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Tom Robbins

Birthdate: 22. July 1932
Other names: トム・ロビンズ, 湯姆·羅賓斯, تام رابینز

Thomas Eugene "Tom" Robbins is an American novelist. His best-selling novels are "seriocomedies" , often wildly poetic stories with a strong social and philosophical undercurrent, an irreverent bent, and scenes extrapolated from carefully researched bizarre facts. His novel Even Cowgirls Get the Blues was made into a movie in 1993 by Gus Van Sant and stars Uma Thurman, Lorraine Bracco, and Keanu Reeves.

Works

„The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love.“

—  Tom Robbins, book Still Life with Woodpecker

Leigh-Cheri to Bernard, in Phase III, Ch. 46.
Still Life with Woodpecker (1980)
Context: I’m not quite twenty, but, thanks to you, I’ve learned something that many women these days never learn: Prince Charming really is a toad. And the Beautiful Princess has halitosis. The bottom line is that (a) people are never perfect, but love can be, (b) that is the one and only way that the mediocre and the vile can be transformed, and (c) doing that makes it that. Loving makes love. Loving makes itself. We waste time looking for the perfect lover instead of creating the perfect love. Wouldn’t that be the way to make love stay?

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„Nobody can say the word “naked” as nakedly as Cohen.“

—  Tom Robbins, book Wild Ducks Flying Backward

Source: Wild Ducks Flying Backward (2005), Liner notes for the Leonard Cohen tribute album Tower of Song (1995).
Context: Nobody can say the word “naked” as nakedly as Cohen. He makes us see the markings where the pantyhose have been.

„I'm descended from a long line of preachers and policemen.“

—  Tom Robbins

High Times interview (2002)
Context: I'm descended from a long line of preachers and policemen. Now, it's common knowledge that cops are congenital liars, and evangelists spend their lives telling fantastic tales in such a way as to convince otherwise rational people that they're factual. So, I guess I come by my narrative inclinations naturally. Moreover, I grew up in the rural South, where, although television has been steadily destroying it, there has always existed a love of colorful verbiage.

„Throughout most of our history, nothing – not flood, famine, plague, or new weapons – has endangered humanity one-tenth as much as the narcissistic ego, with its self-aggrandizing presumptions and its hell-hound spawn of fear and greed.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Context: Christians, and some Jews, claim we're in the "end times," but they've been saying this off and on for more than two thousand years. According to Hindu cosmology, we're in the Kali Yuga, a dark period when the cow of history is balanced precariously on one leg, soon to topple. Then there are our new-age friends who believe that this December we're in for a global cage-rattling which, once the dust has settled, will usher in a great spiritual awakening.
Most of this apocalyptic noise appears to be just wishful thinking on the part of people who find life too messy and uncertain for comfort, let alone for serenity and mirth. The truth, from my perspective, is that the world, indeed, is ending – and is also being reborn. It's been doing that all day, every day, forever. Each time we exhale, the world ends; when we inhale, there can be, if we allow it, rebirth and spiritual renewal. It all transpires inside of us. In our consciousness, in our hearts. All the time.
Otherwise, ours is an old, old story with an interesting new wrinkle. Throughout most of our history, nothing – not flood, famine, plague, or new weapons – has endangered humanity one-tenth as much as the narcissistic ego, with its self-aggrandizing presumptions and its hell-hound spawn of fear and greed. The new wrinkle is that escalating advances in technology are nourishing the narcissistic ego the way chicken manure nourishes a rose bush, while exploding worldwide population is allowing its effects to multiply geometrically. Here's an idea: let's get over ourselves, buy a cherry pie, and go fall in love with life.

„Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style.“

—  Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues (1976)
Context: So you think that you're a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What's wrong with that? In the first place, if you've any sense at all you must have learned by now that we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success.

„The truth, from my perspective, is that the world, indeed, is ending – and is also being reborn. It's been doing that all day, every day, forever. Each time we exhale, the world ends; when we inhale, there can be, if we allow it, rebirth and spiritual renewal. It all transpires inside of us. In our consciousness, in our hearts. All the time.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Context: Christians, and some Jews, claim we're in the "end times," but they've been saying this off and on for more than two thousand years. According to Hindu cosmology, we're in the Kali Yuga, a dark period when the cow of history is balanced precariously on one leg, soon to topple. Then there are our new-age friends who believe that this December we're in for a global cage-rattling which, once the dust has settled, will usher in a great spiritual awakening.
Most of this apocalyptic noise appears to be just wishful thinking on the part of people who find life too messy and uncertain for comfort, let alone for serenity and mirth. The truth, from my perspective, is that the world, indeed, is ending – and is also being reborn. It's been doing that all day, every day, forever. Each time we exhale, the world ends; when we inhale, there can be, if we allow it, rebirth and spiritual renewal. It all transpires inside of us. In our consciousness, in our hearts. All the time.
Otherwise, ours is an old, old story with an interesting new wrinkle. Throughout most of our history, nothing – not flood, famine, plague, or new weapons – has endangered humanity one-tenth as much as the narcissistic ego, with its self-aggrandizing presumptions and its hell-hound spawn of fear and greed. The new wrinkle is that escalating advances in technology are nourishing the narcissistic ego the way chicken manure nourishes a rose bush, while exploding worldwide population is allowing its effects to multiply geometrically. Here's an idea: let's get over ourselves, buy a cherry pie, and go fall in love with life.

„Certain individual words do possess more pitch, more radiance, more shazam! than others, but it's the way words are juxtaposed with other words in a phrase or sentence that can create magic.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Context: Certain individual words do possess more pitch, more radiance, more shazam! than others, but it's the way words are juxtaposed with other words in a phrase or sentence that can create magic. Perhaps literally. The word "grammar," like its sister word "glamour," is actually derived from an old Scottish word that meant "sorcery." When we were made to diagram sentences in high school, we were unwittingly being instructed in syntax sorcery, in wizardry. We were all enrolled at Hogwarts. Who knew?
When a culture is being dumbed down as effectively as ours is, its narrative arts (literature, film, theatre) seem to vacillate between the brutal and the bland, sometimes in the same work. The pervasive brutality in current fiction – the death, disease, dysfunction, depression, dismemberment, drug addiction, dementia, and dreary little dramas of domestic discord – is an obvious example of how language in exploitative, cynical or simply neurotic hands can add to the weariness, the darkness in the world. Less apparent is that bland writing — timid, antiseptic, vanilla writing – is nearly as unhealthy as the brutal and dark. Instead of sipping, say, elixir, nectar, tequila, or champagne, the reader is invited to slurp lumpy milk or choke on the author's dust bunnies.

„Society in general maintains such a vested interest in its cozy habits and solidified belief systems that it had rather die – or kill – than entertain change.“

—  Tom Robbins

The Syntax of Sorcery (2012)
Context: I'll say this much: virtually every advancement made by our species since civilization first peeked out of its nest of stone has been initiated by lone individuals, mavericks who more often than not were ignored, mocked, or viciously persecuted by society and its institutions. Society in general maintains such a vested interest in its cozy habits and solidified belief systems that it had rather die – or kill – than entertain change. Consider how threatened religious fundamentalists of all faiths remain to this day by science in general and Darwin in particular.
Cultural institutions by and large share one primary objective: herd control. Even when ostensibly benign, their propensity for manipulation, compartmentalization, standardization and suppression of potentially disruptive behavior or ideas, has served to freeze the evolution of consciousness practically in its tracks. In technological development, in production of material goods and creature comforts, we've challenged the very gods, but psychologically, emotionally, we're scarcely more than chimpanzees with bulldozers, baboons with big bombs.

„When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us.“

—  Tom Robbins, book Still Life with Woodpecker

Still Life with Woodpecker (1980)
Context: When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on — series polygamy — until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimension to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.

„But there are folks who want to know and aren't afraid to look, and won't turn tail should they find it — and if they never do, they'll have a good time anyway, because nothing, neither the terrible truth, nor the absence of it, is going to cheat them out of one honest breath of earth's sweet gas.“

—  Tom Robbins, book Still Life with Woodpecker

Still Life with Woodpecker (1980)
Context: How can one person be more real than any other? Well some people do hide and others seek. Maybe those who are hiding — escaping encounters, avoiding suprises, protecting their property, ignoring their fantasies, restricting their feelings, sitting out the Pan pipe hootchy-kootch of experience — maybe those people, people who won't talk to rednecks, or if they're rednecks won't talk to intellectuals, people who are afraid to get their shoes muddy or their noses wet, afraid to eat what they crave, afraid to drink Mexican water, afraid to bet a long shot to win, afraid to hitchhike, jaywalk, honky-tonk, cogitate, osculate, levitate, rock it, bop it, sock it, or bark at the moon, maybe such people are simply inauthentic, and maybe the jackleg humanist who says differently is due to have his tongue fried on the hot slabs of liars hell. Some folks hide and some folks seek, and seeking when its mindless, neurotic, desperate, or pusillanimous, can be a form of hiding. But there are folks who want to know and aren't afraid to look, and won't turn tail should they find it — and if they never do, they'll have a good time anyway, because nothing, neither the terrible truth, nor the absence of it, is going to cheat them out of one honest breath of earth's sweet gas.

„Humor can be a doorway into the deepest reality, and wit and playfulness are a desperately serious transcendence of evil.“

—  Tom Robbins

High Times interview (2002)
Context: Usually, my witticisms are composed on the spot. They're simply intrinsic; an inseparable, integral, organic part of my writing process — doubtlessly because humor is an inseparable, integral part of my philosophical worldview. The comic sensibility is vastly, almost tragically, underrated by Western intellectuals. Humor can be a doorway into the deepest reality, and wit and playfulness are a desperately serious transcendence of evil. My comic sense, although deliberately Americanized, is, in its intent, much closer related to the crazy wisdom of Zen monks and the goofy genius of Taoist masters than it is to, say, the satirical gibes on Saturday Night Live. It has both a literary and a metaphysical function.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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