Giving Birth To CreepsInterview by Joshua Chaplinsky
The process of bringing The Orange Eats Creeps into this world was not an easy one for first-time author Grace Krilanovich. Conceived as part of a dare, the novel slowly took shape during a protracted gestation period of writing and revision. But that was only the beginning. Once fully formed, there was the matter of coaxing the reluctant manuscript from the publishing womb. It was only after a particularly difficult labor that the experimental bundle of joy finally arrived in September of 2010. Indie-press midwife Two Dollar Radio was there to aid in the delivery and hand out cigars. Continuing with the pregnancy metaphor, that would make mentor Steve Erickson the birthing coach, and the unnamed classmate who presented the dare the all important sperm donor.
You'd think Creeps was destined for problem child status, what with its petulant, stream of consciousness anti-narrative, but it actually turned out to be quite the well-behaved little cherub. Reviews have been predominantly positive, despite the difficulty of the material. Creeps appeared on numerous end of the year lists in 2010, and Grace was selected as one of the National Book Foundation's prestigious 5 Under 35. No one was more surprised than the author herself. It's not everyday a plotless book about promiscuous underage bloodsuckers (or PUBs, kind of like CHUDs) is so well received.
Grace was refreshingly honest about the difficulties she encountered while writing Creeps and the lessons she learned along the way. She was kind enough to replay the video of its birth and provide a running commentary while I squirmed in my seat. When that ordeal was over, the conversation turned to more pleasant subject matter- such as the warping of young girls' minds and her love of male hustlers. We also managed to discuss the new novel she is working on and the age-old challenges associated with the problematic second child. read more »
Lately, you might have noticed that The Cult has 'Lidia Yuknavitch fever.' This started as a warm recommendation from Chuck for her stirring and brutal memoir The Chronology of Water.
I've read Ms. Yuknavitch's book The Chronology of Water, cover to cover, a dozen times. I am still reading it. And I will, most likely, return to it for inspiration and ideas, and out of sheer admiration, for the rest of my life. The book is extraordinary. -- Chuck Palahniuk.
We then decided it was time we interview Lidia and we're even pursuing her to possibly host a Workshop for us.
Now St. Helen's Book Shop is doing another one of their wonderful signing promotions. Lidia will be in there store on June 21st to personally insrcibe and sign all custom orders that St. Helen's receives. But you have to get your order and inscription in by June 17th. So hurry and check out this link for details:
You know the drill, folks. Every month a new book is selected and a new moderator steps up to lead the discussion. This month, we will be reading and discussing We Are Oblivion by Michael Sonbert, yet another member of our community here who has done well for himself.
From the back cover:
Stephen Mansfield, an amnesiac former boxer, is desperately trying to put the pieces of his past back together. Along with his girlfriend, a pregnant prostitute named Fancy, he decides to leave his dilapidated New York apartment in search of anything that will help him remember who he is.
Their world is changed almost immediately, however, when robbed by a band of marauders just outside of Cleveland. Forced to do what they must to survive, they find themselves on a violent, cross-country crime spree.
While on the road and eluding a nationwide manhunt, Mansfield realizes they're not only traveling state to state but through time as well. From conversing with Timothy McVeigh the night before he blows up the Oklahoma City Federal Building, to running from Hurricane Katrina, to Mansfield actually being the second gunman on the grassy knoll, the two repeatedly find themselves in the midst of the most defining moments of the past sixty years.
We Are Oblivion is a nihilistic journey of discovery and destruction. As Mansfield and Fancy travel through space and time they struggle to find love in a world in which they've never truly fit in. But as Fancy's belly swells, Mansfield's memory begins to return. And he wonders if Fancy, the only person he's ever fully trusted, can be trusted at all.
Poland continues to shine with some of the most original and interesting covers for Chuck's books. This time, we actually had the nice people who publish these editions contact us. Apparently they saw my previous post, highlighting their designs, and wanted to inform us of this latest release for Pygmy.
Click above for a higher resolution version of the cover. If you want to see more covers by this publisher, check out their website: http://www.niebieskastudnia.pl/
Then be sure to check out out entire Gallery of book covers. And as always, if you have one that you don't see represented here, send it our way at submissions @ chuckpalahniuk. net.
