Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"When you're a writer, not everything you write has to be experienced by you. Just remember to choose your friends really poorly."

Tuesday night I attended a preview screening of Chuck Palahniuk's newest novel-turned-movie, "Choke", starring Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston.

Unfortunately, "Choke" falls short for "Fight Club" fans, and Chuck fans alike. The problem wasn't in the execution (the film was pretty dead-on with the book with only a few small changes), or in the acting (Rockwell was perfect as a sex-addicted possible-messiah loser with mommy issues) but the biggest complaint seemed to be - why this book? Surely out of all of Chuck's brilliant novels, a better story could have been chosen to grace the big screen. Survivor. Invisible Monsters. Diary. Take your pick.

But the night was not lost. Not even close.

After the credits rolled, the lights came up and for 45 glorious minutes, Chuck Palahniuk himself graced our presence. An Inquirer reporter facilitated the session, and then opened the floor up to the public. While I didn't ask a question, it was amazing to be in the same room with a man who's work I've respected for so many years.

Chuck talked about his career - starting as a poor journalism graduate who took odd jobs to pay off student loans, and working on an assembly line until his big writing break came 10 years ago. He talked about his infamous stories, like the horrifying "Guts", and even shared some entertaining real life stories that inspired his writing.

He also talked about how each one of his books has been optioned for films. Let's just hope that the next one is better.