TIH 536: Chuck Palahniuk on Not Forever, But For Now, Writing on Substack, and The Legacy of Fight Club

In this podcast, Chuck Palahniuk talks about Not Forever, But For Now, writing on Substack, the legacy of Fight Club, and much more.

About Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk is the author of many bestselling books including Fight ClubInvisible Monsters, ChokeLullaby, The Invention of Sound, Consider This, and Haunted. His latest novel, Not Forever, But For Now, is available now.

Original photo credit: Allan Amato

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Marki Hartwell is a death doula. Aiding people as they exit this world isn’t just her job, it’s her calling. Unfortunately, being a doula has cost Marki her girlfriend Paula and their future together. When a hospice notification informs Marki that a patient named Franklin is dying alone—with no family, friends, or neighbors to comfort him—Marki sets off in the worst storm she’s ever seen because no one should die alone. Now available in paperback and eBook from Cemetery Gates Media.

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Denny just wants to be the world’s best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank. Then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half-sister who demands he uncovers the cause of her father’s death.

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House of Bad Memories is Funny Games meets This Is England with a Rosemary’s Baby under-taste.

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Michael David Wilson (00:00:07): Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers, and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co-host Bob Pastorella, we chat with the world's best writers about writing life lessons, creativity, and much more. Today we are chatting with Chuck Palahniuk, the author of books such as Fight Club, Invisible Monsters, Choke, and most recently, Not Forever, But For Now. This is the second time that I've been fortunate enough to have Chuck on the show. And as per the first time, Chuck did not disappoint and was so generous with both his time and his knowledge. Now in this conversation, we of course dive deep into his new book, not Forever, but for now a horror satire, which we'll frankly guarantee that you won't look at Winnie de Pooh in the same way again. And we also ask about important things such as his Reese Witherspoon poop story. We talk about the legacy of Fight Club decades on from its initial release and we talk about how to write about violence and extreme events in an earned and authentic way. But before we get into this fascinating conversation, a quick advert break.

Bob Pastorella (00:02:02): Marky Hartwell is a death doula aiding people as they exit. This world isn't just her job, it's her calling. Unfortunately, being a doula has caused Marky her girlfriend Paula in her future together when a hospice notification in for Markey did. A patient named Franklin is dying alone with no family, friends or neighbours to comfort him. Markey sets up in the worst storm she's ever seen because no one should die alone. The death doula, the Alley Sea, is now available in paperback and ebook from Cemetery Gates Media, house of Bad Memories. The debut novel from Michael David Wilson comes out on Friday the 13th this October via cemetery Gates Media. Denny just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged abusive stepfather, Frank, then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie half sister who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death. Will Denny defeat his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions? Clay McLeod Chapman says, house of Bad memories hit so hard, you'll spit teeth out once you're done reading it. Pre-Order, house of Bad Memories by Michael David Wilson and paperback at cemeterygatesmedia.com or in ebook via Amazon.

Michael David Wilson (00:03:18): Okay, with that said, here it is. It is. Chuck Palahniuk on This is Horror.

(00:03:29): Chuck, welcome back to this is Horror Podcast.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:03:33): Thank you. Happy to be back. What you got?

Michael David Wilson (00:03:36): So the last time that we spoke, it was around three years ago, so I'm wondering what have been the biggest changes for you both personally and professionally in that time?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:03:52): Probably the biggest thing is that I quit drinking and there was no way I was going to do it by myself. So I asked my doctor for an abuse. So an abuse, if you take it and you drink, you get fantastically sick. And so this is the longest period of sobriety in my adult life.

Michael David Wilson (00:04:15): So how long has that period been

Chuck Palahniuk (00:04:18): A matter of days? No, seriously. I was dry for several months leading up to tour, but on tour I started to drink again just because it's booked tour. But since I've come back from tour, I've been dry for about 10 days now, which even for me 10 days is a long time.

Michael David Wilson (00:04:39): Right, right. What inspired the move to stop drinking?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:04:47): I was just kind of sick of waking up feeling ashamed of myself and to tell the truth I was getting fat. So a combination of insults to my sort of self-esteem and insults to my vanity is what did it.

Michael David Wilson (00:05:04): Yeah, and I mean, how are you feeling off the booze?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:05:10): Well, I think the one deciding factor will be whether or not I feel I'm writing as much and writing as well when I'm not drinking is, I think I wrote some great short stories while I wasn't drinking, but it was a different process and I want to make sure that I can still produce work that I'm happy with and not drink.

Michael David Wilson (00:05:36): Yeah, it sounds like you're kind of just navigating your life without alcohol at the moment and maybe you're going to have a relationship with it where there are periods where you're dry and then there are times where it's like, no, we need a little bit of alcohol to see ourselves as was the case indeed with the book tour.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:06:01): Well, the sort of mitigating factor is that I need at least three weeks off of the anabuse before I can drink. So there is no sort of impulse, I won't take it today and I will drink. I need to see that decision three weeks out from making it. And that precludes a lot of impulsive behaviour.

Michael David Wilson (00:06:25): Yeah, yeah. So I mean, what made you decide, okay, I need to drink for the book tour?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:06:36): Well, I always assumed I was going to drink anyway on tour because it's so stressful and having to be with so many people and be so emotionally up and with them and present and then having to go to bed and try to sleep a few hours before the next day's travel was so much flipping a switch on and off and my body just doesn't operate like that. I just cannot be so high and then instantly go to sleep. And so that's why drinking had to come back and be part of tour. I'm not sure if I could do tour without drinking.

Michael David Wilson (00:07:13): And I'm wondering how has this last tour gone? I know from your Substack that you said this is likely to be the last tour in which you have these big offsite events.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:07:29): The jury is still out on that one, but I cannot imagine putting the six or eight months into getting ready for a tour that I put into this one. I shipped enormous amounts of stuff to every venue and I really scripted an hour and a half programme for every show. It was a huge expense and a huge amount of time, and I'm just not sure if I can justify that in the future. I might just go back to being that boring guy who sits at a table and shakes everyone's hand and is nice and signs every book just because boy, doing it my way is an enormous amount of time and effort.

Michael David Wilson (00:08:11): Yeah, I think people will be surprised if you just literally have the more conventional signing because over the years this has kind of been what people have come to expect, but perhaps as a man who frequently inverts expectations, that's why you need to go full circle.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:08:32): It couldn't get bigger than it was this year unless possibly in the future I get some sort of sponsorship or I asked other writers to join me and I made it more programme with several of us kind of supporting and running the whole show. Just right now I'm getting a little too old to put together that huge show all by myself.

Michael David Wilson (00:08:53): And in terms of the show, let's talk a little bit about that. What did it look like for not forever, but for now?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:09:02): Well, when people came in, they were each given a three foot baton. It was a biodegradable foam baton and it was wired with LED lights of flashed in different combinations of colours. So by pressing a button at one end, they could make the baton flash in different patterns of different rhythms. And then throughout the event, one of the activities was that I would have volunteer helpers who would go out in the audience would throw and throw these giant foam hoops out into the crowd and whoever caught the hoop on their baton would win a prize. So it was a very sort of physical activity to do between the otherwise much more stationary readings, the short story readings, and also the questions and answers. So it is the kind of constant changing of activities between readings and questions and games of this sort. And it culminates with the bookstore entity helping me throw dozens of inflated life-sized kangaroos out into the audience.

(00:10:15): And throughout that I'm throwing a seemingly endless amount of bagged candy and stuffed animals and dog toys and all these very soft but sort of thrilling things and throwing them as far as I can into the audience. And people are really clamouring to catch 'em. So everyone has to pay very close attention or there's a good chance they're going to be slammed with something in the dark and it makes people really, really stay present throughout the entire 90 minutes. So really this whole combination of props and prizes and games and different textures of presentation is kind of a one man vaudeville at every venue. I did have either three or four kangaroo full body costumes. I would ask for three or four volunteers to be kangaroo helpers. And so throughout the evening as people won prizes, the kangaroo helpers would run the prize from the stage out into the audience, so the action never had to slow down in order to distribute the prizes. The kangaroo helpers were constantly running throughout the auditorium delivering these prizes, so nobody really had to wait. Just that effort of keeping everything moving in this constant, chaotic, loud, different series of distractions.

Michael David Wilson (00:11:43): And I hear that at one event you were offered or you were told that it would be possible to bring in an actual kangaroo. So I want to know how that came about and what did that conversation look like?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:12:02): Well, one of the throughline images in my new book, not Forever, but for now, is kangaroos. So that's why it was kangaroos in particular, the kangaroo costumes, stuffed kangaroos, inflatable kangaroos. And in Kansas City, the sponsoring bookstore wanted to bring in live kangaroos, which I understand are very unpleasant and very dangerous. And so I said no to the live kangaroos.

Michael David Wilson (00:12:28): Yeah, we've had Alan Baxter Onor who lives in Australia, and he has told us about almost kangaroo fights and having confrontation. So it's probably for the best that didn't happen. I mean it would've made the event even more memorable, but also could have been legal complications.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:12:52): And it's an element of chaos that I just don't want to have to deal with because the entire reason why I do it this way with the very structured, the very scripted series of objects that are presented and used for different purposes is that it allows me to feel like I really can control every moment and every object prompts. I know what to do with the object. And so every object is thrown or handed or in some way delivered to the audience. And that allows me to relax because I don't have to reinvent the wheel from moment to moment, and it delivers a more consistent entertaining product. And I'm going to say product to the audience because otherwise you have these kind of with a live kangaroo, it could just be a shit show and that's not going to be entertaining. It might be entertaining for a moment, but people have paid to buy a ticket and they want a consistently entertaining educational evening for it.

