My Secret Life: Chuck Palahniuk, author, 49


My parents were... timid towards the world. They passed that on, very much.

The household I grew up in... was organised, it was meticulous. They had four children; six people caged in.

When I was a child I wanted to... be either a dog or a priest. I think I have achieved some aspects of both.

If I could change one thing about myself... My cowardice.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... listening. People come to me about their dreams.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... driving cars.

At night I dream of... dessert.

I wish I'd never worn... Hammer pants – those very baggy pants from the 1980s.

What I see when I look in the mirror... My ageing Ukrainian uncles. It's a comfort – it's nostalgic.

My favourite item of clothing... Brooks Brothers slim-fit men's dress shirts. I could not count them, they are unnumbered.

I drive/ride... a Toyota Prius and a Toyota pick-up truck.

It's not fashionable but I like... country and western music; I love Hank Williams.

My house is... covered in dog hair. I've got two dogs, they're Boston terriers and they're allowed everywhere.

My favourite work of art... the Space Needle in Seattle, because it's such a demonstration of optimism.

A book that changed me... It's by Denis Johnson and it's called Jesus' Son. It's short stories and it demonstrated a very loose kind of narrative that I'd never seen before – the narrative was extremely honest and non-manipulative, it was self-effacing and it wasn't about making the writer look good.

Movie heaven... If there had been zombies on the iceberg when the Titanic hit it, that would have made a much better movie.

The last album I bought... A 'best of' compilation of Philip Glass.

My secret crush is... Boy, that's another tough one. It's an oxymoron. Can I have several? I think my heart always goes out to men at the peak of their celebrity who checked out. There's such an odd, horrible trend in my lifetime for it – Kurt Cobain, David Foster Wallace, Alexander McQueen, Heath Ledger.

My greatest regret... That I didn't see my father before he was killed.

My real-life villains... Anybody who tortures animals.

The last time I cried... My mother's funeral, two years ago.

My five-year plan... To finish the cycle of three novels I'm writing about a dead little girl in hell, and to get health insurance.

What's the point? Oh, how to be clever on that one? The great philosopher Thomas Aquinas said that hell is where you go when you're not becoming the person God wants you to be. So the point is to become the person you planned to be.

My life in six words... Good boy, bad boy, old man.

A life in brief

Charles Michael Palahniuk was born in February 1962 and grew up in the state of Washington. He graduated in 1986 with a BA in Journalism from the University of Oregon. Palahniuk began writing at 32 and his debut novel, Fight Club, was made into a major movie in 1999. In the same year, his father was murdered. He has published 14 books, including Snuff, Pygmy and Tell All. His latest novel, Damned, is published this Thursday. He lives between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada