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
  • Get to the point
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

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants