The Unknown: The Orange Line.

William’s Fatherly Advice to the Unknown
December 31st, 2000

Scott, Dirk:

How many of the following statements are true about our fictional characters in The Unknown?

  1. They are repulsive figures of our fertile imaginations, not of any “respectable external authority,” that personify the appetites, desires, impulses, and urges that get us into trouble.

  2. They are almost as intelligent as we are when it comes to continuing the undesireable behavior.

  3. They thrive in an irrational psychological envrnonment.

  4. They speak to the mind’s ear and show enticing pictures to the mind’s eye.

  5. They are able to change form, using various vocal tones, attitudes, and strategies in the struggle to consummate desire.

  6. They revel in the company of other [characters] that have the same property.

  7. They fear death and require “that one thing” [canonization] to survive.

  8. They will go to any lengths to get “that one thing,” even though we, the rational hosts, may have to suffer and die in the process.

  9. We, therefore, fear them, accuse them of great malice, and we devote ourseves to learning to recognize them.

  10. They maintain power through concealment and they seem to be us.

  11. They cannot tolerate identification and rational [critical] evaluation.

  12. They often become silent on recognition, yield readily to reason, and practically always lose strength when their primitive demands are not met.

  13. Once [the novel is finished], the characters don’t really die but only half-sleep, waiting for any opportunity to revive themselves...

  14. But the game is up by then, and we [the writers] can easily identify their old, familiar stirrings, and effortlessly squelch them on the spot.

  15. Once created, they are permanent features of our rich inner lives, and can never be forgotten.

from The Small Book by Jack Trimpey

I love rock stars, but we’re writers, and, you know, writers, for all their problems, live longer and, in their maturity, do better work than rock stars. I mean, name the last three Rolling Stones albums. Can’t do it? Name the last three Pynchon novels. Easy? You guys are beautiful, like a butterfly made out of folded LSD blotter paper or a beersoaked coaster. You bring out the best in me, the beast in me. And every new scene we write makes the beast stronger, more complicated, funny, charming, devious and hungry. In this respect, our failure to get our book published can be understood as denial, a refusal to grow up. To finish the Unknown would be tantamount to recovery.

See you in Australia.



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