Two Stops Down

A journal on photography by Thomas Riggs

The privilege of fiction

Earthrise

Colum McCann, in his introduction to Norman Mailer’s “MoonFire” (Taschen, 2010):

The aim of good writing is to briefly put the handcuffs on history. To arrest time. Stop movement. Clamp down memory. Put a headlock on life, if even just for a moment or two. And then—when life is still, caught, held—the handcuffs are swallowed, and the words are put together in an attempt to recreate life out of stillness, to make the silence breathe, to give an edge to the violence, or the beauty, so that years later, when a stranger comes along, he or she can step back into another time and have it come fiercely alive. This is the privilege of fiction. We become alive in a body, a time, a feeling, a culture that is not our own. We step into a new space. We adventure in the skin trade. We make new words: We become Mailers.

This article was published on 23 September 2013.