Michael David Wilson (00:14:02): Yeah, that makes sense. And I mean, in terms of kangaroos, why did you go for kangaroos Of all the animals, when we open and we have the documentary narrated by Richard Attenborough as opposed to David,

Chuck Palahniuk (00:14:28): One of them is alive and it could not be narrated by the alive one, it has to be narrated by the dead one, or I could get sued. And so I had to make a big point of that with my publisher because the publisher wanted to change them all to the other brother, which is legally just a death trap.

Michael David Wilson (00:14:46): That is good advice. If people want to avoid liable, then yeah, use the dead person.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:14:56): And it's kangaroos because as a child watching those nature films in which the baby joy emerges from the kangaroo's vagina and it has to climb the fur on the outside and it is completely sensory deprived and barely mobile and blind, but by some fantastic instinct, it has to climb the fur and deliver itself to the marsupial pouch of the mother. That is a child witnessing that was fantastically sympathetic and stressful. And that really is the metaphor for how are these kind of very immature characters going to become adults over the course of this novel? Will they fall and will they die or will they be able to climb and deliver themselves to a kind of adulthood? And so that tiny Half-formed Joey climbing up the kangaroo's Outside becomes that very precarious metaphor for the entire book.

Michael David Wilson (00:16:06): I actually seen that documentary when I was a kid, and the memory of that little one inch pink Joey just climbing it brought back memories and those first pages, I was like, damn, man. He's going here and talking with Michael about the book. It's something we probably bring up later. It's like that codependency and it's a theme that just runs throughout the whole thing. But I remember seeing that it was crazy.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:16:41): A lot of my friends could not believe that it was actually a thing that the Joey did have to climb up the outside and save itself, and people just are not really aware of that aspect of kangaroo life. So it was a shock when they realised that I didn't just make it up.

Michael David Wilson (00:17:01): And I think in terms of the way that this book is written, I mean you've said before and throughout your career the importance of having a kind of repeated chorus, but I felt that this has more repeated choruses than any book I've read by you. And to the point where I've almost got it stuck in my head, like a sung pre stunted males, Joeys having it off, rusty trombone, rusty trombone and Dirty Sanchez and Human Toilet, they turn up in the first few pages. And I don't know, this is going to be an interesting one.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:17:47): People say it is the toughest first 30 pages of any novel they've ever read, but also the best last 30 pages of any novel they've ever read. And the last 30 pages balances out the shock of the first 30 pages.

Michael David Wilson (00:18:02): Yeah, I feel that this is your most divisive book as well, and particularly even looking at the response to it. And yeah, it is been interesting too to see people kind of, I guess misunderstand it. There are a lot of people who think that the two man babies are literally children. But I mean, early on you're saying that they're 12 stone, you referenced that they're in their thirties now. There's a lot of misdirection because you'll reference things that happened at school, but if you read it properly, well, you're not saying that that happened just, but it is interesting and reminds me of the last time we were talking about you can't title an anthology, children of the porn for obvious reasons, but there are people who are almost feeling like, yeah, this is essentially children dealing with sex abuse and sex addiction, but it is not.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:19:17): And also think about it because there is a long literary history of two children being sexualized in an English country house. I'm talking about Turn of the Screw by Henry James,

Michael David Wilson (00:19:30): Which

Chuck Palahniuk (00:19:31): Was made into the movie The Innocence, about two little kids, boy and a girl who were sort of sexualized in this creepy 19th century. It was written in the 19th century also, Brideshead revisited two more or less schoolboy in a giant English country house having sex. That's bright head revisited. It's evil in wa. That's a hundred years ago. We've always lived in the Castle, which is a very sexy Shirley Jackson novel about two sisters living in a giant English well American country house. So we have this fantastic history of two kids flowers in the attic, VC Andrews brother and sister in the attic of a giant American country house, and they fuck, okay, their brother and sister in the attic of a giant baronial manor house, and they fuck. So don't give me shit about my book. You've been reading this stuff for 200 years.

Michael David Wilson (00:20:36): That is the soundbite right there. No shit.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:20:40): Yeah, I'm sorry. We read Flowers in the Attic in junior high school. I read that book when I was 12 or 13 in the 1970s.

Michael David Wilson (00:20:51): So

Chuck Palahniuk (00:20:51): Yeah, there's nothing in my book that it is any fresher or more than what I read as a kid.

Michael David Wilson (00:21:00): Yeah, yeah. And I mean, you mentioned these kind of old books set in the kind of countryside. And so I understand too that this started off because your intention was to write a cosy mystery. Now I'm wondering, I mean, you've said that you intended to write a cosy mystery and to get rich off it. Was that actually your intention, or is that the way that you're spinning it?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:21:34): My intention was to write a cosy. My intention is never get to get rich because I know my audience is never going to be big enough for me to get rich enough that I don't have to write another book. But I did want to write a cosy, because they have an enormous audience. When you go into bookstores, there is usually one enormous wall that is devoted just to cosies. And so I thought, why not try to tap into this? Because some of the most famous authors in America have branched out to do cosies. But after reading a dozen of them one winter, I so disliked them that that's why I kind of wanted to take my revenge by taking all the conventions of those cosies and just kind of piling them all into one book and then just turning up the heat.

Michael David Wilson (00:22:27): Oh, yeah, turning up the heat is the understatement there.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:22:32): Well, the other little trick of the book is I thought I would write an incredibly smutty book, but I would just use euphemisms. So

(00:22:41): I would always say having it off or having a go and allow the reader to fill in the blanks. And on this tour, I did dozens of interviews where these very famous interviewers said, ask me how I could possibly write such graphic disgusting sex scenes. And I asked 'em to recount the sex scene, and they would recount a scene I had not written, and I would have to correct them and say, I didn't actually write the scene that you read, because all I said was having it off or having a go. And that forced them to admit that they had filled in the blanks out of their own imagination, and they had ultimately written a scene that was more obscene than anything I ever could have imagined. And it was always such a wonderful, glorious moment, especially if it was live radio or television, because it forced them to take responsibility for what they had put into the story out of their own awareness, and their mind was far dirtier than mine was. And so it was this ongoing fantastic, practical joke on making people admit that they had filled in the dirty parts.

Michael David Wilson (00:23:56): You've used the Craig Clevenger technique for violence, but we've sex acts. And I'm sure that there would be a number of people who were like, oh, what Chuck made the nanny do when she was using her mouth. And it's like, no, you just said that. She does it with her mouth. That's it. That is it. It's like these readers were aristocrat themselves

Chuck Palahniuk (00:24:22): And it was an ongoing thrill because the look on their face, once they realised that that scene that they had experienced was their own experience and that they were sort of outing themselves with this Rorschach test was always, it never got old. It was always glorious.

Michael David Wilson (00:24:40): And with not forever, but for now, I mean for me, this is firmly in the horror genre. It is a horror satire. The previous book, the Invention of Sound was also in the horror genre. Is this a shift that you are perhaps now going towards?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:25:01): I have been kind of experimenting with horror ever since nine 11, because with nine 11, suddenly transgressive fiction became impossible to write or to sell because transgressive acts became synonymous with terrorism. And it seemed like the real world was outstripping the fictional world in terms of transgression. And especially what we've seen happen with the music festival and the Hamas attack. How could you ever put that in a book? Reality is just outstripping anything that fiction could put on the page. So in the 1950s when people really couldn't go beyond a certain line in fiction, horror completely blossomed and horror became this sort of through line from the fifties through the sixties into the seventies where horror was expressing this enormous thing that could not be expressed in a literal sense. And so we had this fantastic line from Shirley Jackson to Ira Levin to the Omen, and so many of the horror books, and Stephen King is, it was about 30 years and it's blossoming. And so since nine 11, I have been wondering what is the new sort of monster? What is the new circumstance that really will frighten people by expressing something that cannot be expressed right now in the culture that you cannot say overtly? So it's always with horror in the last 20 years, this constant looking around for the thing we're not allowed to talk about.

(00:26:44): And so much, this book in particular was about addiction. You see that by the author's note in the back, finally gives the game away that this is the book about addiction. And if you didn't get that, you need to go back and reread the book. But in every one of my books, I'm looking for every one of my books. It's ostensibly about horror. I'm looking for the issue that people cannot address head on. They cannot talk about openly, so they have to talk about it through a metaphor. So that's why horror.

Michael David Wilson (00:27:17): Yeah. And in terms of that author's note, I mean, is that something we can unpack and talk about now or would you prefer to leave that alone and not go any further so people can experience it after?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:27:35): I've kind of dropped it out there, so I'm happy to talk about it, but at the same time, I don't want to ruin that last little Easter egg for people. But I will say I am really exhausted with my own excesses, and I am just heartbroken by the number of stories that people have told me about their loved ones dying, particularly their children and their nieces and their nephews and their husbands dying, all dying, very young ages. And so I really think that horror can be addressing addiction and substance abuse and opioids and doing so in a very effective way that's not sort of throwing fuel on the fire. That horror always has that kind of way of coming in at an angle that makes these issues that seem impossible. Horror has a way of allowing us to be with 'em and be more effective in relation to them.

Michael David Wilson (00:28:36): And I wonder why is it that so many people who struggle with addiction and depression and suicidal ideation are so they gravitate towards your fiction, and why is it that you gravitate towards them?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:29:00): Just from my own experience, I can only speak for me. And number one, my job isn't to fix anything, but my job is to kind of look around and try to fix myself. And whenever I look at things, mainstream entertainment on streaming and through the sort of conventional channels, it's always seems so tepid and it seems so audience tested, it seems so completely, so disappointing. Ultimately, it never really emotionally or psychologically exhausts me. It never takes me to a place that cathart completes something in me. So I always find myself just watching 500 hours of it because I'm hoping to get burned out by what good entertainment used to do in half an hour. A good short story will give you that complete exhaustion and peace in an hour, but bad entertainment, you have to binge watch it for a hundred years and you still don't feel that kind of complete catharsis.

