Chuck Palahniuk

(Charles Michael Palahniuk)

Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk
  • Born: February 21, 1962
  • Nationality: American
  • Profession: Novelist

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A minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.
A short story is something that you can hold in your mind. You can really analyze how the entire thing works, like a machine.
All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring. Religion & God
As a lower-class kid, I was raised to think success would be owning stuff. Having that great job, too. Now I find my parents' dream was wrong. You never really own anything. And you're never really finished as a person. Success
As we grow older I always think, why didn't I do more when I was young, why didn't I risk more?
At school I was lazy. But I started working when I was 15, washing dishes at a local truck stop restaurant. I was really, really bored with school, and I wanted to get a job as fast as I could. School was just so easy. There was just no challenge to it.
'At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom' by Amy Hempel showed me the lean quality of prose.
Crap has always happened, crap is happening, and crap will continue to happen.
Did perpetual happiness in the Garden of Eden maybe get so boring that eating the apple was justified? Happiness & Unhappiness
Do you remember when you were 10 or 11 years old and you really thought your folks were the best? They were completely omniscient and you took their word for everything. And then you got older and you went through this hideous age when suddenly they were the devil, they were bullies, and they didn't know anything.
Every decade, we get a stunning collection of dynamic, heartbreaking short stories. In the past, those collections came from Barry Hannah, Mark Richard, and Thom Jones.
Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home... it's your responsibility to love it, or change it. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Relationships
Find out what you're afraid of and go live there.
For me and my entire generation, we took on this kind of sarcastic, ironic, snarkiness because it seemed the most extreme reaction to the earnestness of hippies.
For me, writing is a kind of coping mechanism.
Horror stories give us a way of exhausting our emotions around social issues, like a woman's right to an abortion, which I always thought was the core of 'Rosemary's Baby,' or the backlash against feminism which I always thought was the core to 'Stepford Wives.'
I believe in something. But I don't believe that anything can hold a grudge for long enough to condemn its creation to eternal punishment. Nobody can hold a grudge that long, even God. Religion & God
I dread the promotion part of my job. It's agony, especially compared to the private, at-home joy of writing. But being a grown-up means doing every part of the larger task.
I know that I'm going to die and that you're going to die. I can't do anything about that. But I can explore it through a metaphor and make a kind of funny, dark story about it, and in doing so, really exhaust and research as many aspects of it as I can imagine. And in a way, that does give me some closure. Humor
I love the power of words - no music or special effects - and I want to demonstrate that power. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex ;Music, Chants & Rapps ;Power
I really love idiot, enlightened characters - these characters who fail to engage with the drama of their immediate circumstances; they fail to be reactive and enrolled by drama as it happens around them. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I tell everyone I interact with what I'm working on and let them bring me anecdotes that illustrate my themes.
I think Chris Brown gets kind of dismissed as a gay writer, and I think Chris's books are really, really smart. I wish his books sold a little more widely.
I think it's more important to write something that brings men back to reading than it is to write for people who already read. There's a reason men don't read, and it's because books don't serve men. It's time we produce books that serve men. Time
I think, in a way, I invented the term 'fight club' and that these things have always existed, but they never really had a label. Nobody had a language to apply to them. I created that language in two words and I've been paid a great deal of money for inventing two words and labeling something that has always been around. Money, Coins & Minting
I try to forget about the expectation that's out there and the audience listening for the next thing so that I'm not trying to please them. I've spent a huge amount of time not communicating with those folks and denying that they exist. Time
I used to work as a volunteer in a hospice, but I don't have any nursing skills or cooking skills or anything, so I was what they call an escort. I would take people to the support groups every night, and I would have to sit sort of on the sidelines so I could take them back to hospice at the end of the meeting. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I wanted to write about the moment when your addictions no longer hide the truth from you. When your whole life breaks down. That's the moment when you have to somehow choose what your life is going to be about. Truth ;Life
I would say any behavior that is not the status quo is interpreted as insanity, when, in fact, it might actually be enlightenment. Insanity is sorta in the eye of the beholder.
I wouldn't get nearly as many books written if I lived in New York. The Columbia Gorge is fantastic. When the sun shines, I just want to be outdoors.
If anything I try to write something that would be more difficult to film. I tend to see film as competition and would like instead to do what books do best.
