I’m lately indulging myself in one of my favorite writers, Mr. Tom Robbins. I was first introduced to him when I was but a mere pumpkin reading Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. Having always fashioned myself as a sort of renegade cowgirl, his protagonist, Sissy Hankshaw was a breath of fresh female icon to me…similar to the vagabond, adventurer I was becoming.
His stories feed my hunger for adventure while his prose seductively massage my mind with imagery created fresh by the way he masterfully puts words together. His Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates is hands down my favorite though I have a new one on my book stand which is jumping up and down like a grasshopper, to be read.
Robbins’ ability to draw an interesting and complex character and story is a delight, but for me, it is the way he describes a moment, a scene. I’m no reviewer and am struggling a bit here to share what it is that makes him unique as a writer and special to me. Somehow a mixture of:
…smart as hell, sexy, funny, irreverent, surprising, over the top, unexpected, daring, naughty, expansive, silly, spiritual, erotic, deep, fierce in moments and fun. And as I used to do, to the chagrin of my all suffering English teachers while attending high school at Linden Hall School for Girls, he makes up words!!! Qualities I admire and appreciate.
He was close buds with Timothy Leary and filmmaker Robert Altman….interesting blokes as well and keeping that in mind, might give you an idea how his mind is bent. Below, some thoughts from Mr. Robbins.
‘If you need to visualize the soul, think of it as a cross between a wolf howl, a photon, and a dribble of dark molasses. But what it really is, as near as I can tell, is a packet of information. It’s a program, a piece of hyperspatial software designed explicitly to interface with the Mystery. Not a mystery, mind you, the Mystery. The one that can never be solved.
To one degree or another, everybody is connected to the Mystery, and everybody secretly yearns to expand the connection. That requires expanding the soul. These things can enlarge the soul: laughter, danger, imagination, meditation, wild nature, passion, compassion, psychedelics, beauty, iconoclasm, and driving around in the rain with the top down. These things can diminish it: fear, bitterness, blandness, trendiness, egotism, violence, corruption, ignorance, grasping, shining, and eating ketchup on cottage cheese.Data in our psychic program is often nonlinear, nonhierarchical, archaic, alive, and teeming with paradox. Simply booting up is a challenge, if not for no other reason than that most of us find acknowledging the unknowable and monitoring its intrusions upon the familiar and mundane more than a little embarrassing.
But say you’ve inflated your soul to the size of a beach ball and it’s soaking into the Mystery like wine into a mattress. What have you accomplished? Well, long term, you may have prepared yourself for a successful metamorphosis, an almost inconceivable transformation to be precipitated by your death or by some great worldwide eschatological whoopjamboreehoo. You may have. No one can say for sure.
More immediately, by waxing soulful you will have granted yourself the possibility of ecstatic participation in what the ancients considered a divinely animated universe. And on a day to day basis, folks, it doesn’t get any better than that.’
Off to my bedside for Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas’!