(00:30:07): And so in my work, I'm trying to give people a much more complete catharsis because I think what they're getting from the mainstream channels is so tepid and so watered down to try to build as large an audience as possible. And so I think that's why people have to watch so much of it for a continuingly diminishing margin of returns. They're getting very little for their time and attention, and so they're forced to watch more and more of it. And so I will take the gamble of offending them and really pissing them off over. I'll take that any day over making them bored and making them read 800 pages for a really marginal payoff. So yeah, it's on me.

Michael David Wilson (00:30:53): Do you think there was a shift when entertainment became more watered down?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:31:04): Part of me thinks that it had another to do with nine 11, that at some point, especially books became about comforting people instead of about really giving them something that they're never going to get from television, and they're never going to get it from feature films or music, because those things have to be broadcast to an enormous non-consenting audience. They have to be shown on aeroplanes to a bunch of people who may or may not want to see them. And so the book always had this kind of privacy, this intimacy of being able to take people to a completely out there place. And after nine 11, it seemed like books were completely relegated to comforting people. The books were the things you read in order to fall asleep and and books had to be consumable by the smallest child, ya A suddenly became kind of the world of books. So you had all these YA books, which Game of Thrones was originally a YA series, hunger Games, a YA Series series. All of these books that were written for 12 and 13 year olds suddenly became mainstream. And so you're never going to see anything very extreme depicted in these books because they were originally written for such a young audience. But books became, or the purpose of books became much more to comfort people and to sedate them instead of provoke 'em.

(00:32:39): I kind of recognise that coming from nine 11.

Michael David Wilson (00:32:43): And I think related to that and related to the watering down of media, I mean, we've said before that we are living in this attention economy, so people want to get your attention very quickly, but kind of in a cheap and an artificial way. We're seeing this kind of click instant gratification culture. But do you think that we may see a kind of reaction to that in which people reject it because it's gone so far that they then return to books and they return to media that is going to demand more of them and give them something more real and authentic and hurt them in various ways?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:33:36): I'm already seeing that. I'm seeing a lot of people talk about the new transgressive trend that there's going to be a trend toward that more of the culture. Because right now we have all these mechanisms in place, especially in publishing that are about not offending anyone and not triggering anyone and providing safe spaces, safe messages for messaging for everyone. And already I'm sensing this enormous pushback that people are very bored of those books. And so I think that is transgression is kind of hovering on the horizon and also the enormous cost of producing for streaming or feature films. The production cost is always going to limit what can be depicted in those other media. And so the low production costs of books in particular, I think are always going to give books the safety, the leeway to go to those places that no other form of media can go because it's just too much of a gamble with people's investors' money.

Michael David Wilson (00:34:47): I see that trend coming because transgressive fiction really kind of got, I mean it's old, but it got its start right after nine 11, that was right after the horror paperback boom ended. And so everything's cyclic. So right now we're in a horror renaissance, so it makes sense that the next thing that's going to come up is going to be more transgressive fiction, more transgressive films because we hard get paved the way for you to go extreme. And now let's combine that with societal issues, things that we see, we're talking about how media now, it tends to skimm the surface of issues that could actually have a better impact if they had a deeper dive. So that's just, to me, it's cyclic. It's going to come back when, I mean we're probably going to start seeing it a lot sooner than we think.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:35:47): I totally agree.

Michael David Wilson (00:35:49): Yeah. Well, I wanted to say that you're also blending this with nonfiction events. I mean, the family in this story, Otto and Cecil's grandfather in particular has been responsible for a lot of the major historical deaths in the world, including the Princess die job, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and also perhaps most prominently Judy Garland. I want to talk about the decision to mix fiction with nonfiction for this more authentic and effective narrative.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:36:39): Well, I always think that in a book you should have as many different sort of plot lines or mechanisms as you can possibly cram in there. So there needed to be this backstory, this enormous purpose and legacy for these two little boys. And whether or not the boys were going to kind of perpetuate the legacy and all of that, in particular, the legacy of this family for destroying huge numbers of people throughout history is a giant extended metaphor for empire. So these two little boys live in this massive house in the English countryside because their family has destroyed other people around the world for generations and generations. And so it's about this sort of colonialism and imperialism and the destruction of all these people in the world so that these two little boys can live this fantastically privileged life, which is so boring that they seemingly have to have sex with each other because they're so alone and so isolated and so cut off from the world and will they perpetuate this legacy of imperialism and empire?

(00:37:54): So that on a big metaphoric level, that's what that background is about. But the other kind of purpose for that backstory is that when I see people like Alex Jones, people who talk about these enormous conspiracy theories, I always think 150 years ago, that's the guy who would be debating with all the other guys about how many angels could dance on the head of a pen. That is the smart guy who's trying to systematise the invisible world and trying to create these debates around theology and come up with a unified field theory. It's all about your unified field theory that you can kind of create this encapsulating narrative that will make order out of everything in creation. And so for millennial millennia, you've had religious organisations determining how many levels of serafin and angels and sub angels and demons and sub demons, people, smart guys trying to systematise this. And that entire impulse I think is given to us now in people like Alex Jones who's trying to find a unified field theory that will systematise all of creation. And so basically I think that whole conspiracy idea is that effort of bringing theology or these theological tendencies to a secular society. And that's why another reason for having that giant back story in there, because people are going to do that anyway.

Michael David Wilson (00:39:41): Did you watch much Alex Jones or other people who have these wild theories to get into that mind space?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:39:52): No, I didn't need to. I mean, they're everywhere. You cannot escape them. Gavin McInnis, I mean all these people who out there who have these systemized ways of how to get laid every day, any hour of the day or night, all these sort of Playboy Tyler Durden guys in the Manosphere who are constantly systematising, who is the kickboxer, who has got all the sports cars, now who am I talking about?

Michael David Wilson (00:40:20): Are you joking about Andrew Tate?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:40:22): Yes, exactly. He's right up there with systematising. This is how to do it, guys lift weights and do these things and invest in this way. And everyone's trying to create these kind of unified fields, ways of systematising success and growing to adulthood. So in a way, they're all kind of a pipe piper with their own system for what these two little boys in the novel are trying to do. They're all looking for a path to adulthood, a way that they can complete themselves. Because right now, those things are kind of all up in the air in our culture.

Michael David Wilson (00:41:00): And in terms of two people looking for meaning, I mean, I've seen people make comparisons between Otto and Cecil and Tyler Durden in that they're kind of the child version, albeit not actually children.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:41:18): Exactly. That was another kind of inside joke is that I wanted to reinvent the two male characters in Fight Club as two little boys, seemingly as two little boys when the reveal is that they not little boys.

Michael David Wilson (00:41:34): Yeah, and I mean, we touched on this earlier with the confusion between Richard and David Attenborough, but I mean, I know that you have a tendency to give us little false facts, things that are a little bit off mean. Right towards the end of the book, you talk about the great tomato famine in island, and I mean, I want to talk about the importance of including these non facts and how they can elevate fiction and the experience for the reader.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:42:21): One thing I really love about that kind of trolling with having a character say something completely wrong is that AI can't do it.

Michael David Wilson (00:42:30): AI

Chuck Palahniuk (00:42:30): Is always about getting everything right according to its own set of rules. And so it can't intuitively make the reader. And so if you can make the reader right, then the reader suddenly feels superior to the character. My favourite example is always the first page of Gone With the Wind. The first thing that Scarlet O'Hara says is war, war, war. There will not be a war. And we as the reader, we know that there's going to be a really giant fucked up war and that everything is going to be destroyed, including Scarlet. And right now, she's such an innocent idiot that our heart kind of goes out to her because we know what she's in for and we feel superior and we feel almost custodial like she's our child in that moment. She becomes our child in the moment that she demonstrates her dumbness. And so when you have a character sort of state, something that the reader knows is wrong, then the reader's heart goes out and really cares about becomes sympathetic towards that character.

Michael David Wilson (00:43:40): And I think in terms, because you mentioned ai, I don't see it as a threat to people who are putting out authentic real fiction. I think if you're trying to write by the numbers thrillers, then yeah, it's going to be a threat. But if you're putting something human in, if it's real emotion, I mean because it is cliched, but this idea of there being perfection within the imperfection

Chuck Palahniuk (00:44:13): And there is calculated imperfection, which takes it to another level, and it's this kind of calculated imperfection where we achieve a greater bond with the reader that I don't think AI can do that AI can't do sexy AI really so far as I've seen, can't do funny. And I'd be really surprised if AI could do scary. So all these really intuitive emotional things, I don't know if AI is ever going to be able to do those. I hope not.

Michael David Wilson (00:44:51): And I wanted to ask, so you put these false facts in your fiction. Do you ever deliberately throw a false fact into an interview? Because I listened to an interview with you where you spoke about the movie adaptation, the innocence, and you were calling it a movie adaptation of We have always Lived in the castle, but I didn't know was that deliberate? Are you fucking with people? Are you waiting for them to trip you up, or did you just Yeah,

Chuck Palahniuk (00:45:24): See, that's the other wonderful thing is that when you do something like a typographical error, you pull the reader in that much closer because they found the thing that's wrong. And I find that when I look at pet Wanted, my cat is missing posters, I will find typographical errors that make me want to read. Every cat is missing poster, and it is the error, not the perfection that pulls my heart in, that pulls pulls in my attention when I'm in an Asian restaurant and they have badly translated items on the menu. That always sucks me in because it makes me feel superior to whoever translated the menu. But it also makes the restaurant owners seem human and it captures a part of my attention that otherwise would not be captured. And so this kind of calculated misstatement of things makes some so much more appealing for so many different reasons. And it also does what you just noted. In that case, I was confusing turn of the screw with we've always lived in the castle. I did collapse the two because the circumstance of the novel seems so similar, but I did so accidentally. But because I've established this pattern, you don't know when I'm doing it on purpose and when I've really got dementia because I've been drinking my ass off.