If death meant just leaving the stage long enough to change costume and come back as a new character, would you slow down? Or speed up? Death
If I can't be beautiful, I want to be invisible.
If nothing else, there's comfort in recognising that no matter how much we fail and sin, death will limit our suffering. Death
If we can prove an afterlife, then we have less pressure to make our physical life last forever. Life
If you don't know what you want, you end up with a lot you don't.
If you flee from the things you fear, there's no resolution.
If you knew that your life was merely a phase or short, short segment of your entire existence, how would you live? Knowing nothing 'real' was at risk, what would you do? You'd live a gigantic, bold, fun, dazzling life. You know you would. That's what the ghosts want us to do - all the exciting things they no longer can. Life
If you start in the pit of despair with these profane, awful things, even a glimmer of hope or awareness is going to occur that's much brighter coming from this dark, awful beginning. Hope
If you take my stuff apart, you'll find my choruses of repetitions are picked up almost verbatim from Kurt Vonnegut, and my distanced fracture quality is all from Amy Hempel, who's probably my favourite writer.
I'm always trying to reach a transcendent point, a romantic point, but reach it in a really unconventional way, a really profane way. To get to that romantic, touching, heartbreaking place, but through a lot of acts of profanity. Romantic
In 2008, while the film version of my book 'Choke' was coming to market, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. That meant that I had to appear in public to promote a comedy about a son trying to save his dying mother - the plot of Choke - while privately I was caring for my own dying mother. It was torture.
In a way, a lot of my humor comes from presenting things that are dramatic or shocking and then people not having socially appropriate responses, having people denying the drama by failing to react to it, and that's a really classic form of humor. Humor
In 'Diary,' the motto really is: 'Where Do You Get Your Inspiration?' It coaches us to be aware of our motives and not just be a reaction to the circumstances around us.
In my family, we can't just sit and be together. We have to be shelling peas or husking corn or something. A larger task. Some way of being with people. Families, Children & Parenting
It takes a lot to get people talking in airplanes. But once they start talking, you just can't shut them up.
It's funny how you never think about the women you've had. It's always the ones who get away that you can't forget. Women ;Humor
I've always thought stand-up comedians were the oral storytellers of our time, because they know rhetoric, they know delivery, they know timing, they know all of these things that you can only learn by telling a story out loud and interacting with an audience. Time
Masochism is a valuable job skill.
Men are destroyed for being rebellious, and women destroy themselves by failing to be rebellious. Unless you can make that next jump to either getting along with people or resisting people, you are ultimately destroying yourself. Women
Men want to make the best use of time and want to see how something can inform them and give them a stronger sense of power. Time ;Power
Minimalism seems closest to the sophisticated storytelling of movies. Movies have really educated contemporary audiences to be the most intelligent, sophisticated audiences in history. We don't any longer need to have the relationship between one scene and the next explained. We will figure it out ourselves. History ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
More and more, it feels like I'm doing a really bad impersonation of myself.
Mr. Olsen in the fifth grade made me want to be a writer. He said, 'Chuck, you do this really well. And this is much better than setting fires, so keep it up.' That made me a writer.
My best advice for writers is: Have your adventures, make your mistakes, and choose your friends poorly - all these make for great stories.
My characters tend to be more dynamic because they're reaching that point in their lives where their old way of being is breaking down. They're conflicted by the idea that they don't know what's next. You could call it Kierkegaard's leap of faith, when you get tired of sort of reinventing yourself on a very superficial level. Religion & God
My father worked for the railroad, and whenever a train crashed, we would go as a family and steal food from the boxcars. One year we stole a case of butterscotch pudding that was for export to Israel. It took us years to get through. Families, Children & Parenting ;Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
My grandfather was hit over the head by a crane boom in Seattle. Some of the family claimed he was never a violent, crazy person before that. Some say he was. It depends who you believe. Families, Children & Parenting
My personal theory is that younger audiences disdain books - not because those readers are dumber than past readers, but because today's reader is smarter.
My policy is to not read any reviews.
My private history in terms of people in my life who are dead is very easy to discuss. I don't feel those people can be threatened or intruded upon now. But I am enormously protective of the people who are currently in my life, my existing friends and family. That is where the curtain is drawn. Life ;History ;Families, Children & Parenting
My publisher's been shipping me to comic-cons, and it seems that my readership overlaps perfectly with the comic-con crowd.
