Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Eating My Way Through Portland, OR (Part 5 of 5)

Welcome back Dear Readers!

While thinking about the sandwich I was going to write about for this week's entry, I began thinking of another thought that permeated my mind while wandering through Portland.

Would I ever just happen to bump into Chuck Palahniuk?

I know it's a crazy thought. Like I would just wander into Powell's Books or Stumptown Coffee and there he'd be. Sitting in the corner reading some new fiction book or jotting down notes for his next novel. 

It's actually better that it didn't happen, as I'd probably just end up not able to speak.

But let's pretend for a moment. Let's pretend that I did meet Palahniuk in Portland on the night I stopped by the food truck square and ordered a banh mi.

It was after 11pm, and a little chilly as I ordered a banh mi from a truck in the square. I waited in the cold as the early departees from the bars made their way down the street. In the dim light between my Vietnamese food truck and a reindeer sausage grill I sat eating the sandwich.

This is when Palahniuk walks up and sits down with some food offering from a neighboring truck.

This is also the time I internally try not to freak out, like that time I sat behind Tom Waits in Mel's Diner on Sunset Boulevard. My voice was about 10 octaves higher than normal then. 

But I ask him about his new book, Damned, which Doubleday so graciously presented myself and 99 other bloggers with copies of. I'd just finished reading it only hours before walking out for this late night eatery adventure.

The book centers around Madison Spencer, a thirteen year old girl who dies from a marijuana overdose and is condemned to hell. While discussing the story, Palahniuk talks about how he was working on the book as he was taking care of his mother while she was suffering from lung cancer (and eventually died). 

In a way, it's a much more comforting and personal book than any of his other novels are. I'm sure he feels close to every character he's created, but you feel like he's close to Madison. 

It also feels like he's trying to comfort himself from the thought of our inevitable death and that everything will be okay when we die because Hell, according to Madison, is also "where all the cool people go". 

Yes. Despite being more sentimental in a way than Palahniuk readers may be used to, this book is still filled with the sick and the absurd.

And it's wonderful.

At that point, I finished my sub-par banh mi (the Nom Nom Truck in LA and Banh Mi My Tho in Alhambra are worlds better) and Palahniuk and I part ways after thanking him for another excellent read.

Walking back to my hotel that night I thought of my own writing, this blog in particular, this pursuit of the Danger Sandwich.

I thought I could only hope to match Palahniuk's voice and style with my own, but then realized that maybe doing so is not the point of my writing this blog.

Maybe my goal for this blog is not just to find the most treasured of sandwiches, but also to establish my voice as a writer.

So like I joined Madison on her adventure through Hell in Damned, I thank you my Dear Readers for following me on this adventure.

Not only of sandwiches, but of self.

Until next week.

by Chuck Palaniuk
**** stars out of 5

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hey, totally leave your name in your post so i know who is posting! thanks for commenting!