Michael David Wilson (00:46:56): Yeah, yeah, no, when I heard that in the interview, I'd thought, oh, man, when I'm talking to ak, have I got to listen on another level? He's going to throw these facts in and see do I call him out? But

Chuck Palahniuk (00:47:14): I love that it's something I used to do in college. I noticed in a lot of my German literature courses, we would read a play by Brecht and then we'd be asked to discuss it, and everyone would sit there in silence. And I would always think, I am paying a lot of money to sit in a room full of 40 bright people, all of whom are afraid to say the wrong thing and look like an idiot. So I would always just say, I think Bertolt Brecht, blah, blah, blah. And I would state some enormous falsehood just because it would trigger everyone in the room and everyone would instantly have to chime in and say how stupid I was. But it would get them to finally express themselves and to feel justified in doing so because I had said the ultimate stupid thing. And so I had become the sort of delegated stupid person in the room, and that it made it safe for them to risk saying something. So finally, discussion about Bertolt Brecht and the play would be possible because Chuck had said the fantastically stupid thing that they were all afraid of saying. And so if you can make yourself the idiot, you really give everybody else so much more courage because they no longer have to worry about being the idiot. And so that's another kind of freedom that I like to do in my books. It makes people right, and people love to be right, so just let 'em be right. And that in itself is so much joy.

Michael David Wilson (00:48:50): So you've done that in your books. You were doing that back in the day in the classroom. How often do you intentionally make yourself to be the idiot in everyday life or do you do this in business situations? I'm wondering how this extends to other aspects of your life.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:49:14): I did it when I worked at Freightliner for years. We would be in these seminars about new forms of air conditioning equipment for trucks, and there would be these enormous unstated questions everyone wanted, no one, especially in a room full of adult men. Nobody wanted to look like the dumb guy. So I would finally ask the dumb guy question and get clarification for everyone in the room. And afterwards, half the men would come up to me and say, thank God you asked that question. I had no idea what the technician was talking about. And so I've always done it just because I refuse to sit there in silence paying a lot of money to sit in silence because nobody will admit that they don't understand what's happening.

Michael David Wilson (00:50:04): I think the great thing as well about deliberately giving false facts and deliberately appearing stupid is now, as we said before, if you make a genuine mistake or if you say something unintentionally stupid, then it's like, well, maybe that was intentional and will never know.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:50:29): And it's a glorious little game. It takes it to a whole different level where you don't have to get everything right. Yeah, I love that. I just love every aspect of that.

Michael David Wilson (00:50:42): And we've been talking about being in the classroom and doing that in college with Bert Breck. One thing you've said before is in your workshops you are notorious for being a bit of a bastard to students. I'm wondering what are the most extreme things you have done?

Chuck Palahniuk (00:51:08): Wow. I had one student, I will not mention her name, but she brought in a very incredibly badly written story about a nine-year-old girl being raped by an intruder. And no one in the workshop would address the story because it's a nine-year-old girl getting raped. But she had written it so badly and it was so made up and it seemed so false and horrible that we all sat there in silence because nobody would touch it because just the nature of the story made it beyond comment. And I kind of had to let her have it because it was also made up and so pretend and it purported to depict a horrendous thing. Well, while completely making it up with no details and no thought and no care and no intention to honour the power of what this situation would've been, it was so incredibly superficial and silly and stupid, and yet it was still demanding so much respect because of the nature of the story.

(00:52:26): It's a nine-year-old girl being raped in her backyard by an adult male intruder. And she'd written it so badly that I had to call her on it and say, okay, how dare you tell this story and make this awful thing so tepid and so mundane and so filled with cliches and so badly written. You completely dishonoured this powerful story. And it was a very ugly class period because she clearly wanted to depict powerful things, but she did not want to depict them in any way that honoured the horror of them that made them really as horrifying as they actually were or would be in real life. There was no craft, no thought in it. She just dashed out this story, and I am sick of that. I am sick of people doing these slap dash stories that could be actual events in people's lives, but they expect that this story is going to get massive respect and accolades just because it's about a specific topic where it does nothing to unpack and depict the real horror of that topic. And yeah, she didn't come back after that. In fact, half the class didn't come back after that, which is fine with me because I would rather nobody come back than spend three hours a week listening to people who couldn't give a shit about the horrible things they're actually depicting that want to put no thought into inventing these horrible things that are just so superficial.

(00:54:22): You're not going to get away with that in my workshop. If you're going to depict it, you're going to really unpack it. Yeah, you're really going to have to unpack it and make it real on the page.

Michael David Wilson (00:54:34): Yeah, it feels like she wanted some sort of reaction, but without putting the work in, without earning it essentially. And I mean, it kind of reminds me of Jack Ketchum, Dallas Mayr talking about writing from the wound, but she wasn't writing from the wound. She was just fabricating something. And I mean, the tragedy is that she probably could have mined her own life or other experiences, and if she thought about the most horrible thing that had actually happened, she could have written it with some intentionality and authenticity. But I guess we do see that problem with some extreme horror where people are trying to be extreme for the sake of it, but totally gratuitously without really feeling it or even knowing what the hell they're writing about.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:55:36): Funny small world thing is our friend Tyler Jones, that name ring a bell.

Michael David Wilson (00:55:42): Of course, yeah. He is a fantastic writer. He is so underrated. Even now though, luckily he's getting more recognition.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:55:52): He was in workshop that night. He was one of the people who were so hands off with that story because of the nature of the story. So Tyler was there that night that I went off on that student.

Michael David Wilson (00:56:04): Oh, yeah. Did Tyler have anything to add to the discussion? It sounds like from the way that you presented it that no one had anything to add. You had handed her ass. There was no words required.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:56:26): If you get a write about these really extreme things, you have really got to go there. I am just so tired of seeing these kind of lukewarm, these very two dimensional depictions of what are really horrific acts. And I think that's why in a way, violence escalates in the culture because throughout my childhood, anytime someone got shot with a gun, they fell down dead and there was no blood, and they died instantly. When it's much more the case, there's going to be a lot of blood and it's going to take them 20 minutes or longer to die. When my father was shot and killed by the man who murdered him, it took him at least 20 minutes to die. And I had to know exactly from the coroner what each one of those 20 minutes was going to be like. What did my father experience moment to moment as he died?

(00:57:21): What was his experience of the physical process of death? And so when I see someone being shot or some violent action in a narrative, if it is not unpacked, if it is shown in that very clean shortcut cheating way, I am enraged, enraged that they would depict violence, that cavalierly, that casually, that bullshitting is bullshit. If you're going to depict violence, then you are going to depict violence in its full form, though exactly the way it should be. It should not be this little shortcut that makes everything look so peaceful and clean. I think that's why the culture becomes more violent is because people really aren't given that kind of cathartic, real version of violence. Did you ever see the movie Heavenly Creatures?

Bob Pastorella (00:58:24): I've heard of it, but I may have seen it, but maybe if you give me a synopsis, I can tell you, because titles sometimes allude to me.

Chuck Palahniuk (00:58:32): Peter Jackson, he broke out with movies like The Frighteners,

(00:58:39): Michael J. Fox, the Frighteners, and then he did a movie called Heavenly Creatures, which is a dramatisation of this real life case in which two adolescent girls in Australia fall in love with each other. They have a kind of emotional affair, and then they ultimately plot to kill one of their mothers. And so at the culmination of the movie, they put a brick in a nylon stalking and they beat this woman to death in the woods. And it is maybe the most authentic depiction of killing someone I've ever seen in the movies. And it is incredible. You really have a sense that you've witnessed someone being beaten to death, having her head just pummelling with this brick in a stalking. And the sounds and the emotion of it are so overwhelming that it is kind of my standard that if you're going to depict something violent, it has got to be as depicted as authentically as that murder scene in Heavenly Creatures. If you watch nothing else in Heavenly Creatures, the murder scene is absolutely beautiful and disturbing, and you will hear it in your head for the rest of your life, and that's the standard that if you're going to depict violence or anything else, you have got to honour it. You can't just do this kind of cheating bullshit version of it.

Bob Pastorella (01:00:17): I want to see it. I haven't seen it. I

Michael David Wilson (01:00:18): Believe that the

Bob Pastorella (01:00:20): Young actress, one of the actresses is, and I can't recall her name, but she's the lead in Yellow Jackets, the Showtime series. Now,

Chuck Palahniuk (01:00:29): Kate Winslet was one of the leads, so it was Kate Winslet's breakout.

