Chuck Palahniuk Fun Facts to Known & Tell By Mike White. "If you’re ever in a hotel lobby and they start to play "The Blue Danube Waltz," get the hell out...that waltz means that they need to evacuate the building...

"If you’re ever in a hotel lobby and they start to play "The Blue Danube Waltz," get the hell out...that waltz means that they need to evacuate the building."Choke

As most folks who have read some Palahniuk, I was introduced to the author’s work via the cinematic adaptation of Fight Club. As soon as I saw this 1999 film by David Fincher, I became a bit obsessed with it. After a single viewing, I went straight out and bought the deluxe DVD edition. Fight Club tops the short list of myriad films in my collection that I’ve taken the time to view with audio commentary. Moreover, I watched the film with every different commentary that the DVD had to offer and more than once. That can’t be said for any other film that I’ve ever bothered to rent or buy.

I approached Palahniuk’s Fight Club with trepidation. "What if this is one of those cases where a great movie was made from a shitty book?" Luckily, that was not to be. I enjoy the book as much as the film. Appetite whetted, I had to read more of Palahniuk’s work. By that time his Invisible Monsters and Survivor were out in paperback. I read both of them over a weekend and, suffice to say, was not disappointed. Of all of Palahniuk’s works, I think I like the aforementioned best with the possible addition of Lullaby and Choke, leaving only Diary in the cold.

"Just ask me how to get bloodstains out of a fur coat...The secret is cornmeal and brushing the fur the wrong way."Survivor

The publication of Stranger Than Fiction in summer 2004 showed that Palahniuk was as masterful at nonfiction as fiction. This collection of short stories also provides readers with a Rosetta stone for Palahniuk’s inspiration. Broken into three sections-People Together, Portraits, and Personal-several of the stories in Stranger Than Fiction became the foundation upon which Palahniuk’s works were built.

The staunch supporters of amateur wrestlers with their cauliflower ears and proud battle scars of "Where Meat Comes From" stand as obvious archetypes for the participants of Fight Club. The men obsessed with building modern day castles, which Palahniuk compares to Karl Jung, recall the brick by brick "Confession in Stone" made by Denny in Choke. The quest for steroids in "Frontiers" fuels the drug-addled drag story, Invisible Monsters, shining a brighter light on why Palahniuk lists Katie Arnoldi’s Chemical Pink as required reading. Even the supernatural aspects of Lullaby make an appearance in the psychic tale, "The Lady." In other words, the hours Palahniuk has put in investigating for these taut tales act as a breeding ground for his novels.

"Old-school building contractors [would] never start a new house on a Monday. Only on a Saturday...They’ll always leave one wall unpainted until the owners arrive. That way the devil won’t know the house is done until it’s already being lived in."Diary

Indeed, Palahniuk doesn’t squander his time. He hasn’t stopped working since he managed to get his first novel published. Moreover, Palahniuk peppers his work with some of the bizarre facts that he’s uncovered during his research. These tidbits have become Palahniuk’s trademark and make for great conversation starters... and enders.

Originally, this article was going to be an interview. However, I managed to alienate Chuck Palahniuk’s rep at Random House. I’m not sure what I did to deserve the shabby treatment but I quickly found myself on the "pay no mind list" whenever I would approach this fellow for an interview opportunity. It wasn’t like the author was being some kind of Salingeresque recluse. Everybody and his brother could score an interview with the Portland, Oregon-based author—from prestigious publications to crappy little websites. Apparently, Cashiers du Cinemart doesn’t qualify as either.

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