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People, Places, Things: My Human Landmarks

People, Places, Things: My Human Landmarks

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People, Places, Things: My Human Landmarks

4.5/5 (29 valoraciones)
37 páginas
49 minutos
Oct 27, 2021

Nota del editor

Unexpected personal essay…

Palahniuk knows how to tell a story in unexpected, fascinating ways, and this personal essay (a Scribd Original) from the “Fight Club” author doesn’t disappoint. Palahniuk shares the people, places, and things that shaped his writing growing up in the Pacific Northwest — from serial killers to secret gardens to Sears catalogs.


Nobody excavates the landscape of American darkness in cultural and personal terms the way Chuck Palahniuk does. Nobody captures the tiny moments that change our hearts forever with such stark, clear-eyed beauty. He takes us here, somehow gently, into that very darkness, which ripples beneath us, between us, and silently within us.

Clark Gregg, director and actor

The first rule of writing for the world-renowned author of Fight Club, Choke, and Snuff, Chuck Palahniuk, is to expect the unexpected. As Vanity Fair declared about him, “He makes nihilism fun.” In his bold new Scribd Original, Palahniuk takes a rare look at his own life, the source material for his bestselling, zeitgeist-changing, and searingly memorable dark fantasies.

He not only shares the challenges he’s overcome and the nightmares he still lives with but also names the people, places, and things that have inspired him and made him the uncommon artist he is today. A devoted student and longtime teacher of writing, Palahniuk structures this very personal reflection as a lesson in how to tell a story and characteristically opts for a thrillingly atypical approach. He writes, “This landscape will unfold more like collage than any highway printed on a map. My point is: It’s not what’s inside your clothes, it’s how you take your clothes off.”

Via direct and indirect routes, the reader is toured from the smallest of small towns in which Palahniuk grew up—Burbank, Washington—to cities made famous by serial killers; from a weight room in a dank cinder-block bunker under the bleachers of the local high school, where young Palahniuk strengthened his body and mind, to a recurring dream that may not be a dream at all but a childhood memory that to this day makes crossing bridges sheer terror for him.

He also revisits some of his influences—Vonnegut, Heller, Salinger—men who coped with the traumas they endured in war by using them to fuel their creative work. And for the very first time, he divulges another crucial influence: Noburo Fukuda, an unsung hero who was often derided as “nuts” and “queer” by the mostly white community in and around Burbank. On a family day trip to a series of overheated sheds for locomotive and stock-car repair, Palahniuk, just a boy, opened a door to an adjoining shed and discovered an unlikely paradise: a Japanese garden alive with hummingbirds, columbine, and phlox, with waterfalls coursing down a mountain at its center. Fukuda, an immigrant from Japan, freely gave locals this sanctuary, a place to which Palahniuk still returns in his imagination to fend off his own traumas. Fukuda also gave the author a model of what one man can do alone, through imagination and hard work, showed him that being different, an outsider, has unexpected gifts that can make for unexpected beauty.

Poetic and explosive, profoundly human and intimate, People, Places, and Things is a tribute to every person compelled to defy convention in pursuit of their own vision. And, more, it’s an invitation, with every line, every digression and confession, and every leap taken, to convert the messy and startling, the ugly and beautiful stuff of life, into art—not just by breaking the rules, as Palahniuk does here, but by risking your very skin to find your own.

Oct 27, 2021

Sobre el autor

Palahniuk is the author of fourteen novels, among them Fight Club and Choke which were adapted as feature films. His work also includes a travel guide, a collection of short stories, two graphic novels, a writing advice book, a collection of essays, and two coloring books. Yes, coloring books. He lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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People, Places, Things - Chuck Palahniuk

People, Places, Things

My Human Landmarks

By Chuck Palahniuk


Copyright © 2021 by Chuck Palahniuk

All rights reserved

Cover design by Catherine Casalino

ISBN: 9781094412887

First e-book edition: October 2021

Scribd, Inc.

San Francisco, California


For more, visit www.scribd.com and follow @Scribd on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


WHEN YOU’RE LEARNING TO WRITE, never start with your most important story. My advice is: Point the camera at anything else. Don’t panic. Anything you choose is still you.

This landscape will unfold more like collage than any highway printed on a map. My point is: It’s not what’s inside your clothes, it’s how you take your clothes off.

Case in point, a friend named Suzy used to write photo captions for a glossy shelter magazine. Some outfit like House Beautiful or Better Homes and Gardens, it would send Suzy a batch of garden pictures and she’d fly off to meet with the gardener. Usually a rich Somebody. This rich so-and-so—who used summer and winter as verbs—Suzy would tweeze out their story of how the Portulaca grandiflora came to be so perfectly espaliered and so on and so on. It was her job. Well, a job. Sometimes she got lucky.

Baby steps we’re taking. Word by word, we’re about to cross a lot of territory, an ever-increasing landscape of human landmarks, and the goal is to not lose any stragglers. Picture pouring a swallow of water back and forth between two tablespoons, two hundred times, and you can see the challenge here.

One baby step backward to last week. At a resale shop in Portland I found a painting of a man in a wheelchair. He holds a squinting pug dog on his lap. The man’s hair is flaming red. Without reading the tag, I knew this was the cartoonist John Callahan. What a score! The artist hadn’t signed it, but the tag said

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  • (5/5)

    Esto les resultó útil a 2 personas

    Usual Chuck. I read every sentence he writes with the terrifying thought that one day he might be hit by a bus. Go to sleep and never open his eyes again. Choke on a green olive or a piece of bread.
    Then it’ll be just his laptop shut and no more new stuff from Chuck.
    That’ll be the beginning of a long endless mourning. Until then, I’ll keep reading his stories.
    I owe Chuck a lot. He doesn’t know it. But I’ll always be grateful. For everything.

    Esto les resultó útil a 2 personas

  • (5/5)
    What the fuck?!

    (7 more words needed before review can be posted)
  • (5/5)

    Esto les resultó útil a 3 personas

    Expertly tailored stories that blue angel in and out of each other's airspace. The way Chuck processes his life is on full display here. While the topics are niche the lessons are all encompassing.

    Esto les resultó útil a 3 personas

  • (5/5)
    Stories told from an old friend who is battle-weary from life's trials but misty-eyed from its wonders.
  • (5/5)

    Esto les resultó útil a 2 personas

    Friendly from the first page to the last. Mr Palahniuk uses this essay to teach, amuse, and delight.

    Esto les resultó útil a 2 personas