Salman Rushdie toyed with my mind

I toyed with an idea on the way to work this morning. It came to me as I was reviewing what I’ve read so far of Salman Rushdie’s “Joseph Anton”. The book is about his life and how he was effected by the fatwa that was issued against him because of “The Satanic Verses”. What I have liked so far is his honesty, his use of words, and his method for writing. One particular thing he wrote, and I can’t remember it verbatim, had to do with why he wrote “Midnight’s Children”. He had finished two novels before of that, neither one of them very good, and they weren’t honest books. He had to write about what he knew and what he had been through and what he had felt. It appears to me that all of his characters are not built out of whole cloth, but stitched together pieces of a person he knew. He would tear them down to their base components and put back what he liked, and if there were gaps, he fills it with his imagination, again based on other things and people he knew. If people who know Rushdie recognize themselves in his work, they would be both right and wrong.
And for some reason this appealed to me. This appealed to me an awful lot. It felt to me like a burden had been lifted from me.
Much of what I have tried to write I’ve thrown away because while I knew it was good, and while I had no illusions about its literary merit (or lack thereof), and while I knew it was honest, I did not think it was worthy of being read by anyone other than me. And that is a sense of worth driven by how I was raised and what values had been imprinted upon me.
Now I realize that I’m a coward for not fighting the press of values and ideas upon me and need to work on making up my mind on my own. I’m a smart man but a slow learner, I guess.
So, having said that, you know something of what drove my line of thinking this morning. A line of thinking, I might add, that put me into a virtual dream state all the way to work. I had to wait a few seconds when I parked my car to realize how I got to work. It didn’t feel like that guilty dread you have when you wake up in your car, in your driveway, stinking of stale booze wafting out of your pores and having to piss like a racehorse while your bowels clench painfully, wondering how the hell you got there, and having fleeting moments of memory from the night before, like having to pull over, open your door, and puke on the ground so you could sober up enough to drive another 20 minutes. Not like that at all. More like a zen thing, like my mind and body were cleansed after a 40 minute meditation session.

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