Go ahead. Ask me who my favorite author is. I dare you.
If you guessed that I’d say Tim LaHaye, you’re funny.
Chuck Palahniuk, the author of “Fight Club” and nine other fiction novels, is my favorite author. His books follow a common theme. They tend to be about a lonely person in the world who is trying to find acceptance in others.
This motif takes the form of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever read.
There are three primary things that draw me into Palahniuk’s books. They are:
1. Esoteric, erudite information that requires me to research whether they are facts or not, because the information is so bizarre. The facts are usually spouted from a character who is loaded with this information. In “Fight Club” (book or movie), you may remember the books in the old house that are written from the perspective of Jack’s body parts. It’s kind of in that vein. In “Invisible Monsters” there’s a character named Oyster who says some of the most interesting facts I’ve ever read, like tumble weeds didn’t exist in America until the late 1800s when Russian’s brought sheep to America and they carried the seeds in their wool.
2. Exploration of Style. Palahniuk writes poetry, fact, fiction, non-fiction. He has tried his hand at broken English from a narrator who speaks limited English. His form is jumpy and bizarre. He uses “you” frequently. I love how he jumps through time. His space-time continuum will often give me a headache, but the payoff is worth it.
3. Implausible plausibilities. In “Invisible Monsters,” the main character has no jaw. It was shot off with a shotgun. You know the “Fight Club” premise already. “Lullaby” there is a “culling song” that causes Infant Death Syndrome. In “Haunted,” several wannabe writers are locked in an old rundown theater and it details them going completely insane and dying one by one.
It’s reported that at readings, his books are so shocking that people have fainted in numbers of 6o or more. When I read “Haunted”, I screamed one time and threw the book from my hands. Another story about a woman who loved a police doll made me wince and moan so much that a wince acts as a non-verbal reminder of the story. In it, the main character installs blades into a doll’s vagina, mouth and asshole that was being misused by the police staff for sexual gratification.
I bet you’re wondering where I met a nice guy like Chuck. Glad you asked.
In 1999, I went with regular reader and friend Xina and my old roommate Patrick to see “Fight Club.” I had no idea what it was about except that it had two of my favorite actors and apparently they were in a club that fought, on purpose. The movie tittled my tattle. This was before my cognitive mind allowed me to search out the books that movies were based on. Of course I knew adaptations existed, but I never thought to go find other works by an author based on a movie. It wasn’t until my brother Jon mentioned that he had read the book, and it was the best adaptation he had ever seen that I discovered the value in adaptations.
Although, for the record, I read “Forest Fucking Gump” the same day I saw the movie and I loved the book and HATED the movie. I seem to be the only person alive who didn’t like Gump the major motion picture. I read it in the passenger seat of regular reader and friend SAW’s car on the way back from the beach one year. I giggled my ass off for the two hours it took to read it. I almost cried during the movie. They butchered the story and made Gump out to be really retarded instead of hilariously retarded. There’s a big fucking difference.
I have read all the books except for “Survivor” and “Pygmy.” I thought I read them all, but “Survivor” keeps staring at me from my shelf reminding me that I never read it. I’ve tried to read “Pygmy”, but the style drives me crazy. I need to find a time to read it when my mind isn’t distracted by so many things.
I’d be willing to bet you that Palahniuk is an atheist. He’s definitely critical of anything that walks, talks, breathes or claims to have any real connection to the supernatural. He’s also a homosexual, so he’s got that tainted view of hate shooting at him from the church and her followers.
My point in all this explanation is that I have been following someone on Twitter named “@PalahniukQuotes.” In the explanation for who the tweeter is, it indicates that the person “is not Chuck Palahniuk.” One time I contacted the person directly to ask what they thought of “Pygmy” as I was having a tough time reading it. It turns out the tweeter is a “she” named Leah Mazur. She lives in Canada, and at the time I met her, she lived in the south of France working as a nanny. She had not read the book yet, because it wasn’t offered in English there, yet. I was going to send her my copy, but she ended up scheduling her trip home and was afraid she’d miss the book in transit.
Stereotypically, she doesn’t fit the Chuck Palahniuk fan model I have constructed in my head. They should all be dirty, tattooed, bruised and tattered coke addicts … kinda like me. Honk. But Mazur is a cute little thing who I imagine is college age, works a retail job and goes to college somewhere in the evil, social land of Canada.
The other day we were tweeting what we liked about him, and she said, “I like how disturbing he is. It’s as if I’d like to shoot my face off so I can write about it.”
So go follow Leah, follow her and I as we tweet Palahniuk quotes, and follow me too while you’re at it. And if you’re sitting there thinking, “Twitter is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of,” I can vouch that Twitter can be the greatest tool you ever didn’t know you couldn’t live without. I’ve been a part of a social network since 1999, starting with a band of Mac enthusiasts who used a chat service to share ideas about life in general. I ended up meeting several of those people. Twitter is a public version of a chat room where you can find and discuss topics you love. Using it, I’ve been able to get responses from corporations that I’ve bitched about. I’ve been able to meet and a zoo of atheists with different ideas, blogs and lifestyles as far away as Europe and Australia. To get the full effect, you need a program like Seesmic. Once you get your feet wet, discover hashtagging and how to search, you follow the people you like, block the assholes who send you porn, and you’re on your way.
I’m off to shoot my face off and write about it.