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Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk

“Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.”
- Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk was born in Pasco, Washington on February 21, 1962. Most of his childhood was spent living in a mobile home in Burbank, Washington. However, after the divorce of his parents, Palahniuk and his siblings were sent to live with their maternal grandparents on a cattle ranch in Eastern Washington State. Palahniuk’s father began a relationship with another woman whose ex-boyfriend murdered the couple. Palahniuk’s mother died of cancer.

During his twenties, Palahniuk studied at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism graduating in 1986. During his college years, Palahniuk interned at the National Public Radio member station KLCC in Eugene. After graduation, Palahniuk moved to Portland, Oregon where he entered the workforce as a journalist working for local newspapers. However, he abandoned journalism to work as a diesel mechanic for truck manufacturer Freightliner, a job he would keep until development of his writing career. He returned to journalism only after establishing himself as an accomplished novelist.

Palahniuk began writing fiction in his thirties while attending writer’s workshops, hosted by Tom Spanbauer, who inspired Palahniuk’s minimalistic writing style. His initial works were rejected publication mostly because of the amount of disturbing content. However, Palahniuk managed to get one of his short stories published in a compilation in 1995.The story later became an inspiration and evolved into Palahniuk’s most famous novel, Fight Club. While the short story had a difficult time finding a publisher, its conversion into a novel experienced the opposite. Fight club was accepted and published in 1996.

The success of Fight Club gained the attention of filmmakers at Twentieth Century Fox who wanted to adapt the novel to screen. When Palahniuk was approached with the offer he appointed Edward Hibbert as a literary agent who helped Palahniuk negotiate a deal with Twentieth Century Fox. Fight Club the movie was released in 1999.

Following the release of the film, also in 1999, Palahniuk published two more novels, Survivor and Invisible Monsters. The year 1999 also marked a disturbing tragedy in Palahniuk’s life. His father was murdered by the ex-boyfriend of a woman he was dating. Palahniuk immersed himself in writing to cope up with the tragic loss. He published more novels including Choke, which was also adapted into a movie, Lullaby, Diary, Haunted, Rant, Snuff, Pygmy, Tell All and Damned. Some of his significant short stories include Guts (2004), Fetch (2009), Loser (2010), Knock, Knock (2010) and Romance (2011). In addition to writing fiction, Palahniuk has also produced non-fiction works such as Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon (2003), Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories (2004) and You Do Not Talk About Fight Club: I Am Jack’s Completely Unauthorized Essay Collection (2008). Chuck Palahniuk now lives in Vancouver, Washington where he continues writing both fiction and nonfiction works.

“Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.” 

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home… it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it.”

“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.”

“The trick to forgetting the big picture is to look at everything close-up.”

“We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”

“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.”

“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.”

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