Bob Pastorella (01:00:34): So I

Michael David Wilson (01:00:35): Think both of them,

Bob Pastorella (01:00:36): Kate and the other lady who, I can't remember her name,

Michael David Wilson (01:00:39): Both

Bob Pastorella (01:00:40): Great actresses,

Michael David Wilson (01:00:43): But

Bob Pastorella (01:00:44): Now I want to see this

Michael David Wilson (01:00:45): Movie just for this

Bob Pastorella (01:00:46): Fucking scene

Michael David Wilson (01:00:48): Because

Bob Pastorella (01:00:49): You hear of a

Michael David Wilson (01:00:50): Title

Bob Pastorella (01:00:50): Called Heavenly Creatures and you're like, oh, man,

Michael David Wilson (01:00:53): This

Bob Pastorella (01:00:53): Might be

Michael David Wilson (01:00:54): Some

Bob Pastorella (01:00:54): Little lovey-dovey type story or something like that. But no, this sounds like the epitome of

Michael David Wilson (01:00:59): Ultra

Bob Pastorella (01:00:59): Violence that

Michael David Wilson (01:01:00): I

Bob Pastorella (01:01:01): Need to definitely check out.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:01:03): It is a really slow build, and it has got one of the most horrifying endings you'll ever see in movies,

Bob Pastorella (01:01:10): Man. I'm definitely going to watch it.

Michael David Wilson (01:01:13): It's interesting though, particularly in films, how we have this kind of divide in terms of violence on screen, because I guess you've got more glamorised and sexy violence, for want of a better word, that you are seeing a lot of action movies and you're seeing things like John Wick and most Quentin Tarantino films. But then what you are describing in Heavenly Bodies, I mean, that is similar to a lot of the really visceral serial killer films. I mean, if you watch something like Snowtown that doesn't glamorise violence at all, you come away feeling as if you've literally just witnessed it. And it is difficult. It's uncomfortable, and I mean, you're right, that's the way that it should be. And I wonder what it is that has led to us glamorising violence, which actually then feeds back into not forever, but for now, particularly this attraction and this idolization that people seem to have for serial killers

Chuck Palahniuk (01:02:30): On some level. I think it always goes to power that, especially children idolise dinosaurs because dinosaurs are powerful, giant, powerful things, and they idolise superheroes because superheroes are outsiders and they are powerful, and kids are still kind of looking for their source of power, whether that's going to be beauty or strength or intellect. Kids are still trying to find their form of power. And so I think serial killers epitomise like Nazis, Nazis are endlessly fascinating because they embodied so much power. And so serial killers, I think, embody power for a lot of people.

Michael David Wilson (01:03:18): And I mean, it is interesting too, how you've combined that with the correspondence to people in prison as well. But of course, you've kind of done the reverse here because they think that they're getting a fan letter from someone idolising them, but actually they're setting up for something wholly different.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:03:43): I don't know where that came from, but that idea of them of children seeming children, courting psychotic, violent people, and sort of bringing that all to a head, I wish I'd come up with that a hundred years ago. That seems like such a great device.

Michael David Wilson (01:04:04): And I mean, related to that and related to not getting into legal complications, I love too, and it would be remiss not to mention all the wonderful Winnie Pooh metaphors and the Hundred Acre Wood and Christopher Robin, and of course, that's now fallen out of copyright,

Chuck Palahniuk (01:04:28): And I did not know it was out of copyright, because that's one of the magic things about books is that you can make references to things in the real world without getting sued. And so that's why in Fight Club, I could talk about Ikea furniture and I could use the actual names and colours from the Ikea catalogue where when Fox made the movie, they had to reinvent it entirely or IKEA would've sued them.

Michael David Wilson (01:04:51): And

Chuck Palahniuk (01:04:51): So one of the powers of books is that you can cite these real life things, whether or not they're in copyright.

Michael David Wilson (01:04:58): Yeah, yeah. And I mean, in terms of Fight Club, I mean, how do you feel now decades on that is still tapping into the general, I guess, kind of collective consciousness.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:05:22): It really took Fight Club about probably about 10 years. The book came out in 96. The movie came out in 99, but it wasn't in the public consciousness until probably 2002 or 2004. So it was about 10 years from publication to kind of the culture embracing it. And so probably as soon as I'm dead, not forever, it's going to become this massive touchstone in the culture because my books seem to be just way beyond what people will tolerate for 10 years or so. But I always think, and I always tell my students that it's not about being liked, it's about being remembered because people's taste and the cultural taste changes. And if you can stay in people's perception for a long enough period of time, then eventually the culture is going to embrace you. But within my lifetime, as a young person, I saw the enormous embrace of Philip k Dick. Do you remember in the eighties, suddenly Blade Runner, and I can remember it for you, wholesale and all of these classic Philip k Dick books were suddenly made into movies in the 1980s, and most of the culture had completely forgotten who Philip k Dick was. But suddenly in the eighties, Philip k Dick had this enormous fame that he never had in his lifetime. And it was because his books stayed in the consciousness of so many creative people that they could not be forgotten.

(01:06:58): I think I'm kind of on the same trajectory.

Michael David Wilson (01:07:02): It frustratingly seems to be a trajectory that many writers fall on. I mean, Edgar Allen Poe completely impoverished and in debt and bad hell throughout his life, only years later was then celebrated and lorded, but he never got to see or to know any of that.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:07:28): And the real cynical part of me thinks that you don't make money until you're making money for other people. So it's only when your work falls out of copyright, falls into public domain, and everybody can do what they want with it, that suddenly you become these massive cultural hits.

Michael David Wilson (01:07:46): Yeah, this is why creatives and writers frequently battle with depression and to be in a kind of marketplace in a field where this is the norm.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:08:06): But I find that I do a lot more drinking. I do a hundred times more drinking to cut happiness than to resolve sadness or dissatisfaction I drink because I cannot bear being too happy whenever good things happen. I have to drink heavily to bring myself back to kind of a feeling of normalcy. So I don't drink because I'm sad or angry. I drink always because I'm too happy and I need to sort of cut, dilute the happiness. So I'm not one of these unhappy drunks. I'm one of these drunks that's trying not to be too happy.

Michael David Wilson (01:08:47): Yeah. Yeah. Is the reason for diluting the happiness, is that more to do with creatively? Is that more to do with personally and how you feel comfortable operating as a human being? Is it a combination of the two?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:09:05): It is very much the latter in that I associate happiness with periods of manic behaviour or mania. And so I have to tamp down that mania either by going out and doing this enormously physical thing, like building something or by gardening very heavily. I have to have this very physical outlet. And if I don't have that when I'm on tour at the end of the evening, I've met a million people. I am filled with mania and happiness, but I still have to go back to my hotel room and try to sleep for six hours at this peak of mania, and that's when I have to drink.

Michael David Wilson (01:09:44): Right. This may be a bizarre question, but what do you think is one of the worst things that you've done when you were happy?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:10:02): Do you mean in terms of physical action?

Michael David Wilson (01:10:04): It can be interpreted as widely as you like?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:10:09): Boy, I've got so many stories like that. One of my sort of fallbacks is that I took a five hour flight to Fairbanks, Alaska to speak at a bookstore, and the flight got in close to midnight, and everyone on the flight was checking into the same Hilton hotel in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska. So as I'm standing in this long line of people around midnight, I take an Ambien and a sleeping pill, and I drink a glass of wine, and the line is so long that I have enough time to take two Ambien, two slipping pills and have two glasses of wine. And then I check in, and then I get to my room, and the next morning I woke up and there were pieces of bread with mayonnaise and mustard on them, and these pieces of bread were strewn. There was spread all over my room from wall to wall, and they were on pieces of furniture.

(01:11:12): They were everywhere, all these slices of bread. And I had no idea why they were in my room. So I called down, I said, did room service deliver a bunch of sandwiches to me last night? And they said, no, we don't have room service after midnight. And I said, well, did I order sandwiches? And they said, well actually, sir, you came down to the bar because we have pre-made sandwiches that you could buy in the bar. And typically when I'm on tour, I sleep in my underwear and I said, was I wearing any clothes? And they said, sir, you were wearing your under shorts and you came all the way down from the 18th floor and you bought every sandwich in the bar and you carried them all up almost naked to your room. And that's all we done. And so I had apparently walked down to the bar in my underwear, completely blackout on Ambien and wine, and I had bought maybe 20, 30 sandwiches. And then I had sat in my room and I had opened them up and I'd eaten the meat and the cheese out of each sandwich. And then I had just thrown the bread across the room. And that's why all these slices of bread were all over the room because I'd eaten the guts out of the sandwich and then gone to sleep. And I have no memory of that whatsoever, but that's one of several Edgar and Poe kind of stories.

Bob Pastorella (01:12:44): That's why you sometimes need to drink.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:12:49): Not anymore.

Bob Pastorella (01:12:53): That reminds me of when I used to drink. I've been alcohol free for going on 12 years, but for legal reasons. But yeah, and that's going to be coming to an end soon. But it reminds me of the worst blackout is just woke up one morning with some friends and just immediately went to the bathroom and threw up. And that didn't happen. And I'm like, why do I feel so crappy? I couldn't remember. And they're like, because you thought Mexican food Buffet was a good idea. I'm like, there's no such thing as Mexican food buffet. And they're like, oh, but you found it. And we ate there and I'm like, well, probably never again.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:13:48): I'll let you volunteer as much details as you want, but I'm still back on legally. I'm still way back there.

Bob Pastorella (01:13:55): I got myself into some heavy duty trouble about 12 years ago, and so I'm on felony probation. And so yeah, legally that's the only thing I have left. I'm on inactive probation, have no curfew. I can go where I want to. I have no travel restrictions. The only thing I can't do is drink and to make sure I don't drink. I have to maintain the breathalyser in my vehicle. And I have five months left, so it's like, are you going to drink after that? I'm like, I'll probably have a beer, but I won't drive. So lesson learned.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:14:34): I think there are good horror narratives that deal with addiction, and my favourite is always going to be The Hunger was made into a David Boy Catherine DeNure movie was Susan Sarandon, and it is a gorgeous movie. It is so stylish. I understand that it is David Fincher's favourite movie, even though he publicly really won't talk about it, that so many things in David Fincher movies were inspired by that Tony Scott, the Hunger. But it is one of those movies that kind of depicts addiction in a really elegant but also really gruesome way. I think it's a beautiful addiction movie

Bob Pastorella (01:15:18): And it works on multiple levels too because you talk about a blood addiction, you're also talking about addiction to life. David Bowie was given a promise that was broken, and he desperately wants that. He needs that because I think he begins to realise that it's a wicked, it was a wicked promise. So basically kind just like, yeah, you may live forever but you won't be young. So yeah.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:15:54): Did you ever read the Whitley Reber novel that was a source material for that?

