“Loren Olson’s stories about coming out later in life, moving to the country, and starting a farm with his partner will inspire you to live your best life and also to appreciate the mundane. They will make you laugh and they may make you squirm with discomfort—in the best way. In sharing his personal stories, Olson adds a unique take to the burgeoning work in rural queer studies, which asks us to see the dynamic, complicated, and wonderful ways that life is lived in the country. Olson manages to tell his stories in a way that will help you see yourself and those around you with more compassion and care. Grab a cup of coffee and a slice of banana bread for what feels more like a conversation with an old friend than a book with a beginning and an end.”
—Carly Thomsen, PhD, author of Visibility Interrupted: Rural Queer Life and the Politics of Unbecoming
“Loren Olson has put together an amazing collection of essays, providing some insight into what life was like growing up LGBTQ+ in the fifties and sixties in Middle America. He shines a light on coming out late in life, at a time when family values ran strong and privacy amongst neighbors was almost nonexistent. Back then, we had no guidebook . . . no roadmap to help us understand what felt like a very private journey for most of us as we grew up with these newfound sexual feelings that didn’t seem in sync with our childhood friends. He also explores the conflict of loving another man during this period in our collective history and the immense complications of expressing and exploring one’s emotional connections in a same-sex relationship.”
—Matt Skallerud, President, Pink Media
—Toby Johnson, author of Finding Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph Campbell
“Loren Olson shares intensely personal essays in this memoir, and we are all the better for it. The themes include infidelity, suicide, forgiveness, love, and sexuality. Although they are universal, they are rarely shared with honesty. Dr. Olson is a gifted storyteller, and we follow his engaging and informative tale from his small-town childhood to successful and authentic aging. His journey and this book are both triumphs!”
—William Dameron, author of the New York Times Editors’ Choice, The Lie: A Memoir of Two Marriages, Catfishing & Coming Out
“Olson has done a magnificent job of revealing life—real life. He spent too much time of his life hiding, concealing thoughts and actions, and seeking approval from others. He now has burst back into life with carefree, explosive enthusiasm and talent that translates very well onto paper. Olson’s honesty about events, thoughts, and actions in his life is refreshing. His energetic desire to share these deep, secret stories rings through loud and clear. His purpose lies in showing all of us that life is real, and while you may not like some of what life dishes out, you learn to accept what you have and work with that. This is a must-read. Five stars!”
—Larry Jacobson, award-winning and bestselling author of The Boy behind the Gate, Let’s Go!, Navigating Entrepreneurship, and ReDefine Your Retirement
“Loren Olson writes with sensitivity about being a gay man over forty. This is a true story of a man finding himself. Humble beginnings and intriguing stories take the reader on a path to discovery with Loren as the guide and main character. Loren has a way of writing that seems like he is talking to you personally and may help you discover your true self.
“Powerful and candid. Dr. Olson’s candor will appeal to readers of all ages and backgrounds. His essays explore the deep connections between sexuality, gender, and self-identity. Younger readers will get a glimpse into how much our world has changed while older readers will recognize their own journeys. Everyone will be reminded how much how we need each other.”
—Ginger Campbell, MD, author of Are You Sure? The Unconscious Origins of Certainty
“No More Neckties had me at the first line of the preface, and again at the second paragraph. As psychiatrists, we’re trained not to disclose too much, and Dr. Olson lets us know that he’s broken that rule. He shares more than we ever get to know about even our closest friends, but that’s what makes his writing amazing—raw, personal, intimate, emotional, relatable, and real. By allowing us to walk with him through his life journey in all its unpolished reality, he opens new routes for understanding.
“The chapters on words—‘homosexual’ versus ‘queer’—were perfectly paired—and perhaps most relevant to me as a training director and the parent of a nonbinary kid. The idea of orientation versus ‘preference’ is super important to get across and Olson’s grandson (like many of his generation) gets it. This is a very hopeful way to set up the lovely affirmation of life that he closes with.”
