First off, the most important part of this post: Chuck Palahniuk is OK despite being caught in a bizarre car accident on Friday. He was parked in a driveway on a highway in Portland, Oregon, when a semi trailer rolled over and collided with his car. Shockingly, the car was totaled but the Fight Club author escaped with only a sore neck. Shortly after the accident his webmaster tweeted, Spoke to Chuck last night. He’s fine and is recovering. Thank you all for your well wishes.
So now that we know that this beloved author has been saved, I can’t help but wonder if the experience will serve as fodder for a new novel. I remember attending a press junket for his 2008 movie Choke where I was shocked to find that Palahniuk, the man who thought up novels about consumer-hating insomniacs and porn stars who die in gangbangs, was a softspoken and seemingly normal man. He candidly explained where he got the inspiration for Choke: Driving along a highway, he was struck with the need to stop the car, leave the headlights on, and just lie down in the road and wait for an authority figure to check on him.
Similarly, on his official site’s FAQ page, the answer about his inspiration is, From all the best and worst things that can happen, and the crazy things people will do to get their needs met. His most well-known novel Fight Club came to him after he got into a brawl on a camping trip and his co-workers ignored his bruised face so as not to talk about the unpleasantness.
These urges come from a dark place that Palahniuk is willing to interrogate rather than repress. Obviously these encounters are not his only sources of inspiration, but it’s clear that he draws from real life. And a near-death experience like that, from which you emerge unscathed, will undoubtedly affect his outlook on life, even if only for a little while.
We can’t try to get into this man’s head, but it does raise the question. Most importantly, we’re glad to hear that he’s OK.