Bob Pastorella (01:15:59): Yeah. Yeah. It's a little bit more in depth about the La Allure and Lili and that. It's been a long time I have that book, but I did read it back in the mass market paperback days. I was checking books out at the library and that was one of 'em, man, I got to read this book and then I realised I'd seen the movie already and I was like, oh wow, this is even better. This is really cool.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:16:31): And that's the kind of movie that shows how horror can talk about a social issue in a much more effective way by coming in with that metaphor. Ira 11 was a correspondent. We wrote back and forth for a number of years before he died, and I was always trying to get him to admit that Rosemary's baby was about thalidomide and how women had had these very disturbing pregnancies and had malformed children for a generation and nobody knew how to address that, the sadness of that. And then I think that that's why Rosemary's was such a huge hit because it addressed that enormous tragedy

Bob Pastorella (01:17:14): In

Chuck Palahniuk (01:17:14): An indirect way. And I think Ira 11, he always knew he'd get crucified if he'd written a popular novel about thalidomide. So he would never admit it to me, but I think he was thrilled that somebody figured it out.

Bob Pastorella (01:17:30): Yeah, that's another one of my all time favourite novels that it works on multiple levels of just even the film adaptation, say What you want about Roman Polanski, but at least he was innocent enough at the time to not realise that, Hey, I could actually change this story. No one told me. He just basically adapted the book and pulled whole chunks of dialogue and said, this is what we did. And with the exception of I think the cabin scene, it's pretty much intact.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:18:07): Yes, exactly. The cabin scene where she eats DTI Moore is like chilli. She eats huge bowls of chilli. It's like that would've been terrible in the movie. And he nailed it time and time again, step wides. He nailed the backlash against feminism so accurately in separate wives. And he also nailed the whole Martha Stewart thing 15 years before the fact that this kind of Martha Stewart sort of Connecticut life was out there with all these domestic goddesses. He created the template for Martha Stewart with step wives. He was just so way ahead on everything. And that's what I want to do. I see IRA 11 do it and it makes me want to do it. I want to do that. I want to hit that metaphor and nail that thing in the culture 20 years out.

Bob Pastorella (01:19:03): Yeah. How did the IRA 11 correspondence begin?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:19:09): I had written after nine 11, I was really determined to write three books to try to reinvent horror. And so I wrote a short story collection called Haunted, which includes the gut story where people pass out. And I wrote Lullaby, which is about crib death. And then I wrote a diary and diary is the kind of cycle story about how this island renews itself with money every generation or two. And IR 11 really liked diary, and so he endorsed it. It had all these IR 11 quotes on it, and I wrote to him, I said, thank you so much for helping market the book, because he'd always been a hero. And so we just started writing back and forth. And this is a typewriter letters. This is old school typewriter paper letters, and I'm so glad I have those letters.

Bob Pastorella (01:19:59): Yeah, yeah. No, we hear a lot about these different correspondences throughout

Michael David Wilson (01:20:06): History. Like I mentioned Jack Ketchum earlier, and he famously had a correspondence with Robert Block. So it is always interesting seeing how these writers kind of connect, and you could just follow it all the way back to the start of time.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:20:27): There's something so incredibly gorgeous about that. In a way, it always reminds me of Rice Vampires is that you become this thing, but you don't know how to do it. So you have to seek out mentors, people who are already doing it. And so it is a kind of apprentice, master relationship where you're kind of learning your new way of being from people who've done it for generations before you. And there's something so gorgeous and ancient about that.

Michael David Wilson (01:20:57): Yeah, yeah. Well, we've spoke before about how we are living in a world of commodification and products and consumerism. Now I'm wondering, in a world of commodification, how does one go about authentically showing love? And I mean for you, you've been married to your husband for 10 years now, 30 together for 30.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:21:31): Yes.

Michael David Wilson (01:21:32): So I mean, when it comes to gift buying, do you deliberately resist getting Rolexes or diamonds that you're like, no, we've got to do something more. This is too commodified. I'm wondering, what are your tips for showing love? What do you attribute such your longstanding and successful relationship to?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:22:01): And I think it works in fiction as well. It's about paying attention. And if somebody says, I would really like to have blank, then you are paying enough attention that you'll remember that until it's appropriate to spring that blank. And a million years ago when I was putting manuscripts together and I was making submissions because Mike and I have been together since before I was a writer, and at one point I had to three hole punch all my manuscripts at Freightliner at work. So I had to sneak the manuscripts in there and three hole punch them on this giant super punch. And I mentioned to Mike that I wanted to have one of those really powerful three hole super punchers, and he got it for me. And that was over 30 years ago, and I still have it. That's still what I do with my manuscripts on.

(01:22:52): And it's about listening close enough. Then when the person sort of says something about their desire and their intention that you can notice and you can help fulfil that intention when the time is appropriate, you can give them something that is in direct sort of correlation to what they intend to do with their life, but that requires really, really paying attention and not just watching television ads to see what everyone else is giving that year. And you really have to pay attention to who the person is. So when they do make their needs known, you can fulfil that need. And it's not tough, but you end up giving gifts that the other person has forever.

Michael David Wilson (01:23:46): Everything, not just love, but writing and all facets of human experience seemed to come back to this simple truth of just listening, just being attentive. I mean, that seems to be how we get these authentic stories as well. And I know that a lot of your preparation or a lot of your story ideas or threads of the narrative come from simply listening to other people,

Chuck Palahniuk (01:24:17): Especially when I'm coming up with a voice. Because with every book, ideally, it's about having a voice that is its own wardrobe of phrasing so that it is not about constantly rephrasing everything. It's about phrasing everything in a consistent way. In this book, it's all written in that Britt speak. And so it became about just completely becoming immersed in Britt speak and coming up with all these phrases that could be repeated over and over having a go, having it off because people don't speak from an enormous vocabulary. And so another thing that really irritates me is when a book seems very writerly, the writer always has to use a different verb for when somebody says something he chimed in or he retorted. I just always irritates me that it sounds like a writer wrote it instead of a person just telling a story because a person just telling a story has a very limited sort of vocabulary or phraseology. And so I'm always looking for what is the wardrobe of this character in terms of language? What is the phrases they're going to repeat over and over every time they tell a story?

Michael David Wilson (01:25:37): And in terms of the Britt speaking, not forever, but for now, it's interesting because the vast majority is kind of upper class Britt speak, but occasionally you'll throw in a few words that are just kind of disconnected from that. I mean, you referenced Chaves at some point. That is not upper class Britt talk. So I mean, this is again, the kind of catching you off guard and really making the reader pay attention to what's going on

Chuck Palahniuk (01:26:11): In America. So much of what we know about Britts speak comes from BBC America, and we're given these BBC comedies where they really use low language, but we as Americans think that it's everyday language in Great Britain. And I was at this very dignified publishing dinner party in London once, and everything was just so posh. It was so nice. And at one point I excused myself and I said, please excuse me, I've got to have a slash. And my publisher was mortified because I had learned having a slash from BBC America, but apparently it is the course way you could possibly say, I've got to take a piss. And I announced it to the entire table thinking it was the proper British way of phrasing it. So it really is a minefield if you learn it from BBC America.

Michael David Wilson (01:27:08): I'm sure though all the polite Britts just laughed awkwardly at the interjection

Chuck Palahniuk (01:27:16): And then later told me what I'd done wrong.

Michael David Wilson (01:27:19): Yeah. Well, I mean, how else you going to learn? Really? We learn so much through our mistakes and you did your best.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:27:34): Well, and I think that's part of the charm is again, going back to the mistake, the typographical error, the misstatement of fact is that it's these little cracks that make narrative, that make a story that you can get into it, that you can sympathise with a character. We know that Joanna Eberhart is going to be made into a robot, but we still root for her. We know that Rosemary Woodhouse is pregnant with the Devil's baby, but we still root for her. In fact, our heart goes out to her even more because we feel so much more intelligent than her. We know as the reader, we know far more than she knows about her own world. We know everything. And so it's that feeling of superiority and a kind of parental kindness that we feel for the character who misstates things or who is unaware of the circumstance of their existence. It's such a human way into the story.

Michael David Wilson (01:28:36): Well, talking about things that would not be appropriate at a British dinner party. And if you don't remember what I'm referencing, this is going to seem very odd. Is the world ready for your Reese Witherspoon poop story?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:28:54): Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh, that Reese Witherspoon poop story is based on Louis Hyde's academic writing about the reception of the Robert Mapplethorpe obscenity pictures. And so there's an enormous depth to that story about how provocative art rallies people to defend seemingly well previously sacred things that are brought back to a kind of sacredness. Anyway, it's a really deep story that deeply pissed off Reese Witherspoon, and I will never hear the end of it. Reese Witherspoon apparently is now my mortal enemy because I was trying to make a point about Robert Mapplethorpe and Lewis Hyde. So sorry, Reese.

