Diary by Charles Palahniuk
“…an artists job is to make order out of chaos. You collect details, look for a pattern, and organize. You make sense out of senseless facts. You puzzle together bits of everything. You shuffle and reorganize. Collage. Montage. Assemble.”
“…an artist’s job is to pay attention, collect, organize, archive, preserve, then write a report. Document. Make your presentation. The job of an artist is just not to forget.” ~ Diary, CP
Part Johnathan Livingston Seagul, part The Shining, Diary is set in the blue-blood confines of an island community similar to Nantucket or Martha’s Vinyard. Diary explores the origins of creativity and the nature of genius. Is art merely a self portrait of the artist? Is art a mirror that shows us only ourselves as we filter everything through our experience and perception?
William Blake’s famous quote “If the doors of perception were cleansed man would see things as they truly are – infinite.” definitely applies in Chuckie’s World. He asks us what else might be going on if that muck that is our beliefs, prejudices, superstitions and hang-ups were to be wiped away. Even if it were all suddenly stripped from us, what would we be willing to believe? Randian objectivism being put through the wringer.
Meanwhile C reminds us that “what you don’t understand you can make mean anything.” and of the propensity for self delusion and denial. What are you willing to see, even when the ghastliness of it is too much? In this case, the main character’s love for her own child is diabolically used to obfuscate; a human shield used as a perception filter to hide the horror of her predicament.
Yungian archetypes are touched on and Palahniuk examines the generational disconnect seen in many of his works. Much of it will be familiar to anyone having read any two of his books. He tinges things with the supernatural as he did in Rant with the seemingly mystical ability to reincarnate and and retain knowledge. He builds tension with a race for one woman to discover the truth in time…
* * *
See also: camera obscura, Plato’s Cave, epistemology, Carl Yungs shadow work