—Scott A. Oakman, MD, PhD, Program Director, Hennepin-Regions Psychiatry Training Program
“No More Neckties: A Memoir in Essays by Loren Olson is a collection of captivating and authentic vignettes from his life. The book describes his unique journey as a gay man, but it also offers a window into the gritty complexity of what it means to be a human being. His writing conveys a refreshing quality of uninhibited freedom. No More Neckties was a genuine delight to read.”
—William Huggett, MD, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst
“No More Neckties is Dr. Olson’s personal memoir; it speaks to me. Dr. Olson is courageous and honest, brutally honest with his self-revelations.
“No matter our orientations, we all face the challenges of honesty, trust, growth, temptation, betrayal, jealousy, and forgiveness. In exposing his flaws and scars, Dr. Olson allows us to see our own. More importantly, in sharing his journey, we see that we are not alone!
“While No More Neckties deals with some of the most traumatic of human experiences with candor and grace, there are anecdotes of levity. Some, no many, anecdotes are coffee-spitting-out-your-nose funny! I laughed and I cried often while devouring No More Neckties.
“This is not a self-help guide, and he doesn’t give directions, but the following can serve as a model for introspection on the path to authenticity:
I believe I have always made the best decisions I could make with the information I had at the time I made those decisions. If it later turns out that things didn’t work out the way I’d hoped, so what? I couldn’t have done it differently.
“This is a valuable world view! It may be one of Dr. Olson’s greatest contributions. It replaces irrational guilt with rationality and was an invaluable aid for me. I recommend it to others struggling with self-doubts and recriminations.”
—e. J. Duffy, PhD
“I was fortunate to read an early release copy of Loren Olson’s memoir, No More Neckties. The stories are light and interesting, sparking reflections on my own past and asking myself ‘what if’ I had made some of the same choices, and ‘what might be’ as I move forward in life? Memoirs are always a fun read to better understand another person’s life, but if internalized, they can be opportunities to explore the reader’s own past and possibilities for the future. While no two lives are the same, we can all benefit from each other’s experiences.
“While my military career was after the Vietnam War and all of the politics surrounding that era, I could relate to Loren’s thoughts in the chapter “Tarnished Mettle” about service, sacrifice, and family expectations, both stated and unstated. Many of my early mentors were a product of that time. Loren’s desire for the forbidden and unexplored aspects of life resonate with me, especially as a man that accepted his sexuality late in life. Unlike the author, I never mustered the courage to press the boundaries of propriety, and I often reflect on what might have been had I been so bold.
“Take a break from the world and reflect on Loren’s life in No More Neckties. You may find something that sparks a memory or illuminates the future you desire.”
—David Cotton, retired Brigadier General, United States Air Force
“Olson brilliantly captures society’s historical view of gay people (as perverts, deviants, and pedophiles) that forced many to live lives clothed in secrecy and fear. Sadly, churches shamefully ostracized gay people and declare—even to this day, against all modern scientific evidence—that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and contrary to natural law. Before coming out, these cold dogmas filled us with guilt and shame. We felt unwanted and unloved for being who we are and not cherished for being gay men created and loved by God. I, like the author, have found freedom in embracing my sexual identity, and this book is a great joy and source of solace for me.”
—Father “Lee,” Ireland
“The title of this book, No More Neckties, is a fitting representation of the refreshing authenticity, intimacy, and candor that the reader will discover within its pages. Dr. Olson is a gifted writer and storyteller who captures readers’ attention and deepens their interest as his life story unfolds. What sets this autobiographical work apart from so many others is Dr. Olson’s capacity for introspection and analysis of his motivations and those of others mentioned in the book. This analytic element transcends the author’s personal experience, which makes reading these pages a deeply personal experience for the reader as well, and challenges us to think about our own lives and their hidden secrets, given that we all share many of the experiences that the author describes—in one form or another. Dr. Olson’s courageously honest no-holds-barred description of the intimate and significant life events that he experienced are highly commendable!”
