Tim Ferriss on here too?

Thank for this Neil, I read Rolling Stone when it first started but not since.
I am a Navy man and like the sea, the wine dark sea, the scrotum tightening sea....

A book club would be essence.

Welcome! I hope some of your books are not about anarchism!

This is an interesting post. Great to have a book club. Great ideas forming.

Its realy great idea. I hope this will be a great success.

Welcome aboard, Neil! You are one of my favourite writers!

Can you tell a little bit more how your parents reacted to The Truth? After I read it, I wondered how they felt when it was published. Revealing the family secret might have been quite embarrassing for them.

“I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth. If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can about each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.”
–Mary Sarton, on writing

I'd be interested in reading Ulysses. Haven't read it yet. :)

Defiantly down for a book club...but looking at that Ulysses text it looks almost like clockwork orange: indecipherable. How do you make sense of those words?
Maybe we could start with something else. Have you read the celestine prophecy? b.t.w. what do you mean by skeletons in the closet?

~ Peace and love

Now you're making me want to read Clockwork Orange. May have to add that to the book club reading list.

And since I've read Ulysses a few times before it, I can guide you through at least most of it so that it makes perfect sense.

I did read Celestine Prophecy a while back. And "skeletons in the closet" are dark or shameful family secrets.

Sounds interesting

please tell me how to achieve such things.

Loved The Game, not solely for the pick-up knowledge (which was certainly helpful to an introverted nerd) but your story telling was riveting. Particularly your Courtney Love anecdotes.

Welcome to the site, look forward to your blogs

Thanks, daut44. Read The Dirt too if you haven't yet, one of my favorites.

Hey @neilstrauss
I've read 2 of your books. I really enjoyed them. I'll look forward to reading the Truth. Funny how what we hate about our lives can also bring the greatest rewards...

Yes, it's all about our relationship to our own lives. To put what you wrote another way, the goal is to move from hate to acceptance. That small shift will serve you in more ways than you can imagine.

Yeah I touched on this in my intro (
I've made a number of solo theatre shows but looking back the one I gained the most from was my biggest failure. After the humiliation and disappointment of that show I found an empathy for other people that I'd never felt before. And it gave me the gift of being less concerned with the small stuff in life. It gave me a bigger perspective. Years later I produced a short doco animation called Good Grief (

), about people who had lost something/someone in their lives and the gifts that came out of their grief. We interviewed a lot of people with sad stories for that short and what I got from them was that living through such an emotional time was the depth of feeling they found in it. The wound is the reward. We often try to avoid discomfort but that's what helps you grow.
Similarly to that we avoid awkwardness. As a teacher I often see people hating being awkward. But feeling awkward means that you are learning something new. We don't feel comfortable when we learn something new. So now when I feel awkward I slow down and investigate it.

a couple of days ago, @dollarvigilante now @neilstrauss , next?
If more celebrities keep joining the platform other social media giants will have to start incentivizing their users. to our expansion!

if anyone is interested in a preview of a brand new novel i wrote please check out my steemit. i have the first 4 chapters out :)

Is that a toothpick in your mouf?...

Thanks for sharing your story, Neil - I could see aspects of my own history in yours, and I especially loved the hand-written note as a child. :)

Also, I loved "The Truth." One of our mutual friends on FB recommended it to me earlier this year in light of my recent relationship adventures.

Looking forward to more of your posts!

Thanks chriscade, and glad you enjoyed The Truth. Hope to see you in the book club!

This was beautiful . I am looking in the closet once again .......Thank you for that lesson

Great post. I too would be up for a Steemit bookclub.

To sum things up: If you’re having trouble finding your passion, try looking back on what you were doing when you were 11 years old or so. Was there anything meaningful you were doing that was just for you: Not for school and not for your parents?

Are you familiar with Cal Newport's ideas about this topic? He is pretty much the opposite:

American culture is obsessed with the idea that we need to “find our passion” in order to be happy and successful. But there’s a problem: “It’s astonishingly bad piece of advice,” says best-selling author Cal Newport. We have no pre-existing passion. Instead, passion is found by first building a rare and valuable talent and using it to take control of your career path. In other words, be so good and work so hard that no one can ignore you.

If there is ever a selfhelp bookclub, I suggest his latest book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. It is probably one of the best selfhelp books that I have read. Usually most books have good advice, but it's forgotten pretty much immediately after the book is finished and never actually used. But from Deep Work I got some habits that I'm actually using quite often nowadays. It's amazing how much you can do if you limit your social media usage – although this is quite hard now that we have Steem...

Keep up the great job. I just posted my 2nd, about Steemit big bucks and making new friends & business, bucks/business goes hand in hand right?

Hi Neil, I love how your mother said, "If I'd known you were going to become a writer, I would have been nicer to you." That made me laugh. As to the beginning of your post well haters are haters. When you get attacked its means you're effective and the best thing to do is flourish and prosper which by the popularity of your post you certainly are and that will drive the haters even more berserk. Well done mate. Well written and formatted too. I am new to all this and just finding my way. Thanks for the inspiration. Best, Tony P.S. if you get a chance check out my intro post -

Hi Neil.
That was a wonderful introduction, really. It urged me to follow you right away. Nowadays working for a magazine without real experience - or a lot of it really - is not the easiest of things to do.
If you don't mind I think I'll be one of those aspiring writers contacting you on facebook.
Looking forward for you next post!

Sign me up for the Steemit Book Club :) Maybe start with something more reading friendly than Ulysses so most peeps don't drop out

Hi Neil,

I am a young writer new to Steem. I wonder if you would consider using some of your valuable time to read my recently posted story

I hope this reaches you.
With love and respect,

Following your blog.

Good to see you writing here on steemit.

This was a great post and I can't wait for you to write more.

Wow-what a life!! I would love a Steemit Book Club-that would be awesome! I recently moved and I have 3 brothers and was calling them to help me pack & load-none them would pick up or txt.....hmmmm.....when I finally got settled in and invited them over I asked my middle brother why I could not get in touch with any of them- He stared at me in horror and said "Help you move???? Is all you own are books!!" He's right(moved 289 book cartons)! So great that you became a writer!

Great post Neil. Please count me into your book club when it gets going. I've attempted Ulysses a few times, but never finished it. Love Dubliners by Joyce though. Cheers, @davidbrogan

Beautiful, Neil. If the medium is the message, looks like you're going to be the first breakout of this brave new blockchain-enabled content era. I'm sure you'll come up with a better, more catchy descriptor for it than I can at the moment! Just bought "The Truth" based on the above and look forward to reading it. Plus, your story inspired me to post something I'd been holding back on. The hardest thing I've ever done and written:


Oh my God!
I'm so glad I stumbled upon this. I started writing when I was 11, or 10, can't really remember. But, I gave up for a while. I've written about 4 unpublished books which I wouldn't like to share with the world because they are grossly below par.
Writing comes easy to me and every of my siblings seems to agree that I should be a writer. has provided the great platform to hone my skills and I'm planning on doing just that.

This article has motivated me a lot and I can't wait to see my dreams actualize.
I believe that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Inspiring and good reading. Splendid.

Thanks for sharing! I'm in for book club.

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