Tom Robbins Quotes

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SLWW

A person's looking for a simple truth to live by, there it is. CHOICE. To refuse to passively accept what we've been handed by nature or society, but to choose for ourselves. CHOICE. That's the difference between emptiness and substance, between a life actually lived and a wimpy shadow cast on an office wall.

SLWW

In the world according to the positivist, the inspiring thing about scrambled eggs is that any way you turn them they're sunny side up. In the world according to the existentialist, the hopeless thing about scrambled eggs is that any way you turn them they're scrambled.

SLWW

Those who shun the whimsy of things will experience rigor mortis before death.

SLWW

It's not men who limit women, it's not straights who limit gays, it's not whites who limit blacks. What limits people is lack of character. What limits people is that they don't have the fucking nerve or imagination to star in their own movie, let alone direct it.

SLWW

Tequila, scorpion honey, harsh dew of the doglands, essence of Aztec, crema de cacti; tequila, oily and thermal like the sun in solution; tequila, liquid geometry of passion; Tequila, the buzzard God who copulates in midair with the ascending souls of dying virgins; tequila, firebug in the house of good taste; O tequila, savage water of sorcery, what confusion and mischief your sly, rebellious drops do generate!

SLWW

There are only two mantras... yum and yuk. Mine is yum.

SLWW

Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not. Tom Robbins wrote that the only serious question is whether time has a beginning or an end. Camus clearly got up on the wrong side of the bed, and Robbins must have forgotten to set the alarm. There is only one serious question. And that question is: 'Who knows how to make love stay?'

SLWW

As any of the learned professors would explain, plied with sufficient tequila, no matter how fervently a romantic might support a movement, he or she eventually must withdraw from active participation in that movement because the group ethic--the supremacy of the organization over the individual--is an affront to intimacy. Intimacy is the principal source of the sugars with which this life is sweetened. It is absolutely vital to the essential insanities.

SLWW

We're our own dragons as well as our own heroes, and we have to rescue ourselves from ourselves.

SLWW

Some folks hide, and some folks seek, and seeking, when it’s 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.

SLWW

If you're honest, you sooner or later have to confront your values. Then you're forced to separate what is right from what is merely legal. This puts you metaphysically on the run. America is full of metaphysical outlaws.

SLWW

Three of the four elements are shared by all creatures, but fire was a gift to humans alone. Smoking cigarettes is as intimate as we can become with fire without immediate excruciation. Every smoker is an embodiment of Prometheus, stealing fire from the gods and bringing it on back home. We smoke to capture the power of the sun, to pacify Hell, to identify with the primordial spark, to feed on the marrow of the volcano. It's not the tobacco we're after but the fire. When we smoke, we are performing a version of the fire dance, a ritual as ancient as lightning.

SLWW

It was a moon that could stir wild passions in a moo cow. It was a moon that could bring out the devil in a bunny rabbit.

SLWW

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.

SLWW

There are essential and inessential insanities. The latter are solar in character, the former are linked to the moon.

SLWW

The moon invented natural rhythm. Civilization uninvented it.

SLWW

"Neoteny" is "remaining young", and it may be ironic that it is so little known, because human evolution has been dominated by it. Humans have evolved to their relatively high state by retaining the immature characteristics of their ancestors. Humans are the most advanced of mammals--although a case could be made for the dolphins--because they seldom grow up. Behavioral traits such as curiosity about the world, flexibility of response, and playfulness are common to practically all young mammals but are usually rapidly lost with the onset of maturity in all but humans. 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.

SLWW

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

SLWW

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 dimensions 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.

SLWW

What we have here is an unexpected touchdown on the runway of the heart. This flight could only terminate in a room close to the moon.

SLWW

They snuggled closer, and when they were as close as they could get without being behind one another, they commenced to kiss again.

SLWW

A better world has gotta start somewhere. Why not with you and me?

SLWW

Who knows how to make love stay?

  1. Tell love you are going to the Junior's Deli on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up a cheesecake, and if love stays, it can have half. It will stay.
  2. Tell love you want a memento of it and obtain a lock of its hair. Burn the hair in a dime-store incense burner with yin/yang symbols on three sides. Face southwest. Talk fast over the burning hair in a convincingly exotic language. Remove the ashes of the burnt hair and use them to paint a mustache on your face. Find love. Tell it you are someone new. It will stay.
  3. Wake love up in the middle of the night. Tell it the world is on fire. Dash to the bedroom window and pee out of it. Casually return to bed and assure love that everything is going to be all right. Fall asleep. Love will be there in the morning.
SLWW

Something has got to hold it together. I'm saying my prayers to Elmer, the Greek god of glue.