No matter how much you think you love somebody, you'll step back when the pool of their blood edges up too close. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
Nobody's told me anything to date that I've been completely reviled by.
Of the big horror movies of the '70s, you have 'The Omen,' 'The Sentinel,' 'Rosemary's Baby,' 'The Stepford Wives,' 'Burnt Offerings' - these are all romantic fatalist movies where there's a sort of glimmer of hope... but darkness wins. Hope ;Romantic ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit. Power
Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives. War & Peace
People don't want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. Their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messed cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown.
People have to deal with their issues together; they have to expose themselves and kind of exhaust themselves.
People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
People used what they called a telephone because they hated being close together and they were scared of being alone.
People would ask me to autograph their bodies and then the next time I'd see them on tour they'd have my autograph tattooed. I decided I wouldn't write on people anymore, but I'd give them arms and legs and if they wanted those autographed I'd do that. Time
Personal identity seems like it's just such an American archetype, from Holly Golightly re-inventing herself in 'Breakfast At Tiffany's' to Jay Gatsby in 'The Great Gatsby.' It seems like the sort of archetypal American issue. If you're given the freedom to be anything, or be anyone, what do you do with it? Freedom & Liberty
Portland in particular is a cheap enough place to live that you can still develop your passion - painting, writing, music. People seem less status-conscious. Even wealthy people buy second-hand clothes and look a little bit homeless. Music, Chants & Rapps
Reality means you live until you die. The real truth is nobody wants reality. Truth
Some of the best ideas I get seem to happen when I'm doing mindless manual labor or exercise. I'm not sure how that happens, but it leaves me free for remarkable ideas to occur.
Sometimes the past seems too big for the present to hold.
Sometimes you do something, and you get screwed. Sometimes it's the things you don't do, and you get screwed.
Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
That saying, about how you always kill the thing you love, well, it works both ways. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
The best fights don't occur between strangers. They occur between friends who trust each other. Trust
The best thing about getting a flu shot is that you never again need to wash your hands. That's how I see it.
The lower you fall, the higher you'll fly.
The only difference between suicide and martyrdom is press coverage.
The only way to find true happiness is to risk being completely cut open. Happiness & Unhappiness
The pretentiousness of literature really annoys me; the way a writer is held as this sort of magical person to be revered on the stage. Everything I do on tour is to try and destroy that pretense.
The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up.
The unreal is more powerful than the real, because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it, because it's only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles, wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.
There's a moment in every book when the book turns and it surprises me.
To merely observe your culture without contributing to it seems very close to existing as a ghost.
We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.
We are not special. We are not crap or trash, either. We just are. We just are, and what happens just happens.
We don't see a lot of models for male social interaction. There's sports and barn raisings. Sports & Athletics
What is the real purpose behind the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus? They seem like greater steps toward faith and imagination, each with a payoff. Like cognitive training exercises. Religion & God
What we don't understand we can make mean anything.
When did the future switch from being a promise to a threat? Future
When I visit my brother in South Africa, I order things I've only seen in zoos. Little deers and kudu, all the mammals you would never think of eating.
While writing, I tend to repeat the same song, endlessly, for thousands of times. This helps me ignore any lyrics, and helps create a consistent mood for each book.
Why do the lives of writers seem so... train-wrecky?
Why is it you feel like a dope if you laugh alone, but that's usually how you end up crying?
With a book, you're guaranteed the audience has a certain skill level and that the audience has to make an ongoing effort to consume this product and that the project is being consumed by just one person at a time. I really want to play to that strength because it's one of the few advantages books still have. Time
Writing in public gives you that access to a junkyard of details all around you.
You are not a beautiful, unique snowflake... This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time. Life ;Time
You can tell a more over-the-top incredible story if you use a nonfiction form.
You have a choice. Live or die. Every breath is a choice. Every minute is a choice. To be or not to be.
You have no idea what it is like to constantly disappoint people. You see it the moment you meet them. You see in their eyes that they expected something so entirely different, and here they are meeting... you.
You realize you have no control over how you're perceived.
Your birth is a mistake you'll spend your whole life trying to correct. Life