There's a Naked Woman InsideInterview by Kasey Carpenter
Memoirs. Can you ever trust them? How many of us would be true to form in a published retelling of our lives? How many have done so in the past? Who among us doesn't delude ourselves to some degree with our own little revisionist history?
When I received a copy of THE CHRONOLOGY OF WATER to read/review, I had all of these questions polluting my mind before I ever opened the book. Then the first sentence did me in:
“The day my daughter was stillborn, after I held the future pink and rose-lipped in my shivering arms, lifeless tender, covering her face in tears and kisses, after they handed my dead girl to my sister who kissed her, then to my first husband who kissed her, then to my mother who could not bear to hold her, then out of the hospital room door, tiny lifeless swaddled thing, the nurse gave me tranquilizers and a soap and sponge.”
After that first sentence, I was hooked. Then things got really interesting: all the admissions of her own destructive behavior, her relationship sabotage, her DUI, the conflict between loathing and loving her mother, and living with the legacy her father had thrown upon her.
Granted most memoirs are thick with examples of abuse, look-what-happened-to-me narration, and such – but here in TCOW we get the other half – we get what she had done to others, and how, despite herself and her family, she survived both.
Not only was this a memoir I could relate to on several levels, but it was beautifully written – and why shouldn't it be? Lidia's literary life has been fortunate enough to have crossed paths with the like of Ken Kesey, our own Chuck Palahniuk, and she's now part of the infamous writing group that meets once a week.
Did I mention it was beautifully written? Most memoirs are little more than organized memory dumps, broken down for us into childhood, adolescence, adulthood, etc... But the passages within, while essentially (loosely) chronological in order, will force more than a few smiles to seep across your face as you read them.
So like any book that sparks my curiosity about the writer, I wanted more. After some emails were exchanged, Lidia allowed me to retrace the lines of the naked body she had prepared for us all in THE CHRONOLOGY OF WATER. read more »
Within Chuck Palahniuk's 2005 collection Haunted, many fans count The Nightmare Box as their favorite story. The story is about a box people look into, that always shows the same image, yet drives the viewers insane and to commit suicide.
This story (maybe even more so than Guts) also seems to inspire the most creativity from fans, as evidenced by the slew of YouTube shorts online. (here, here and here, to show a few) But now someone has taken this obsession up a notch with this amazing portrait.
As of May 31st, Tell-All, Chuck's thirteenth book, is now out in paperback. I think Random House did a great job with this new cover, which I prefer over the hardback cover. By now most of you have already read it, but if not, here's a quick blurb from Amazon:
Tell-All is many things: A Sunset Boulevard-inflected homage to Old Hollywood when Grand Dames like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford ruled the roost. A Douglas Sirk-inspired melodrama full of big gestures and muted psychic torment. A veritable Tourette's syndrome of rat-tat-tat name-dropping, from the A-list to the Z-list. A merciless send-up of Lillian Hellman's habit of butchering the truth that will have Mary McCarthy cheering from the beyond.
You can order the book from either Amazon, Barnes & Noble or IndieBound by going to our Tell-All book page.
If you want to order the book from either Amazon UK or Canada, check out our store page.
Wanna have some fun? After you buy the book, snap a picture of yourself holding it, while dressed in your best classic film star/starlet costume. Best one gets a prize. We prefer you tweet the pic to us at @chuckpalahniuk.
For three years, Chuck Palahniuk contributed to our ground breaking online Writers Workshop (which he also helped conceive, btw) with 36 writing essays. These are lessons from a best-selling author on how to improve your craft as a writer... the types of lessons they teach in $20,000+ MFA writing programs.
To look back and celebrate these exclusive essays, each month we are "unlocking" one and offering it for free on the site. Normally you would need a Workshop Membership to view these essays, but until you're ready to make that important commitment, we'll offer you one of these a month.
For June, we have Nuts and Bolts: "Thought" Verbs, an essay that explains the maxim, "Show, don't tell..." Discover how to strengthen your prose by unpacking abstract and static verbs into descriptive action.
Someone ask me why I keep posting these? I guess with this latest, I just respect the fact that these guys went out and did something. Plus, they look like they had fun making this. And hell, the one dude even shaved his head.
Check out 'Cuddle Club,' a shot for shot remake (albeit, with some actual stolen shots) of the Fight Club trailer.
Credit for this find goes to SlashFilm.