The Unknown: The Red Line.

They had made a bunch of changes to The Unknown without asking him. Frank was bitter. He would write them an angry letter as irked coauthor, then he would get on his motorcycle and drive straight east out of San Francisco to catch up with their fictional characters and get them into trouble, into fights with bikers and booksellers. They didn't get it. He was Frank and he was "Frank," and his writing belonged on the red-purple line or maybe the purple-red line. Fuck it, the blue-green line.

How can the fiction and metafiction be at the same diegetic level? Doesn't that render the concept silly beyond tedium? The concept is no longer recursive if its levels are not strictly differentiated. If "William" goes disc golfing in Hawaii, and the photos are all of Illinois, then which is lying? (Photos don't lie, only their contexts lie.) To hell with them, I'm the only one who's real: I'm "Frank." They made me up so I could be their friend, but I'm a lie. Let me be frank: my name is merely an adjective. My prose is a wash of color to fill the void I left. Forgive me if I am forthright, but that is my name. Direct, honest, unflinching, and a lie.

I am frankly art, artifice, artificial. Fill my mold with sorrow. After William is done fixing The Unknown he feels like shit and goes home to discover his phone has been disconnected. He didn't open the envelope. What envelope? Will Frank be pissed at him? How should I know? I'm Frank itself. I'm the ultimate chiaroscuro coloratura trompe-l'oiel fin-de-siecle fictional gift. Use me, gentlemen, and build something more useful but less underrated than Underworld. If you tell the world that I am frank, they will get the joke, and we will all drown in applause and flashbulbs. But we are no Vonnegut, no Sorrentino, no Gaddis. We take no risks. Our use of ourselves as artifices comes naturally to us. We write poetry about writing poetry and stories about fiction writers and don't even notice a contradiction. It's all one big diegetic level to us, there is no story or narrative other than the staggeringly huge and detailed network of everything thought, written, bragged, denied, or implied: language. No fact and fiction, only the text. We are over metafiction, it is a split hair. It is all fiction, usually wrought by impatient storytellers.

Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.



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