Betwixt and between the snow storms, I drove into work today hoping to tip a few windmills, make a little dough and find some time for my novel and/or my nonfiction book.
I did knock some things off my list for sure, but I was quite preoccupied by a situation in the other room. Chuck Palahniuk had arranged to meet the manager of the St. Helen’s Book Shop at the gallery where I work, since it was a half point between the shop and his home, and with icy roads, they split the distance.
Amid several stacks of books, Chuck stood at a cafe table with rubber stamps, ink pads, paint, paint brushes and pens—oh, and sheets of wax paper so it all wouldn’t all smear into oblivion, because when you’re Chuck Palahniuk, and you’re signing stock, and the stock are dozens of hardback Fight Clubs, Rants, Snuffs, Survivors, Chokes etc…you want to make sure that the end recipient knows that purchasing books via an independent bookseller is a good thing.
Chuck was standing at that table for hours, as the book shop manager delivered stack after stack from box after box of his books.
Chuck is the most disciplined person I know, and his resolve to connect with his readers has paid off. Go to any country in the world, randomly yank a 25 year-old person off of the street and ask him who Chuck Palahniuk is. They’ll know, and it’s not just because after he writes a book he throws it off the bridge of the publishing world and waits around to collect his royalty checks. This writer engages with his fans through his website, where he offers craft classes, and through his readings, where he puts on shows that rival Robin Williams in spirit and energy, and Cirque du Soleil in props. He sends packages of gifts to fans who write him letters, and he navigates icy roads at Christmas time so his readers can get books that have been signed, sealed and delivered with his very own brand of love—via an independent bookseller in a tiny town northwest of Portland, Oregon.