What I came across was another blogger who had been on the same search, motivated by the same lines in Shreve's book. Melle.ca, the blog, includes the full quote from Rushdie. And I read, fascinated, as I recognized myself in the lines...
[people who are] simply born not belonging, who come into the world semi-detached, if you like, without strong affiliation to family or location or nation or race; that there may even be millions, billions of such souls, as many non-belongers as belongers, perhaps; that, in sum, the phenomenon may be as “natural” a manifestation of human nature as its opposite, but one that has been mostly frustrated, throughout human history, by lack of opportunity. And not only by that: for those who value stability, who fear transience, uncertainty, change, have erected powerful system of stigmas and taboos against rootlessness, that disruptive, anti-social force, so that we mostly conform, we pretend to be motivated by loyalties and solidarities we do not really feel, we hide our secret identities beneath the false skins of those identities which bear the belongers’ seal of approval.
So my question for my readers...are you a secret "not belonger" or do you truly value your identity as a member of a tribe, group or fraternity/sorority of kindred souls, whether by birth or design or chance?
If you practice a religion, do you stand in the middle of what ever identity society assigns to you, as a Jew or a Christian or Muslim or Buddhist or whatever you may be called, and feel more whole for the experience, or do you feel a keen awareness of non-belonging even as you do or say or sing or bow? (Note, that non-belonging is entirely separate from non-believing. One can believe wholeheartedly in a creed, and remain a non-belonger.)
Do you have deep and solid roots to a place, whether the city or town of your birth, or the place you now call home, and struggle to imagine leaving it behind (or long to return if you have left.) Or do you wake up some mornings and fight the urge to throw your essential possessions into the back seat of your car and hit the road for "somewhere else?"
Your thoughts? Your ideas?
Ironically, as I was writing this post, the song "See Rock City" by Kate Campbell came on the streaming radio site I was listening to...and it's a song about the very same thing...Here's a video of that to listen to while you think about your own attachment to belong -- or to not belonging. (A word of caution...the video has a LONG lead in as she talks about her guitar and the song...but it's well worth the wait to hear the song, so bear with it.)