Tom Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins

Tom
Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins
1936

American Novelist

Author Quotes

The very act of creation requires such focused concentration that vast areas of knowledge may be completely overlooked. Well, so what? There is no evidence that generalized skills are in any way superior to specialized brilliance.

There is plenty of misery in the world, all right, but there is ample pleasure, as well. If a person forswears pleasure in order to avoid misery, what has he gained?...how can you admire a human who consciously embraces the bland, the mediocre, and the safe rather than risk the suffering that disappointments can bring?...If desire causes suffering, it may be because we do not desire wisely, or that we are inexpert at obtaining what we desire...why not get better at fulfilling desire? I cannot believe that the most delicious things were placed here merely to test us, to tempt us, to make it the more difficult for us to achieve the grand prize - they safety of the void. To fashion of life such a petty game is unworthy of both men and gods.

This may be said for the last quarter of the twentieth century: the truism that if we want a better world we will have to be better people came to be acknowledged, if not thoroughly understood, by a significantly large minority.

Twenty candles on a cake. Twenty Camels in a pack. Twenty months in the federal pen. Twenty shots of tequila down a young girl's gullet. Twenty centuries since Our Lord's last pratfall, and after all that time we still don't know where passion goes when it goes.

What bothers me today is the lack of, well, i guess you'd call it authentic experience. so much is a sham. so much is artificial, synthetic, watered-down, and standardized... we're standardizing people, their goals, their ideas. The sham is everywhere.

Wild Ducks Flying Backward [title]

Zippers are primal and modern at the very same time. On the one hand, your zipper is primitive and reptilian, on the other, mechanical and slick. A zipper is where the Industrial Revolution meets the Cobra Cult.

The way bewilderment lays upon me I have no need of blanket.

There’s always the same amount of good luck and bad luck in the world. If one person doesn’t get the bad luck, somebody else will have to get it in their place. There’s always the same amount of good and evil, too. We can’t eradicate evil, we can only evict it, force it to move across town. And when evil moves, some good always goes with it. But we can never alter the ratio of good to evil. All we can do is keep things stirred up so neither good nor evil solidifies. That s when things get scary. Life is like a stew, you have to stir it frequently, or all the scum rises to the top.

This sentence is made of lead (and a sentence of lead gives a reader an entirely different sensation from one made of magnesium). This sentence is made of yak wool. This sentence is made of sunlight and plums. This sentence is made of ice. This sentence is made from the blood of the poet. This sentence was made in Japan. This sentence glows in the dark. This sentence was born with a caul. This sentence has a crush on Norman Mailer. This sentence is a wino and doesn't care who knows it. Like many italic sentences, this one has Mafia connections. This sentence is a double Cancer with a Pisces rising. This sentence lost its mind searching for the perfect paragraph. This sentence refuses to be diagrammed. This sentence ran off with an adverb clause. This sentence is 100 percent organic: it will not retain a facsimile of freshness like those sentences of Homer, Shakespeare, Goethe et al., which are loaded with preservatives. This sentence leaks. This sentence doesn't look Jewish... This sentence has accepted Jesus Christ as its personal savior. This sentence once spit in a book reviewer's eye. This sentence can do the funky chicken. This sentence has seen too much and forgotten too little. This sentence is called Speedoo but its real name is Mr. Earl. This sentence may be pregnant. This sentence suffered a split infinitive - and survived. If this sentence has been a snake you'd have bitten it. This sentence went to jail with Clifford Irving. This sentence went to Woodstock. And this little sentence went wee wee wee all the way home.

Unarmed, he dared not venture deep inside lest enterprising beasts process his flesh into sausage cakes and brew their winters ale from his blood.

What is it that separates human beings from the so called lower animals? Well as I see it, it's exactly one half dozen significant things: Humor, Imagination, Eroticism-as opposed to the mindless, instinctive mating of glow-worms or raccoons-Spirituality, Rebelliousness, and Aesthetics, an appreciation of beauty for its own sake. Now, since those are the features that define a human being, it follows that the extent to which someone is lacking in those qualities is the extent to which he or she is less than human. Capisce?

With the exception of chocolate dentures, there's probably nothing in this world more impractical than glass shoes; their life expectancy must be as short as their discomfort level is horrific. So, was Cinderella a naive ditz, a dingbat with masochistic tendencies? Did her fairy godmother, who presumably possessed the power to conjure up the finest Milanese leathers, have a twisted sense of humor? Or was there some hidden logic behind sending the humble little hearth honey to the royal ball shod in brittle silica?

The winter passed as slowly and peacefully as a boa constrictor digesting a valium addict.

There's a tendency today to absolve individuals of moral responsibility and treat them as victims of social circumstance. You buy that; you pay with your soul. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don't have the nerve to star in their own fucking movie, let alone direct it.

This stuff's so fine Julius Caesar called for it with his dying breath. 'A toot, Brutus,' is what he said.

Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence.

What is politics, after all, but the compulsion to preside over property and make other peoples' decisions for them? Liberty, the very opposite of ownership and control, cannot, then, result from political action, either at the polls or the barricades, but rather evolves out of attitude. If it results from anything, it may be levity. If civilization is ever going to be anything but a grandiose pratfall, anything more than a can of deodorizer in the sh*thouse of existence, the people are going to have to concern themselves with magic and poetry. Reality is subjective, and there's an unenlightened tendency in this culture to regard something as 'important' only if it's sober and severe. Your Cheerful Dumb are not so much happy as lobotomized. But your Gloomy Smart are just as ridiculous. When you're unhappy, you get to pay a lot of attention to yourself. And you get to take yourself oh so very seriously. Your truly happy people, which is to say, your people who truly LIKE themselves, they don't think about themselves very much. Your unhappy person resents it when you try to cheer him up, because that means he has to stop dwelling on himself and start paying attention to the universe. Unhappiness is the ultimate form of self-indulgence. Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.

Words that sabre-toothed tigers may have once heard.

The word desire suggests that there is something we do not have. If we have everything already, then there can be no desire, for there is nothing left to want. I think that what the Buddha may have been trying to tell us is that we have it all, each of us, all the time; therefore, desire is simply unnecessary.

There's always the same amount of good luck and bad luck in the world. If one person doesn't get the bad luck, somebody else will have to get it in their place. There's always the same amount of good and evil, too. We can't eradicate evil, we can only evict it, force it to move across town. And when evil moves, some good always goes with it. But we can never alter the ratio of good to evil. All we can do is keep things stirred up so neither good nor evil solidifies. That's when things get scary. Life is like a stew, you have to stir it frequently, or all the scum rises to the top.

Those people who recognize that the imagination is reality's master we call sages, and those who act upon it we call artists or lunatics.

Using words to describe magic is like using a screwdriver to cut roast beef.

When a man confines an animal in a cage, he assumes ownership of that animal. But an animal is an individual; it cannot be owned. When a man tries to own an individual, whether that individual be another man, an animal or even a tree, he suffers the psychic consequences of an unnatural act.

You can love ‘em till your well runs dry, Belford, but you can never love ‘em enough, and you know it. No matter how much others might love you, you can’t love yourself unless you’re in charge of your own actions, and you’ll never take charge as long as you can get away with blaming your shortcomings and misfortunes on your family or society or your race or gender or Satan or whatever…

Author Picture
First Name
Tom
Last Name
Robbins, fully Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins
Birth Date
1936
Bio

American Novelist