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Tell All: The Day I Met Chuck Palahniuk

May 7. 2010

Last night, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting a man who has been one of the biggest influences on my intellectual life.

What does it say about me that I have intense fangirl feelings for our generation’s greatest satirist?

Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, among many others, released his eleventh novel recently.  Last night I attended the New York reading of Tell All at Cooper Union college, and was lucky enough (nerdy enough) to be one of the first hundred people to pre-order a copy of the book, thus securing myself VIP passes to a meet and greet and signing with Mr. Palahniuk himself, after the reading.

Now, I know Chuck ain’t for everyone, and definitely isn’t for the faint of heart, but ever since I was fourteen and first read Fight Club, I’ve been hooked.  When it comes to literature, I love it all, but my favorite genre is satire (I have a thing for Vonnegut and George Orwell too – and did you know George Orwell isn’t really his name?), and he is damn good at it.  I am the proud owner of all eleven novels and all three non-fiction publications crafted by the hands of Chuck Palahniuk, and even once aspired to write a senior thesis for English on his novels and the role of satire in modern day literature.  The only two authors I’ve read more thoroughly than Palahniuk are JK Rowling (laugh at me) and TS Eliot (don’t ask).  Almost every other author who has influenced my life is already dead (except for Rowling, who I’ll probably never meet, and Michael Cunningham, whom I will make it my business to meet).

Ever since I found out I would come face to face with Chuck Palahniuk, I’ve agonized over the details – what will I say, what will I wear, what will I bring?  Even last night, waiting in line to finally meet him, I still had no idea what I would say.  How could I, in the few moments I had face to face, truly let him know how much his work has meant to me, how much he has helped open my eyes to the hilarity that is modern American society?

And imagine my embarrassment at the fact that I, upon meeting one of my life-long idols, didn’t even have a proper camera to document the moment?  Oh no.  BlackBerry cameras – for the win?

me, word-vomiting all over Chuck Palahniuk. blurry boyfriend hiding in the background.

When I finally came face-to-face with him, I shook his hand, and then  babbled incoherently about how he has affected my life and how, when I read his second novel, I was so enthralled by it that it made me miss both my subway stop and my bus stop.  And he looked at me.  In my eyes.  I hope he knew.  I hope he could tell how much that moment meant to me.

I have yet to read the new novel, but thankfully it’s going to be a beautiful weekend that I can spend in my backyard, devouring the word candy I’ve been waiting for ever since his last novel was published.  I’ll tell you how it is 🙂

Hotties!  Since I love and adore books and I trust all of your minds, and since you are all readers of blogs I assume you’re readers in life too (but hey if I’m wrong, let me know, I know what happens when you assume..).  Please tell me: What is your favorite book? I am always looking for recommendations!

Have an amazing and hot hot hot weekend, my loves!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) permalink
    May 8. 2010 12.11 am

    how cool that you got to meet him!! so fun 🙂 i don’t know my favorite book, isn’t that sad? a goal of mine this summer is to read more!

  2. May 8. 2010 1.49 am

    what a super cool meetup!

    have a super weekend ilana, and loved your comment…muah!!!!

  3. May 8. 2010 5.19 am

    Amazingggg. hahah i love his note to you
    I was there and it was awesome, but unfortunately I was not VIP so i didn’t get to meet him. :/

    • May 8. 2010 9.34 pm

      I keep opening the book and FREAKING OUT! I can’t believe it’s real. Also, I think it’s so cool you were there! I came home from the event and there were already pictures up on Flickr…it was so creepy/cool to think that I was at this same location with all these other people and now we are all on the internet sharing our experiences…Amazing and weird.

  4. May 8. 2010 5.31 am

    This was a beautiful thing to read! I love how honest you were about how you felt, and how it really showed how much this meant to you. I LOVE what he wrote on your book! Suffice to say I am incredibly jealous. I have no idea what I would say to him!

    🙂 I’m glad you got to meet him!
    Besides Palahniuk, my biggest literary love is Thomas Hardy. I will never get to meet him. Oh dear!

  5. Anjali permalink
    May 8. 2010 6.57 am

    I LOVE fight club, i def. need to catch up on books…i always say that haha

    • May 8. 2010 9.33 pm

      Fight Club will aalwaaaysss be a favorite of mine.

  6. Ferd permalink
    May 8. 2010 11.46 am

    Great Chuck! I’m from Brazil and I love his books. Amazing contemporary literature.

    • May 8. 2010 9.32 pm

      Yes indeed he is! I’m so happy I got to meet him – he’s really shaped a lot of my vision.

  7. May 8. 2010 12.44 pm

    Great! I’d like to meet him someday as well. My favorite book is Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It is a mighty book to read, but well worth it.

  8. Andrea permalink
    May 8. 2010 4.06 pm

    I had a similar experience during the Snuff tour. Waiting in line was pure agony, and I don’t think I have ever been that nervous to talk to someone. He was so nice and easy to talk to though…he has such a great presence.

    • May 8. 2010 9.32 pm

      I know! I still have no idea what I really said though…haha. Oh to meet him … again.

  9. May 8. 2010 6.26 pm

    ‘Haunted’ is by far my favorite Palahniuk. I’m a total nerd for him too and have all of his books! I can’t wait until Monday to attend his reading here in Chicago! It’s the first time I think I’ve ever looked forward to a Monday in my life 🙂

  10. May 8. 2010 11.29 pm

    So cool that you got to meet him!

  11. May 22. 2010 3.19 am

    ASDFJANVAOHFSDF!!! YOU DID NOT!!! seriously? seriously. chuck palahniuk is one of my favorite favorite FAVORITE writers. basically every writer you mentioned in that paragraph i have a literary crush on. dang, i’m so jealous right now! very cool experience, no doubt :)!

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