SLWW

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

SLWW

Sharks are the criminals of the sea. Dolphins are the outlaws.

SLWW

"I'll follow him to the ends of the earth," she sobbed. "Yes, darling. But the earth doesn't have any ends. Columbus fixed that."

SLWW

Sandwiches were invented by the Earl of Sandwich, popcorn was invented by the Earl of Popcorn, and salad dressing by the Oil of Vinegar. The moon invented natural rhythm. Civilization uninvented it.

SLWW

If you believe in peace, act peacefully; if you believe in love, acting lovingly; if you believe every which way, then act every which way, that's perfectly valid--but don't go out trying to sell your beliefs to the system. You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example. If you want to change the world, change yourself.

SLWW

Outlaws are can openers in the supermarket of life.

SLWW

The word that allows yes, the word that makes no possible.
The word that puts the free in freedom and takes the obligation out of love.
The word that throws a window open after the final door is closed.
The word upon which all adventure, all exhilaration, all meaning, all honor depends.
The word that fires evolution's motor of mud.
The word that the cocoon whispers to the caterpillar.
The word that molecules recite before bonding.
The word that separates that which is dead from that which is living.
The word no mirror can turn around.

In the beginning was the word and that word was

CHOICE

SLWW

Funny how we think of romance as always involving two, when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense.

SLWW

Any half-awake materialist well knows--that which you hold holds you.

SLWW

When the mystery of the connection goes, love goes. It's that simple. This suggests that it isn't love that is so important to us but the mystery itself. The love connection may be merely a device to put us in contact with the mystery, and we long for love to last so that the ecstasy of being near the mystery will last. It is contrary to the nature of mystery to stand still. Yet it's always there, somewhere, a world on the other side of the mirror (or the Camel pack), a promise in the next pair of eyes that smile at us. We glimpse it when we stand still.

SLWW

The romance of new love, the romance of solitude, the romance of objecthood, the romance of ancient pyramids and distant stars are means of making contact with the mystery. When it comes to perpetuating it, however, I got no advice. But I can and will remind you of two of the most important facts I know:

  1. Everything is part of it.
  2. It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
SLWW

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.

SLWW

When two people meet and fall in love, there's a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it's usually too late, we've used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It's hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.

SLWW

Ideas are mallable and unstable; they not only can be misused, they invite misuse--and the better the idea the more volatile it is. That's because only the better ideas turn into dogma, and it is by this process whereby a fresh, stimulating, humanly helpful idea is changed into robot dogma that is deadly. The problem starts at the secondary level, not with the originator or developer of the idea, but with the people who are attracted to it, until the last nail breaks, and who invariably lack the overview, flexibility, imagination, and, most importantly, sense of humor to maintain it in the spirit in which it was hatched. Ideas are made by masters, dogmas by disciples, and the Buddha is always killed on the road.

SLWW

Success in life and love depends always on timing.

SLWW

There're many ways, my dear, to victimize people. The most insidious way is to persuade them that they're victims.

SLWW

People who've bought into poverty are just as shallow and exploitative as those who've bought into wealth. Both have been stultified by their lack of imagination.

SLWW

When it comes to illuminating the inner structure of consciousness and highlighting its weaknesses and flaws, nothing, not even love, casts as bright a beam as money. The things we're willing to do to obtain it, to protect it, to express our guilt over having it, are incomparably revealing.

SLWW

"Ah, hoptoad! Can't you see? You have potential! You're a mother lode of wit, of spunk, of courage, of adaptability. You need to cut loose, open up, break free."

SLWW

We tend to refer to our most barbaric and crapulous behavior as "inhuman", whereas, in point of fact, it is exactly human, definitively and quintessentially human, since no other creature habitually indulges in comparable atrocities. This negates neither our occasional virtues nor our aesthetic triumphs, but if a being at least a little bit more than human is not waiting around the bend of time, then evolution has suffered a premature ejaculation.

News: Tom's most recent book "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life" (a memoir of sorts) was released in May 2014.

What follows is an excerpt from the blurb from amazon.com.

Internationally bestselling novelist and American icon Tom Robbins delivers the long awaited tale of his wild life and times, both at home and around the globe.

Tom Robbins’ warm, wise, and wonderfully weird novels — including Still Life With Woodpecker, Jitterbug Perfume, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates — provide an entryway into the frontier of his singular imagination. Madcap but sincere, pulsating with strong social and philosophical undercurrents, his irreverent classics have introduced countless readers to natural born hitchhiking cowgirls, born-again monkeys, a philosophizing can of beans, exiled royalty, and problematic redheads.

In Tibetan Peach Pie, Robbins turns that unparalleled literary sensibility inward,... Read more...

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