“The goal is to make people laugh and then to really break their heart.”
Writer Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) has published twenty-three national and international best-selling books. These include fifteen prose novels, a collection of short stories, two graphic novels, two coloring books, a travel guide, a collection of essays, and a memoir about his life as a writer. He was raised in a desert town with a population of three hundred at the time of his birth in 1962. He received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.
Palahniuk is best known for his novels Fight Club and Choke, both of which were made into films. Publication of his short story Guts in the Sunday Guardian prompted a sharp drop in circulation. He frequently contributed fiction to Playboy, where his stories Romance, Cannibal, and Zombie had to be personally approved by Hugh Hefner. His new book, The Invention of Sound, is coming out on September 8th.
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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
Want to hear an episode with someone who got to bring one of Chuck Palahniuk’s characters to the silver screen? Check out my conversation with Edward Norton here, in which we discuss the creative process, creative struggle, the challenges of bringing characters from the written word to film, the gestation of art, and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with Chuck Palahniuk:
- The Invention of Sound by Chuck Palahniuk
- Fight Club: A Novel by Chuck Palahniuk
- Fight Club | Prime Video
- Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
- Choke | Prime Video
- Other Books by Chuck Palahniuk
- Guts by Chuck Palahniuk | YouTube
- The Lottery by Shirley Jackson | The New Yorker
- Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life after Which Everything Was Different by Chuck Palahniuk
- Is Chuck Palahniuk Too Big to Fail? | Publishers Weekly
- Types of Verb Forms and Functions in English | ThoughtCo.
- Burnt Tongue: A Writing Technique | Mr. Dicicco
- Dangerous Writing | Creative Writing Tutorials
- Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
- Rosemary’s Baby | Prime Video
- Thalidomide Babies and the Company That Was Responsible for Them | ATI
- Fight Club Author Chuck Palahniuk on His Book Becoming a Bible for the Incel Movement | The Guardian
- “Art is Anything You Can Get Away With” -Marshall McLuhan | PADENOM
- Skippers Seafood Restaurant 1983 Commercial with Don Pardo | YouTube
- Gone with the Wind | Prime Video
- Jaws: A Novel by Peter Benchley
- Jaws | Prime Video
- The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray
- Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve about Race and IQ Has Bad Policy Ideas | Vox
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- Seven | Prime Video
- Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art by Lewis Hyde
- Phoenix by Chuck Palahniuk | Books to Read in Under an Hour | Popsugar
- Binding of Isaac | Wikipedia
- The Gift: How the Creative Spirit Transforms the World by Lewis Hyde
- The Power of Myth — The Hero’s Adventure with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers | The Tim Ferriss Show #456
- Generation X by Douglas Coupland
- You’re an Adult. Your Brain, Not So Much. | The New York Times
- Beavers | Northwest Power and Conservation Council
- Will Millennials Boost the Fur Trade? | Business of Fashion
- The Devil Wears Prada: A Novel by Lauren Weisberger
- The Tragedy of the Most Hated Bird in America | Storage Room No. 2
- Who Is Jeffrey Epstein & What Did He Do? | Town and Country
- Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk
- Trojan Vibrating Twister
- Burning Man
- Occupy Wall Street
- The Cacophony Society
- How Three Different Santacons Took Over Portland | The Oregonian
- Why | World Naked Bike Ride
- Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual: An Essay in Comparative Symbology by Victor Turner | Rice University
- Trick-or-Treating Dates Back to Medieval Europe — Here’s the Fascinating History behind the Halloween Tradition | Business Insider
- Fasching and Karneval | The German Way & More
- W.W. Norton & Company
- Freightliner Trucks
- What Is the Wilhelm Scream? | Mental Floss
- First Look: Two Covers for Fight Club 3 #6 Unveiled | 13th Dimension
- A Wilhelm Scream (Band)
- Goofy Holler | Soundeffects Wiki
- Howie Scream | Remix Favorite Show and Game Wiki
- Tape Bleed? | Home Recording Forums
Note from the editor: Timestamps will be added shortly.
- Why did the publication of Chuck’s short story Guts prompt a sharp drop in the Sunday Guardian‘s circulation and cause audiences to faint during readings of the piece? Perhaps most important: what influenced him to write it in the first place?
- When writing short stories and novels, does Chuck’s desired impact or process differ between the two formats?
- Who were Tom Spanbauer and Gordon Lish, and how did they help Chuck tighten up his writing?
- Does writing with the discipline of certain constraints ever affect Chuck’s perception of reality and the people he meets there?
- What is dangerous writing, and how might it be applied therapeutically?
- How does Chuck craft a story arc while maintaining surface tension around the idea that, as he has said, “resolution is death,” and still end it in a way that satisfies, rather than frustrates the reader? Here’s where my dog Molly might be able to teach me a thing or two about writing.
- A masterful short story beats a plodding novel any day, but they’re not as financially rewarding for the writer. How does Chuck think we can change this?
- How does Chuck go about engaging an audience so they’re immersed in the story enough to lose track of time (or, on a good day, faint)?
- The day Chuck understood minimalism.
- The secret leverage of making intentional mistakes.
- How Lewis Hyde’s cross-cultural explorations of mythology have helped Chuck develop modern characters with a strong, timeless connection to the past.
- When has Chuck suffered the consequences of disappointing his guardian angel, and what works to alleviate this suffering?
- Chuck explains Joseph Campbell’s secondary father concept and what it means for the challenges society faces today.
- How Chuck knows if he’s got a story worth telling.
- Why 31’s not too old to write a genre- or generation-defining novel.
- What Chuck thinks of narrative that tries to dictate social change, and what history tells us about how these changes usually come about.
- Other ways our perceptions can be skewed by inadvertent association — thoughts on fathers and daughters, Jeffrey Epstein, The Wizard of Oz, and Nazis.
- Has Chuck ever used narrative in hopes of obliquely, indirectly, or surreptitiously generating social change?
- What’s behind Chuck’s fascination with
cultssocial models, and what does ‘liminoid’ mean in the context of these social models — particularly in traditions ranging from honeymooning to Halloween?
- At the risk of further hurting Chuck’s editor’s feelings, what’s the story behind his acceptance of “kiss-off” money for Fight Club?
- When it was first published, was it immediately apparent that Fight Club would become a cultural mainstay?
- Realizations Chuck came to about Fight Club as it was in the process of being made into a movie, and why he’s hesitant about sharing those realizations even now.
- Does Chuck ever worry that a flash of insight about something he’s written might plunge him headlong into an abyss that’s difficult to escape?
- What can we expect from Chuck’s latest literary offering: The Invention of Sound?
- Parting thoughts on novels as diaries, and how Chuck spent his childhood looting.
- Hugh Hefner
- Shirley Jackson
- Tom Spanbauer
- Andrea Carlisle
- Gordon Lish
- Raymond Carver
- Henry Kissinger
- Ira Levin
- Andy Warhol
- Marshall McLuhan
- Scarlett O’Hara
- Robert Benchley
- Peter Benchley
- Sylvia Plath
- Brad Pitt
- Lewis Hyde
- Tyler Durden
- Stephen King
- Joseph Campbell
- Bill Moyers
- Douglas Coupland
- Anna Wintour
- Victor Turner
- Gerald Howard