Chuck Palahniuk's newest book, Tell-All, came out last week. In celebration of this monumental occasion, Chuck is currently on a book tour. J and I went to see him last Wednesday night, Cinco de Mayo, in Boston. Unfortunately, there are two stops on this tour where Chuck isn't signing/personalizing books, and Boston was one of them. Nonetheless, I got a pre-signed copy of Tell-All(two actually), and afterwards, Chuck was gracious enough to sign my copy of Rant, which I happened to have with me because I was reading it at the time. The whole night was amazing. I had such a good time, and it was so, so cool to meet one of my favorite authors and to get a little more insight into what's going on in his head. Plus I had never been to Cambridge, and I'm now looking forward to going back to explore Harvard Square a little more - it's such a cool area, I wish we had more time to wander around. The event was unlike any author event I've ever been to, and likely unlike any that I will ever attend. It was about two hours long and filled to the brim with awesome. Thank you, Chuck, for being such a cool author.
Chuck started off with a brief talk about what and why he writes, and then played a game in which he threw giant, inflatable Oscar awards into the crowd, and had a race to blow them up. Winners were given inflatable turkeys. (!!) Next he read a new short story, Knock-Knock, which he wrote for this book tour and has already sold to Playboy (look for it in the December 2010 issue) - it was hilarious, in a way. In typical Chuck form, Knock-Knock is an experiment in format - in it, he tells the story of a young man watching his father suffer and die of cancer, but the story takes the form of stand-up comedy. The story is laced with more politically incorrect jokes than you've ever heard in such a short time, and in that way, it's laugh-out-loud funny. Read it, if you get the chance. It's great.
After another round of blowing stuff up, Chuck was interviewed by the owner of a local Cambridge movie theater. No offense intended, but the interviewer was bad. J and I agreed that at times, we felt embarrassed for the guy and for Chuck, because they guy just seemed completely unprepared. It was interesting to hear Chuck's take on his new book and a little about what went into
writing Tell-All, which was great, but I hated the intervewer. Finally Chuck took a whole bunch of questions from the crowd, giving everyone who asked a question an inflatable turkey for their trouble (Thank you, Chuck - my turkey is now proudly displayed in my office!), before a final game of blowing stuff up, during which he stuck around and chatted with people who cared to approach him individually. Maybe it was wrong to ask him to sign Rant for me, when this wasn't supposed to be a signing event, but he was very kind in chatting with me for a few minutes, and completely gracious in signing it for me.
I love that Chuck appears at first glance like a big nerd, but then you read his books or listen to him read them, and it's so raw and graphic and awesome, you'd never expect it out a guy that appears so quiet and subdued. He confessed to being a "social retard," claiming that the games and special short story and everything are akin to coping mechanisms to help him be with people - something you would never, ever guess from reading his books. He re-confirmed for me what I have always said about him - that his stories are all romance stores at their heart - he's just finding a new and better way to say I love you. Awesome.
Afterwards, on our way out, we ran into Chuck and the guy who had appeared to be in charge all night (publicist, maybe?) as they were leaving out the side door of the church where the event was held. J asked Chuck if he wouldn't mind taking a picture with me, and the other guy volunteered to take one of all of us. A perfect end for a great night. I haven't started Tell-All yet, and I just finished Rant yesterday. I'm holding off on reading Tell-All for a few weeks, so I still have one more new Chuck book to look forward to.