For all of you in and around the New York area, you'll have a chance to see Chuck at this year's Book Expo of America.
Here are the details:
Update: Tickets for this event are now on sale! Get them here!
Chuck Palahniuk and Chelsea Cain, along with Village Books and The Wild Buffalo are hosting another one of their awesome 'Bedtime Stories' readings on April 24th in Bellingham, WA, in support of friend fellow author, Monica Drake's upcoming novel The Stud Book. Here's a quick blurb from the Village Books site:
It's been a long time coming but, as of late last month, we have found a home for our anthology, Burnt Tongues. This project began life on our writers workshop back in 2004. It started as an idea between Chuck and I but soon grew into something more when Chuck announced he wanted to get personally involved in reading and critiquing the best stories from our workshop each month.
Today is an exciting day for fans of Chuck Palahniuk films-- Yes, I said films. Up until now, Fight Club and Choke were the only two adaptations you could find of any of Chuck's work. But writer/director Andy Mingo went and changed all that with his short film adaptation of 'Romance.'
If you've never heard Chuck read 'Romance,' you missed a treat. Read on last year's tour, this is easily one of Chuck's strongest and funniest short stories. It's both heartbreaking and hysterical at the same time.
On February 12th, Chuck Palahniuk released a new short story exclusively through Amazon's Kindle Single program called 'Phoenix.' At the time of my writing this, 'Phoenix' is #1 across the board on Amazon's Kindle Single rank. The story is burning it up! (pun intended)
So earlier month, Chuck decided to start a series of essays explaining the construction and backstory of this short story. (You can read Essay 1 here, Essay 2 here and Essay 3 here.) And he decided to let a small number of fans submit questions to him. So without further ado, here is the second batch of Questions & Answers. And it goes without saying, but if you haven't yet read 'Phoenix,' there are spoilers below.
(Chuck's answers are italicizied within)
From Brian McHale:
Regarding the anecdotes, how do you remember them?
Do you use index cards like you mention in *Stranger Than Fiction*?
Is this room akin to the one used in the creation of the first Oxford
Brian, you send the strangest food pictures. The pineapple (?) still has me scratching my head. In regard to your question, here’s a great writing exercise. It’s something Tom Spanbauer used to assign his students on their first class session: Write the story of something you only half remember. Or barely remember. Start by recording the few details you can recall. Don’t focus on your feelings, just write down every physical aspect of the setting and what occurred. Doing this, Tom’s students are always amazed. Each might start with a couple sentences, but the longer they reflect the more those scant details evoke additional ones. This isn’t about inventing memories, the process actually demonstrates how memories cue deeper memories. It’s similar to song lyrics: If you can retrieve one line or phrase from your memory you can eventually recall most of the song.
With anecdotes, once I decide to quilt them into a story I’ll sit with scratch paper and do Tom’s exercise. The anecdote foremost in my mind will cue others, and I’ll make a list of them and decide which will work best as plot points.
Below are two pretty badass pics of Chuck, rocking the red carpet at Cinequest for Andy Mingo's short film Romance (an adaptation of a Chuck story). Check out Chuck sporting a fresh goatee, navy blue turtleneck, and a giant pendant (which he told me after, was inspired from the pendant on the infomercial in his new short story 'Phoenix.')
Note: This essay contains spoilers for the new Kindle Single, 'Phoenix' by Chuck Palahniuk. If you haven't yet read this wonderful story, remedy that right now.
Read Part 2 of this essay series here.
by Chuck Palahniuk
Twenty years ago, my next-door neighbor got pregnant. Her husband complained to me that he was now required to clean their cat’s box. Because of toxoplasmosis, his wife explained. She told me that toxo was a parasite in cat feces, and it could cause blindness in unborn children. At the same time I was volunteering to care for AIDS patients. Soon enough I was cleaning the patients’ cat boxes because of a similar threat to people with compromised immune systems. Then came Trainspotting, and the character Tommy died from the infection transmitted by the book’s kitten. That’s how far back I began to write Phoenix. Back in 1992? In 1993?
At the time, a lot of my friends were getting pregnant. Most of them had cats that had been surrogate children -- beloved -- but now those pets occurred as menacing leftovers from a previous life. It was always a tragic stalemate. These couples loved their cats, but they didn’t want to risk the health of a new child. Most of those cats were old, unappealing cats and that made them unadoptable. Two friends, I’ll call them Glenda and Brad, decided that they would have to euthanize theirs. On the day they’d planned to end the cat’s life Brad noticed that its bag of food was almost full. It irked him to waste so much good cat food so he proposed keeping the cat until the bag was empty. They were both miserable over the prospect of killing a member of their family, and the cat food seemed like a rational reason to postpone the inevitable.
I’ll keep this short. I know I’ve told this story before. In secret, Glenda and Brad each added new food to the bag. Their child was born without defects. And their cat eventually died of natural causes. That was almost ten years ago.
This past July, I was in Los Angeles to promote the release of Invisible Monsters Remix. As a local publicist drove me to the Skirball Cultural Center for my appearance I told her the story about the cat food. In response, she told me about friends of hers who’d bought a house with a gas fireplace. The house stunk every time they used the fireplace, and they quickly learned that the previous owners had owned a cat. A few days later, in Seattle, I told the fireplace story, and a stranger told me about switching on a gas fireplace and inadvertently injuring – not killing – a cat that was using the fireplace as a toilet.
All of this demonstrates a movement from the specific to the universal. The Phoenix story uses small, probable events – anecdotes I’ve collected -- to make the impossible seem inevitable. But a good story is greater than the sum of its anecdotes.