Rants and Raves

So the first thing you'll want to know about my jaunt up to Seattle to see Mr. Chuck Palahniuk is did I ask him for a blurb. The answer: no. I'll offer no excuses. Well, maybe just one. There were like 500 people at Town Hall and the line was massive I opted for a pre-signed copy of Rant and took my seat––45 minutes early mind you.

There were quite a few people––of both genders naturally––wearing wedding gowns, who'd taken Chuck up on his offer for pre-signing wedding photography. He wore a classy tux with tails for his role as the happy groom.

I'll have to give him this, the man can throw a reading, and he had the most amazing swag. For starters he passed out fake cigarettes to everyone in attendance that puff talcum powder into the air like a goth concert. People that correctly answered Chuck related trivia were rewarded with big blow up moose heads (pre-inflated), people who asked questions got copies of Monica Drake's Clown Girl, a book on disturbing interior design, that I'd kill to take a look at (can't remember the name––anyone?), and a bridal bouquet. Before it was over he had dumped out piles of fake amputated limbs and rubber hamburgers and threw them into the audience.

He read two unpublished shorts, Love Nest and Cold Calling, the first a truly disturbing vision of a time share in the slums used by bored suburbanites to fetishize killing methheads, the second was a hilarious story of telemarketing in the outsourcing era.

The most interesting tidbit from the evening was a response to an audience question. Chuck was asked if he felt bad when people started up fight clubs, or purposely choked in restaurants as a result of his contribution to American pop culture. He laughed, said (and I paraphrase), you must think I'm fucking brilliant. You're wrong. I'm just observant, everything in my books is a fictionalized version of things that have already happened.

He discussed how he puts himself into situations and groups where stories will flow naturally, and then he collects. Certain stories lend themselves to be "topped" by others, until, eventually, you arrive at that ultimate of stories. This, he told, was how the story Guts came to be (If you haven't read Guts, you're a chicken shit wuss, you must turn off the computer and go pick up Haunted).

Near the end of the reading, he told the ultimate of his gross stories. I can't repeat it here, it would take far too long to set up. But I your steely stomached blogger felt a twitch in my gut, and before I realized it my mouth was hanging open. Nothing shocks me.

Nothing except Chuck. Cheers.


Anonymous said…
Wow, I'm jealous.