—Basil Vareldzis, MD, MPH
“In his latest book, Dr. Olson reflects on his life and, through a compelling series of short stories, considers the influences of society, family, organisations, community, and relationships—articulating the various ways they collectively shape, influence, and interact with self and identity across the full range of life domains.
“The power of narrative and the influence of the ‘self-stories’ that build up around us over the course of our lifetimes are articulately captured through stories that capture the complexities of developing and expressing sexual orientation, intimacy, trust, hurt, emotional-self regulation, acceptance, and communication. Through acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, and connection (to self and others), love ultimately has the power to transcend and transform.
“Through this deeply personal account of one gay man’s journey to make sense of life, readers will find themselves reflecting on their own self-stories and feel empowered by his refreshing openness, honesty, and authenticity.”
—Craig White, PhD, Honorary Professor, Institute of Health and Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Scotland
“Dr. Loren Olson’s memoir, No More Neckties, is a powerful literary journey across the ages. He courageously and unabashedly disrupts conventional thinking about the complex issues of sexuality, aging, and self-love. His unique perspective as a psychiatrist brings life to his personal experiences in a unique way, allowing readers to find meaning and value as they search for their own truth.”
—Jeff Livingston, MD, CEO, MacArthur Medical Center, and cofounder, Medika Life
“[As a Black woman], I find myself a reluctant reader of that which emanates from the pen of the ‘pale, stale male,’ but after devouring No More Neckties, Dr. Loren Olson will forever remain an exception (and there’s certainly nothing ‘stale’ about him or his latest offering!). Olson is a superb storyteller whose candor and honest introspection of his own life and experiences make him relatable to all ages, races, genders and sexualities.
“No More Neckties offers as much in the way of social and historical commentary as it does in personal memoir. It’s a compelling but hugely informative read and one that should be thrust into the hands of parents and educators alike as required reading.”
—Sara-Jayne Makwala King, presenter, Cape Talk, Primemedia Broadcasting, Cape Town, South Africa
“Required reading for anyone who has ever felt different, marginalized, or comes from a target demographic. . . . There isn’t a soul who hasn’t felt the pain and isolation of living and this book acknowledges that and challenges the reader to keep going and find out what happens next. . . . This is a book that reveals one human’s story and a greater understanding of the culture, diversity, trials, isolation, and ultimate unmasking of the folks who identify as LGBTQ++.”
—JD Wolfe, Certified personal coach
“Olson’s honesty in No More Neckties is both astonishing and necessary. With vulnerability, grit, and humor, his stories put into words what people need to talk about but usually don’t: suicide, infidelity and forgiveness, hypocrisy, the underbelly of sexuality, and the opportunities of aging. He also gives readers a carefully reasoned examination of the joys and pitfalls of coming out late and age-gap relationships.”
—Tim Turner, playwright
“As he walks us down his ‘dirt road’ of self-discovery, Loren is brutally honest about the struggles he has faced and overcome. Dr. Loren A. Olson states throughout his book, No More Neckties, that he does not have all the right answers. However, he presents readers with his raw experiences, which allow them to feel connected to him in an open and honest way, so readers may come up with their own ‘right’ answers. . . . He gives readers permission to be themselves, make mistakes, and learn from them to grow and be better. He shows how sexuality changes over time and how people’s understanding of their own sexuality impacts their relationship with themselves, significant others, and the world. . . . He is honest and up front with the reader, no matter how that makes him look.
“This journey that Loren takes us on through his internal and external coming out process allows the reader to identify with Loren and realize there is no single right way. We all learn and grow as we come out and age. Coming out is not a stagnant event, but a continual learning process about self, sexuality, and how we engage with the world around us. By the end of the book, Loren becomes an ‘extra grandpa’ to the reader—you care for him and feel as though you have been friends for a long time.”
—Erik Hutchison, ordained clergy and psychotherapist