Quotations by Palahniuk, Chuck


I love being with people. But I need a script, a role, something that will help me overcome my fears of rejection and shame. Most religions and belief systems provide a blueprint for some sort of community. And the religion’s leaders model a way of being. For example, in my book Choke, a character enacts his own death and resurrection every night — as does the narrator in Fight Club. Here’s Jesus, allowing himself to look terrible in front of his peers. That’s the biggest purpose of religious gathering: permission to look terrible in public.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
“Those burnt tongue moments–Chuck Palahniuk in interview”, Interview by Andrew Lawless, Three Monkeys (May 2005)
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Added on 16-Jun-20 | Last updated 16-Jun-20
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Trust me, the being-dead part is much easier than the dying part. If you can watch much television, then being dead will be a cinch. Actually, watching television and surfing the Internet are really excellent practice for being dead.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Damned, ch. 1 (2011)
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Added on 30-Jun-20 | Last updated 30-Jun-20
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What makes earth feel like Hell is our expectation that it should feel like Heaven.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Damned, ch. 1 (2011)
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Added on 7-Jul-20 | Last updated 7-Jul-20
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It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary (2003)
Added on 29-May-17 | Last updated 29-May-17
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Leonardo’s Mona Lisa is just a thousand thousand smears of paint. Michelangelo’s David is just a million hits with a hammer. We’re all of us a million bits put together the right way.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary (2003)
Added on 12-May-20 | Last updated 12-May-20
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What you don’t understand you can make mean anything.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary (2003)
Added on 19-May-20 | Last updated 19-May-20
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An artist’s job is to make order out of chaos. You collect details, look for a pattern, and organize. You make sense out of senseless facts. You puzzle together bits of everything. You shuffle and reorganize. Collage. Montage. Assemble.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary (2003)
Added on 27-May-20 | Last updated 27-May-20
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We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Diary [Grace] (2003)
Added on 24-Jul-15 | Last updated 24-Jul-15
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There are a lot of things we don’t want to know about the people we love.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Fight Club ch. 13 (1996)
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Added on 21-Jul-20 | Last updated 21-Jul-20
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This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Fight Club, ch. 3 (1996)
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Added on 14-Jul-20 | Last updated 15-Jul-20
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People in France have a phrase: “Spirit of the Stairway.” In French: Esprit d’Escalier. It means that moment when you find the answer but it’s too late. So you’re at a party and someone insults you. You have to say something. So, under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something lame. But the moment you leave the party …

As you start down the stairway, then — magic. You come up with the perfect thing you should’ve said. The perfect crippling put down.

That’s the Spirit of the Stairway.

The trouble is, even the French don’t have a phrase for the stupid things you actually do say under pressure. Those stupid, desperate things you actually think or do.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Haunted (2005)
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Added on 13-Aug-20 | Last updated 13-Aug-20
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When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Invisible Monsters (1999)
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Added on 4-Aug-20 | Last updated 4-Aug-20
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The murderer, the victim, the witness, each of us thinks our role is the lead.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Invisible Monsters, ch. 1 (1999)
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Added on 28-Jul-20 | Last updated 28-Jul-20
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Experts in ancient Greek culture say that people back then didn’t see their thoughts as belonging to them. When ancient Greeks had a thought, it occurred to them as a god or goddess giving an order. Apollo was telling them to be brave. Athena was telling them to fall in love.

Now people hear a commercial for sour cream potato chips and rush out to buy them, but now they call this free will.

At least the ancient Greeks were being honest.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Lullaby, ch. 3 (2002)
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Much of this is repeated in ch. 39.
Added on 11-Aug-20 | Last updated 11-Aug-20
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Everything is funnier in retrospect, funnier and prettier and cooler. You can laugh at anything from far enough away.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories, “Consolation Prizes” (2004)
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Added on 23-Jun-20 | Last updated 23-Jun-20
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The first step — especially for young people with energy and drive and talent, but not money — the first step to controlling your world is to control your culture. To model and demonstrate the kind of world you demand to live in. To write the books. Make the music. Shoot the films. Paint the art.

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Closing remarks on an eClass forum, Barnes & Noble University (5 Dec 2004)
Added on 9-Jun-20 | Last updated 9-Jun-20
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