Michael David Wilson (01:29:45): There you go. Well, we've got a couple of Patreon questions, so I'd like to jump into those. So first of all, from Solomon Forshee, he says, thank you so much for changing my life because I never started selling stories until I applied the lessons from your book. Consider this to my writing for my question. I'm thinking of your advice. Do not write to be liked, write to be remembered. Can you tell us about any memorable experiences that may have inspired that philosophy?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:30:31): Wow. In 1990, I sent off my first novel to a possible agent, and I was calling this poor man night and day, and finally I called him from a payphone. But back then, you put your quarters into the phone and you called New York, and I remember the man saying, I'm not going to represent this book because I thought parts of it were really deeply disturbing. And I said, I can change those parts. Please let me know the parts you disliked, and I will rewrite those parts and change them. And he hemmed and hawed and he finally said, no, seriously, actually, I found the entire book disturbing, and I disliked the entire book, and without missing a beat, I said, then I will rewrite the entire book. And then I heard myself and I thought, no, I am not going to spend the rest of my life rewriting everything so that everyone likes it, all that's going to turn writing into every other job that I've ever had to work, making somebody else happy. And so I apologised to the man, I said, thank you for reading my manuscript. Please throw it away. And from that moment, I realised I had to write to make my own self happy, otherwise I was never going to be happy. So yeah.

Michael David Wilson (01:32:06): Do you think at the moment with people becoming more aware of others sensitivities, is there a problem in which people are self-censoring their own work more and that they're writing more to be liked rather than remembered? Is that a problem that you see happening in today's climate?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:32:35): I see it in publishing. I see publishers becoming very timid about what they're going to bring to market for fear of a social pushback. But I think it's a short-lived phenomenon because it sort of happened in comics, and then comics realised there really wasn't any money and trying to make everyone happy. There's an old saying about if you design a house that's going to make one person fantastically happy, then the whole world ultimately loves that house. But if you're going to try to design a house that will make everyone happy, the whole world is eventually going to hate that house. And so I think that as happened in comics, that Prose Publishing is going to realise that people respect a unity of vision and a really authentic vision much more than they respect this kind of pandering that we've fallen into where you're trying to pander to every single part of the market. You're trying to make everybody happy. Ultimately, people do not respect that.

Michael David Wilson (01:33:40): And I think as well, it is okay for some people to not like your stuff. Not only is it okay, it's realistic.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:33:50): You

Michael David Wilson (01:33:50): Can't think of a book that is universally loved. It's impossible,

Chuck Palahniuk (01:33:57): And if it is, it's because a lot of people are lying. There's a lot of books that I will say I really love, but I absolutely hate.

Michael David Wilson (01:34:08): Yeah,

Chuck Palahniuk (01:34:08): Yeah. And I'm sorry my mom didn't like my books. Your mom may not like your book, but you can still like your mom.

Michael David Wilson (01:34:16): Yeah. Yeah. Do you find then that for yourself, you sometimes say that you like books that you don't even now?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:34:29): Boy, I found that there's a whole science about how to phrase things so that you can let the smart people know that you don't like it, but you don't have to overtly say, I don't care for it, and then articulate why you don't care for it. There's just so many words like ambitious, oh my gosh, it's such an ambitious book, which means it failed. There's just such a language for communicating disinterest or dislike that I've become much more cagey about it now.

Michael David Wilson (01:35:02): Yeah. Do you find that that is something that you have to be more aware of as quite a prominent writer, so you have a responsibility to not completely publicly trash your book that you didn't like?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:35:21): I think on a more basic level, I just don't want to put that energy out there.

(01:35:26): It is so much more rewarding to find, to be able to articulate your love of something. And that's why in this book, always going back to the book, is it writing apostolic fiction when one character is expressing love and admiration for another character, even if the other character is deeply flawed? This book is about one little brother talking about his older brother. And we get early on that the older brother Otto, is really a deeply disturbed character, but his little brother loves him so much that when you can articulate your love for something or someone, there is such a feeling of pleasure in that. And the world kind of wants to be with that pleasure. They want to be with someone who can articulate their love for someone else. And I'd much rather spend my life articulating my love than articulating my hatred.

Michael David Wilson (01:36:25): Yeah. Yeah. I think not only does it make sense, but it's the best way for anyone to be really. I mean, why spend so much time on hatred when love is an alternative,

Chuck Palahniuk (01:36:42): And you get so excited when you can articulate your love. And you can explain why you love a thing or why you love a person.

Michael David Wilson (01:36:50): Yeah. Well, talking about things that people loved, Robert Stahl loved your book, consider this, which is in the next question as well. He says it's in his top five writing books of all time. He wants to know, do you have any plans to do another?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:37:12): I have a Substack, which I have neglected since tours started, and the Substack has kind of become my place for putting a lot of workshop lectures and a lot of the ideas, it's called Plot Spoiler. And so I've run the Substack for a couple years. So it's got an enormous amount of that sort of additional material that would've gone into a second writing book, and maybe eventually it will all go into a writing book. But for right now, all of that additional stuff is on the plot spoiler Substack.

Michael David Wilson (01:37:49): And your Substack is such a fascinating place. And I mean you putting out articles, you are putting out posts on a pretty regular basis. I know as you say, it's slowed down with the tour, but it feels in general pretty relentless. And I'm wondering, as somebody who prior to that was actually quite a private individual, how has Substack changed you both as a writer and a person?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:38:22): I never really used social media, and so in a way has become social media for me, a way of meeting people in a kind of way of supporting people and comparing ideas. And I think I really cultivated a very small group of writer friends because I was trying to stay out of the mainstream to stay out of a lot of politics and writing. And as I grow older, I find that maybe I can do them both. Maybe I can be part of the world as well as being a writer. So that's why I've tried to do it this way.

Michael David Wilson (01:39:01): And I mean, how much time is that taking out of your life and out of your writing routine, like your fiction writing routine, logistically putting these substack posts together?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:39:18): It's taken a huge amount of time, but it's time that probably would've been spent socialising. So in a way, the Substack is just a different form of socialising. I spent a lot of time in the comments as well where I'm responding to people personally and back and forth, just kind of finding out who they are. And so that seems very fulfilling, like socialising and when the right idea comes along, the idea kind of completely absorbs me. I wrote so much almost all of not forever, one winter when it was snowing very heavily and I had a wood fire in the little stove, and I basically signed off of Substack for about three weeks, and I did nothing but put wood in the stove and just write. So I wrote the whole first draught just in the middle of winter with snow outside, and I was trapped. I'm willing to set the Substack aside when I need to.

Michael David Wilson (01:40:16): Yeah. If I'm thinking about the timing correctly, I guess Substack must have turned up in terms of your own personal Substack around the time of the pandemic. Is that right?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:40:28): Not to give too much away, but Substack approached me and George Saunders and Salman Rushdie, and they said a lot of musicians can't tour right now, so they're doing Substack and no writers could tour either. I had three books out the year of the lockdown. I toured for the first one for consider this, but I couldn't tour for Fight Club three, and I couldn't tour for the invention of Sound Sock offered us and coached us, the three of us, me and Saunders and Rushdie to do Stack, and that became a replacement for book tour that year.

Michael David Wilson (01:41:07): Yeah, I guess you can't give too many insider secrets as to the coaching for Substack.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:41:16): They paid us.

Michael David Wilson (01:41:17): There you go. That's what you want. I mean, yeah, it is really taken off. And I imagine that Substack continues to be a financially lucrative part of what you're doing as well.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:41:35): It is. Actually just before tour, I knew that I was going to neglect it. So typically in August and September is when all the subscriptions would renew, and I knew that that was going to be a giant money dump, but I didn't want to feel like I was cheating people, and I knew I was going to have to leave on tour and neglect it. So I asked everyone not to renew their subscription, which probably did not make Substack happy, but I think the majority of my subscribers, they stayed as subscribers, but they were no longer paid subscribers because I had asked them not to re-up as paid subscribers. I did not want to feel like I was asking for their money and I wasn't going to deliver as much content as I was delivering up to that point. I will get back to that level, but I do not want to feel like I'm ripping them off in the meantime. So when I'm performing, I will allow them to renew their paid subscriptions. But for now, I've been very dissuading people not to do so. Yeah, I don't want to cheat people.

Michael David Wilson (01:42:45): It's a very ethical way of doing things and almost like the reverse capitalism, the opposite of what we see from so many corporations. But we are coming up, unfortunately to the time that we have to together today. I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about any future projects. My understanding is that you're currently working on a strange science fiction novel, and you've also been commissioned to write a play by the Steppen Wolf Theatre Company.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:43:21): Yes. Next week I start meetings with Steppen Wolf. My dream is to write a live theatre play because it seems like the ultimate form of minimalism where your characters are limited, your time is limited, your settings are limited, your objects are limited. It is the ultimate minimalist story for me. So I'm hoping that me and Steppenwolf can put this project together. Recently, a big outfit in an adult animation called Shadow Machine had a hit with the Guillermo del Toro, reinterpretation of Pinocchio.

(01:43:56): They also have a lot of cartoons on Adult Swim, and they've opened a Portland office. And so I'm in meetings with them because they want to produce a bunch of my short stories, the more extreme things they want to produce those as adult animated sort of possibly a series for streaming or for television. So I am working with a shadow machine about producing these animated stories. Boy, a lot of the dinosaurs I used to work with in publishing these incredibly bright, hardworking, very connected guys, they retired about two years ago and now they are bored to piss. And so they're now coming and they're approaching their favourite writers and their favourite illustrators and their favourite printers, and they're putting together these fantastically luxe illustrated versions of stories and story collections and novels. And so these guys who used to be the point people at Penguin Random House and the Point people at McMillan, all these big name publishers, they've gotten really bored with retirement, and they're putting together a whole new class of books out in the world. And so I'm looking at a lot of those projects, and these are all dinosaur guys in England that I worked with for decades, and they know everybody and they know everything, and I cannot wait to see what they put together. And so I'll be working with several of them to put out these Luxe gift editions.

(01:45:34): I don't think we've even seen the tip of that iceberg. These are really, really bright gifted people who know bright gifted people. And so they're like the ultimate movie producer, and the books that they create are going to be fantastic. Instead of doing 15 books every season with a publisher, they're doing one book that's going to take 'em two or three years. So these are going to be glorious books. Yeah, that's just like three or four different things I've got besides the science fiction book fiction. Next year I'm supposed to have out a completely rewritten version of the serialised novel I had on ck. It was called Greener Pastors. And so Greener Pastors, as far as I'm concerned, needs a whole new voice. It needs a whole new second act, so it's going to be massively rewritten from what people saw on the plot spoiler, and I've got to have that done by February. So yeah, that's it. That's my life.

Michael David Wilson (01:46:32): Well, that is all tremendously exciting. And if you want to, we'd love to have you come back and to talk about Greener Pastures and the new series, the animated series as well. There's so much going on. It's always a pleasure chatting with you, so thank you very much.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:46:55): Hey, thank you. And yeah, it's been a blast. I'm sorry it took us so long.

Michael David Wilson (01:47:01): Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean recently a lot of it has been my fault

(01:47:08): For

(01:47:09): Getting ill. I mean, I didn't deliberately get ill. That's not like my kink, but

(01:47:14): It just

(01:47:15): Happened to be that

(01:47:16): Way. But

(01:47:18): Yeah, life is busy. It's how

(01:47:20): It goes.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:47:22): And Bob, it's a pleasure to meet you.

Bob Pastorella (01:47:24): Yeah, well, thank you. I missed the last time you were on because I was evacuated for a hurricane and actually came back in town and had no power and was keeping track of Michael through my phone and my power came back on five minutes after you and Michael ended your conversation, and that is absolutely no shit. But I'm glad I finally got a chance to talk to you because golly, man, you're writing, you hear this a lot from people, but your writing kind of changed me around. I got disillusioned with horror back in the nineties and turned to looking at crime fiction, and a friend of mine turned me on to, he was like, hand me books from William Burrows, all these people, and he's hand me this book called Fight Club. He's like, dude, you need to read this book. And I read it, and then I went and got survivor choke, kept on going, just kept going.

(01:48:30): And I said, somebody has got it. They figured out that you can write about flawed, fucked up people, fearlessly without any type of retribution or anything like that, and actually put out a fucking book and someone published it. And that's been my going drive. And it actually got me back into horror fiction because like I said, I was totally disillusioned with the White Knight hero, come to save the day, this guy's flawless and all that. It's like, Pete, that ain't real. And so there's some realism in the horror that I needed to find, and you opened the door for that. So thank you. Thank you for doing that.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:49:15): I'm going to ask you about three weirdo horror films to see if you've seen them. And the first one is a very atmospheric horror movie from the sixties called Carnival of Souls.

Bob Pastorella (01:49:26): I have not seen it, but I have it on my list to watch very, very soon.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:49:31): It just came on streaming, so look for it. Carnival of Souls,

Bob Pastorella (01:49:35): I think it's on a Criterion channel, so I'm definitely, yeah,

Chuck Palahniuk (01:49:39): I think I saw it on Tubi last night. The other one is a 1970s really atmospheric movie called Let's Scare Jessica to Death. Have you seen it?

Bob Pastorella (01:49:51): One of my all time favourite films. I saw it when it was on television. I believe it was an encore performance on television, and my dad made me watch it. And that movie has scarred me, no pun intended, because our scars has scarred me for life. So I actually have it on Blu-Ray, one of my all time favourite films. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:50:17): It is such a strange vampire movie because it doesn't have any of the tropes, but it's still an excellent movie.

Bob Pastorella (01:50:24): It takes you to the end before you realise that what's going on. And I love that. And the way that it was presented on the screen, the guy at the store, and everybody's got these marks, and then the ending scene with the guy on the tractor and everything, it was starting to burn in my brain since I was five years old. Love it, love it, love it.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:50:49): When she runs up through that huge clot of insecticide to find the guy on the tractor.

Bob Pastorella (01:50:54): Yes. Everything

Chuck Palahniuk (01:50:55): About that scene is terrifying.

Bob Pastorella (01:50:59): So good. So good.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:51:02): Good. I hesitate to mention another one, but the Legend of Boggy Creek, it was pretty much that same era,

Bob Pastorella (01:51:09): Seen it, but it's been a long time, long time since I've seen it, but I have seen it.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:51:15): Parts of it hold up very similar to Let's Scare Jessica to Death because they have a kind of documentary, very gritty quality to them.

Bob Pastorella (01:51:24): So

Chuck Palahniuk (01:51:24): You might take a look at that one, and it's now a classic, but session nine, I will Always Love, have you seen it?

Bob Pastorella (01:51:32): Yeah. Me, Michael, and Neil McRobert actually unboxed that one for patrons to just what, a couple months ago. Love Session Nine. One of my all time favourites.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:51:46): There's a director I've been in touch with, he did The Moth Man Prophecies, which I first saw on aeroplanes , and I really enjoyed, it's become one of my Go-tos. His name is Mark Ellington, and he's got a memoir coming out next year, so I'd like to put him in touch with you guys because I think he'd make an excellent guest,

Bob Pastorella (01:52:05): If I'm not mistaken. I've heard that, and maybe not him, but I think it is him, that they're actually going to do a Moth Man series.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:52:13): He had talked a little bit to me about the legality of that, so I think it might happen, but it might not. It's still a little up in the air.

Bob Pastorella (01:52:22): Yeah. But yeah. Oh yeah, I'm sure we definitely would like to chat with him. That would be cool.

Chuck Palahniuk (01:52:28): Great. I'll put you in touch.

Michael David Wilson (01:52:31): Alright. Did you have any final thoughts you wanted to leave our listeners with?

Chuck Palahniuk (01:52:39): One thing I've mentioned just a couple times is that I always think of my books as a fairytales adults, because as children were taught that if you obey all the rules and you delay gratification for as long as possible, and eventually at the end you'll get a tiny bit of carnality, somebody will kiss you and you will live happily ever after in this vague way and you'll be just happy. But everybody I knew, as soon as they hit adolescence, they acted out and they broke every rule and they got so high and they got so drunk and they slept with so many people that by the time they were in their mid to late twenties, they were terrified that they would never pair Bond. They would never find love, that they were incapable of loving by that point, that they were so unredeemable that they would be miserable for the rest of their lives. And I always think that in my books, it's always about depicting those characters and depicting them, finding happiness regardless of all of their acting out and all their failures and all their irredeemable, they ultimately pair bond with another person. They find a mission for their life. They find happiness at the end. And so my books are fairytales for the rest of us who messed it all up. So there it's,

Michael David Wilson (01:54:03): Thank you so much for listening to Chuck Palahniuk onThis is Horror. Join us again next time when we will be discussing and analysing Michael Hanneke's cult classic, Funny Games. But if you want to get that and every other episode ahead of the crowd, do become our Patreon at patreon.com/this is horror. Not only do you get to listen to episodes before everyone else, but you can become a part of the Writer's Forum on Discord, and you can submit questions to each and every interviewee. And coming up in the next month, we will be chatting to a slew of great writers, including Jason Parin, the author of John Des at the end, Matthew Holness, AKA Garth Merengue, and Rachel Harrison, the author of Black Sheep. So if you have a burning question for any of them, do ensure you become a paton at patreon.com/this is horror. Okay, before I wrap up, a quick advert break,

Bob Pastorella (01:55:15): House of Bad Memories. The debut novel from Michael David Wilson comes out on Friday the 13th this October via cemetery Gates media. Denny just wants to be the world's best dad to his baby daughter, but things get messy when he starts hallucinating his estranged, abusive stepfather, Frank, then Frank winds up dead and Denny is held hostage by his junkie Half Sister, who demands he uncovers the cause of her father's death. Will Denny defeat his demons or be perpetually tortured for refusing to answer impossible questions? Clay McLeod Chapman says, house of bad memories hit so hard. You'll spit teeth out once you're done reading it. Pre-Order, house of Bad Memories by Michael David Wilson and paperback@cemeterygatesmedia.com or an ebook via Amazon Markie. Hartwell is a death doula aiding people as they exit. This world isn't just her job, it's her calling. Unfortunately, being a doula has caused Marky her girlfriend, Paula, and her future together when a hospice notification in informs Marky did. A patient named Franklin is dying alone with no family, friends, or neighbours to comfort him. Marky sets up in the worst storm she's ever seen because no one should die alone. The death doula. The LEC is now available in paperback and ebook from Cemetery Gates Media.

Michael David Wilson (01:56:30): Well, that about does it for another episode of Thiss Horror. But as you know, I've recently released my debut novel, house of Bad Memories, a novel in fact at Jonathan Jans, the author of Veil, Marla, and Children of the Dark praised Highly. He said, writing with razor sharp witt and gut piercing honesty, Michael David Wilson's House of Bad Memories will entertain you and shock you at turns, unnerving and hilarious, brutal and heartbreaking. This is a tale that seizes you by the throat and refuses to let go until the final twisty page highly recommended. And your reward for listening to another entire episode at this is horror is simple. You can get the audiobook a House of Bad Memories for free. All you need to do is email me, michael@thisishorror.co.uk, and no strings attached. You will get a free audio book, A House of Bad Memories. Well, okay, friends, until next time when we analyse Michael Hanneke's Funny Games, take care of yourselves, be good to one another, read horror, keep on writing, and have a great, great day.

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