Nothing to Fear

From Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh, toward the end of Chapter 10:

I’ll tell you a secret about fear: it’s an absolutist. With fear, it’s all or nothing. Either, like any bullying tyrant, it rules your life with a stupid blinding omnipotence, or else you overthrow it, and its power vanishes in a puff of smoke. And another secret: the revolution against fear, the engendering of that tawdry despot’s fall, has more or less nothing to do with ‘courage.’ It is driven by something much more straightforward: the simple need to get on with your life. I stopped being afraid because, if my time on earth was limited, I didn’t have seconds to spare for funk. Lord Khusro’s injunction echoed Vasco Miraanda’s motto, another version of which I found, years later, in a story by J. Conrad. I must live until I die.

I’m reading it because I recommended his Midnight’s Children to a student, then wanted to re-read it myself, & so instead picked up one of his I hadn’t read. I love his writing – it’s at once so inebriating, the joy he takes with language, but then exhausting — why aspire when someone is already so good at what you want to do? — still, I’m writing anyway.