62 Comments

Getting sick with Lyme disease definitely altered my perception, leading to a deluge of story ideas. Kind of killed my ability to focus on the page though.

Also, Chuck's story reminds me of the Chinese proverb that goes: bad luck, good luck, who knows

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Absolutely agree. Hit by a car in 2004 and hit the left side of my head on the side panel. Caved in the side panel. No lasting damage beyond a mild concussion and now daily headaches, but my writing definitely went darker at that point. I was in my first year of my English and Creative Degree so remember the shift vividly.

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At a certain point this line of reasoning almost becomes advocation for self inflicted blunt force trauma to the head. Someone should write an instructional essay on how to do so without putting oneself in a coma -- or worse.

Any takers?

That truck incident in 2014 -- didn’t that also provide a building block for ‘The Invention of Sound’?

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Are you talking about the incident near 6th and Alder you wrote about in Fugitives and Refugees?

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Mar 19, 2023Liked by Chuck Palahniuk

Fascinating. I wonder if, when young David Bowie's friend hit him, he left him with more than a permanently dilated left pupil.

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Chuck, you know, every time you talk about this head-injury as a pathway to creative genius, you make me want to charge into a brick wall like a linebacker. And if I do and just get paralyzed from the neck down, I'm going on Oprah and being interviewed. I'll weep through my tragic story and call you out by name and say "Chuck did this to me!" Millions will tune in. And because of the exposure, all your books will soar to the top of the best-seller rankings. But then I'll sue you for all the swag boxes your worth. You know, for emotional damage.

Yeah.

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Also, you know how you've been breaking down your stories? I wanna see you break down a story before your attack. I know it'll never happen, I'm just putting it out there.

I am Joe's Itching Nerves.

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founding

I’ve been indirectly struck by lightning twice. Every time you talk about this phenomenon I wonder if I should hope for a third.

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founding

Roughly nine years ago I was hit by a car. I was in the crosswalk, they were making a left turn. Never stopped. Never caught.

Anyhow, the impact of the vehicle strike threw me toward the sidewalk. The side of my head connected with the curb. Lights out. Concussed. I have no memory of the impact, but I do have a little scar right at my orbital bone.

I wonder if it's somehow changed me. It was my right side, though. 🤔

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founding

I had this experience...not to sound weird but after I sobered up and started taking the anti depressant Mirtzapine my thinking completely warped...into awesomeness. I read the side effects and one of them was "Prone to thinking unusually big ideas."

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I have a killer premise that starts with a traumatic brain injury, but my first attempt is not good. Definitely going to attempt this idea again.

"Go getcher bell rung. Its good for your writing!" -Chuck

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I have had several traumatic hits to the head, all on my left side. I was so painfully shy as a child people often assumed I was non-verbal. Now I tell rooms full of strangers my most intimate and disturbing thoughts, anatomical abnormalities and talk about dicks too much. We should start a union or at the very least a secret society.

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It may be that near death experiences have that effect or maybe it is bio-chemical.

In his book "Breaking Open The Head" Daniel Pinchbeck talks about the most extreme form of Biwiti initiation in Gabon in which the initiant's head is shaved, his tongue is pierced and then after being fed iboga, he is hit in the head 3 times with a hammer to "Break open the head" helping him enter the spirit world.

I heard Daniel Pinchbeck talk about this live while at Burning Man one year and he explained that the beating of the head may help the pineal gland (“seat of the soul” or the “third eye,”) release DMT. That is only a hypothesis though and the pineal gland is still a bit of a mystery to science...

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So interesting. This stopped me mid blintz: What if the brain, or matter, limits consciousness, instead of producing it? (From the mullet story)

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I've been beaten up two times. Once by a gang who hit my head repeatedly with broken bottles (not ashamed to say that I did experience the 'life before your eyes' cliche but a bit embarrassed to say that I also experienced the less stylish 'involuntarily shitting yourself' cliche) and another when a man headbutted me and broke my nose, knocking me out.

I'm honestly not sure either of these events helped at all with creativity, but perhaps altered my concepts and ideas on certain things, which is perhaps what is really going on, rather than some physical or chemical reaction?

Highlight of being beaten so badly? I was wearing a white shirt, kept it, and wore it as a Halloween outfit. Telling people the blood all over my shirt was real, as was the state of my head/face made for some interesting reactions. Happy times.

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"In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried" hands down, my favorite Amy Hempel story. That ending line ties it all together with so much heartbreak. Chef's kiss, smack.

What about those of us who haven't been concussed? I'll just go with that I'm weird enough without head trauma. Uhh I mean my world view so different, yeah different.

I will say how heartbreaking it was to run into a female sailor that I knew years later. She had a crush on me when I was on the boat. When she left the Frank Cable, her next boat was the Boxer. During an UNREP she was an safety observer and the other ship mistakenly did a break away. Of all the metal lines that snapped the one closest to her came back and hit her and the ship. It caused her enough brain damage that the Navy medically retired her. Through all the brain damage and the scars she recognized me. It took me a moment to figure out who she happened to be in a crowded hospital hallway. I took her to my office and she told me all about her life since we last saw each other.

The fact she had all that brain damage and she still remembered everything about our time together made me regret the decisions I had made.

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